The city of Jacksonville, Florida is a competitive football hotbed, with numerous amounts of athletes being recruited and playing football at the college level.
Kai Darabi, a junior offensive lineman at University Christian School, is proving that he has developed through the Jacksonville football circuit and is ready to become a dominant athlete at the college level.
Darabi is a 6’3″, 280-pound offensive guard who harnesses his passion for football from his faith and family. He looks up tremendously to his father, who made numerous sacrifices to immigrate to the United States, to give himself and his future family a better life.
Fueled by the inspiration from his father, Darabi has become a hardworking, humble, and respectful individual on and off the field.
Kai enjoys his time at University Christian and credits the coaching staff for making the football field a place where he can thrive athletically and spiritually.
Darabi has a genuine love for the game of football and prioritizes putting the team before himself. His selflessness as a player makes him an ideal teammate. He says that, “the team comes first. It comes before my individual goals. I want teams to know that about me.”
Kai has been on the varsity team since he was a freshman. He has been able to gain the necessary experience and exposure at a highly competitive level from the very start of his high school campaign. Maturity comes fast when you play for a team that boasts football state championship banners and are expected to compete for another one every year.
Kai is focused on becoming a better overall individual each day. His time is spent either on school or football. Darabi trains both at school and with Matt Thornton at Hyperswole. He pays no mind to critics and social media and knows he is a student-athlete committed to making top grades and getting bigger, stronger and faster.
Blue 57 is a college football scouting company with a focus on Georgia an Florida recruits. They build relationships with players and understand who they are as people, outside of football. Blue 57 realized there is a void between college recruits and college coaches. Many times, coaches don’t know the personalities of the players they recruit. Therefore, they combined aspects of psychology and football recruiting to bridge the gap between player and coach.
Blue 57 has a profile on Kai Darabi and over 600 prospects with D1 offers in Georgia and Florida. Kaela Harmon, who lives in Orlando, Fl and works in the sports psychology department for Blue 57, evaluated Kai from a psychological perspective.
“Kai sets high standards for himself and is motivated to reach his goals, no matter how lofty they may be. He loves the football atmosphere on Friday nights and has grown up surrounded by it”. She also stated that, “Darabi is really grounded in his faith and appreciates when a coach/trainer implements religion into his coaching style.”
She continued on and said, “He is content and secure in who he is as a person, which proves his undeniable confidence. Kai is motivated to make his Dad proud and is willing to work his tail off to make that a reality.”
Blue 57 Scout, Lucas Thorp says Darabi has “great lateral speed an does a great job positioning himself between the defender and the ball carrier. Darabi’s strength paired with his quickness give him an advantage over other players in the position.”
Blue 57 Scout Kevin Hemmings stated that, “Kai is an offensive tackle that is ready to deliver a blow in the run game. He is looking to put his defender on the ground at all costs. His ability to bend with great balance make him an asset in the pass game too.”
With any athlete, there will be a test of mental strength throughout their career. Darabi has had his share of injuries, but has not let them discourage him from getting back on the field. By aggressively pushing through rehab and physical therapy with a positive attitude and work ethic, he has been able to quickly recover and get back on the field. Not only does he work hard on the football field but Darabi excels in the classroom as well.
Kaela Harmon also states that, “Darabi factors in the majors offered and size of the school when looking at colleges; he must satisfy his needs academically before he considers a school for football.”
With a 3.7 GPA, Kai understands that academics are a priority when looking to go to the next level. Dedication and motivation in the classroom are qualities that can be lacking amongst division-one athletes, but Darabi is the true definition of an all-around student-athlete.
Kai’s ultimate goal is to continue to play guard throughout college and then in the NFL. Ultimately, he would be successful in any college program because he is a determined and dedicated athlete who is looking to excel in football and academics with any college he goes to. He aspires to reach his full potential, set high standards for himself, and grow in his faith.
Michael Mannen is a contributor for The Subway Alum and sports writer for the Blue 57 Scouting Network. Alexandria Wright also contributed to this story. They both follow college football recruiting and analyze the impact of psychology on football in Florida and Georgia.