BY ED WRIGHT
June 25, 2010, 6:04 p.m.
After the statistics Darrell Cohn compiled during Saturday's Michigan High School East-West All-Star Game, it's difficult to imagine the former Plymouth High School defensive star's friends and family could be any more proud of him.
But the pride meter spiked a couple days after Cohn's five-tackle, fumble-forced, fumble-recovery performance in the star-studded contest when his cumulative ACT scores were revealed.
Following several weeks of a diligent and sometimes-grueling studying marathon, Cohn scored a 69 on the ACT, making him a partial qualifier at Grand Valley State University, the school that wants him to play defense for four years.
Cohn will redshirt his first season with the Lakers before enjoying four years of eligibility and - with the combination of a partial scholarship, some Pell grants and other grants - he will not have to pay a penny for his education.
A sub-standard score on the ACT test would have forced Cohn to attend Grand Rapids Community College, where he would have played football before transferring to GVSU in 2012.
Cohn found out the test results in dramatic fashion a few days ago.
"My mom called me and asked me, 'Guess what school you're going to be going to?'," reflected Cohn. "I said, 'What are you talking about mom?' and she said, 'You're going to Grand Valley!' I was very excited.
"I was pretty confident I was going to get the score I needed because I had been working very hard, studying every night with Mr. (Ron) Goble. I'm proud of what I was able to do."
Cohn was a force on the defensive line for the Wildcats this past fall, earning All-Conference honors and eventually a coveted East team roster spot for the East-West All-Star game.
"We stayed in East Lansing from Sunday through Saturday the week before the game," said Cohn. "East Lansing is a beautiful place. The atmosphere was mellow and the coaches were all cool. My favorite part was probably the first day of hitting because we got to face the best players from across the state.
"We had three days of three-a-day practices, then we had a banquet on Friday that was very nice. The entire experience has been amazing."
It didn't take Cohn long to display his speed and strength from the defensive tackle position. He forced and recovered a fumble deep in East territory to put the clamps on a West drive.
When it was all said and done, he had racked up five tackles and several assists in his team's 16-14 win.
"We were kind of looked at as the underdog, so it was nice to pull out a win," he said.
On Aug. 11, Cohn will report to Grand Valley for the next chapter of his life. One trip to the school's campus convinced Cohn that this was the place for him.
"It's a beautiful campus," said Cohn. "I also chose Grand Valley because I want to get a ring and they play before a packed house every home game."
Cohn said he's not positive what position he will play at GVSU.
"I could play defensive tackle or, who knows, they could move me to defensive end or linebacker," said Cohn, who is deceptively quick for someone with as large of frame as he carries.
Where he plays is not important as the fact that he is playing, thanks to an admirable commitment to the books that matched his commitment to the gridiron.
Ed Wright can be reached at (734) 453-1980 or email@example.com.