Height: 6-1 Weight: 198 Age: 29
Born: 10/28/1985 Gainesville , TX
College: Texas Tech
Selected By: Denver Broncos
Pick (Overall): 16 (48)
It's easy to understand how a defensive player can fly under the radar when he plays for a team with one of the most prolific offenses in the nation.
That didn't stop Darcel McBath from being one of the best playmakers in the Big 12. Having to practice against a top offense -- namely sophomore WR Michael Crabtree -- is sure to help any defensive back hone their coverage skills. McBath, a former cornerback, was the Red Raiders' secondary anchor at the demanding free safety position since shifting there as a sophomore, going on to start his final 39 games.
The opposition, often playing from behind and passing on most every day, challenged the middle of Tech's defense last season. McBath more than stood up to the challenge, pulling in seven interceptions that included a school season-record tying two returns for touchdowns. Six of his seven pass deflections came on third-down plays.
At Gainesville High School, McBath was rated the 36th-best cornerback in the country by Rivals100.com. He was named District 9-3A Most Valuable Player by the Dallas Morning News, as he helped lead GHS to a 16-0 mark and Class 3A Division I title as a senior. That year, he picked off six passes, returning one for a score as a defensive back and logged 75 tackles (50 solo). He also caught 14 touchdown passes as a wide receiver and had two punt returns for touchdowns. As a junior, he totaled 50 tackles and rushed for 800 yards as a running back.
McBath enrolled at Texas Tech in 2004, turning down scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, but spent that season on the scout team. His college career would be delayed further, as he suffered a broken arm in 2006 fall camp and did not get on the field until the final six games. Seeing action mostly on special teams, his only tackle came vs. Oklahoma State while being listed second on the depth chart at left cornerback.
During his rehabilitation, McBath bulked up to the point that the coaches felt his speed and hitting ability would be best at free safety in 2006. The move was a total success, as he earned All-Big Twelve Conference second-team honors, ranking third on the team and 11th among the league's defensive backs with 75 tackles (35 solo). He also picked off three passes and deflected five other throws.
The 2007 campaign saw McBath firmly entrenched at free safety, as he received All-Big Twelve Conference honorable mention, as he led the team with eight pass deflections. He ranked third on the squad with 73 tackles (48 solo), causing one fumble while returning a fumble recovery 16 yards for his first career touchdown in the Iowa State. He also had a pair of interceptions for a defense that ranked 32nd in the nation during his sophomore year and 12th in 2007.
McBath received All-American and All-Big Twelve Conference first-team accolades in 2008. He registered 75 tackles (55 solo), good for second on the team. He caused a fumble and broke up seven passes. He also led the conference and tied for third in the NCAA with seven interceptions, tying a school season-record with two returns for touchdowns.