As his former teammates continue to prepare for the next chapter in their Rice career's, Darik Dillard reflects on his journey from high school recruit to Rice graduate, four-time letter winner and one of the top 10 rushers in school history
Coming into Rice University, I really just had the high school mindset of I'm going to come in, take three years and then I'm going to go pro.
But after finishing my first summer and then my first year as a freshman, I realized three things: I had to be flexible, I learned the power of surrendering and all my successes and triumphs were a team effort.
Your Rice career teaches you these things.
It sounds so cliché but people told me you have to be really good at managing your time. And that's something I learned throughout my entire time at Rice. Having football practices and 8 a.m. classes, every time-gap had to be utilized well. This would carry me into my professional life, into my social life and one day, when I become a husband or father.
I also learned the power of surrendering.
As a student-athlete, you go through a lot of hard times. Being a student-athlete in general, you go through a lot of suffering, a lot of long nights studying and preparing for tests that you know you're going to fail, doing projects where your other teammates aren't helping you or you can't help your teammates. But you realize, every success and triumph is a team effort--in the classroom or on the field.
You have a class that you individually take or if you play a singular sport you have an idea of what you need to do. Despite that singular play, you realize when you reach those points of success and triumph and you recognize all the individuals with you-that helped you along through your good and bad times.
I've had a number of people, especially at Rice University, that helped me through those difficult times to realize those three things: flexibility, the power of surrendering and success and triumph are team efforts.