© Tim Heitman, USA TODAY
The Seattle Seahawks believed in rookie receiver Dareke Young when no one else did. And on Tuesday, his journey from Division II to a 53-man roster officially came true.
A product of Division II program Lenoir-Rhyne in North Carolina, Young still heard his name called on the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft in April, as he was selected in the seventh round with the 233rd overall pick.
But despite all these unlikely odds to overcome, Young has managed to not only make Seattle's opening-night roster but has caught the twinkling eye of coach Pete Carroll along the way.
As final cuts were made Tuesday, Carroll heaped praises on Young and how his performance through training camp and preseason made a major impression on the coaching staff.
“He never looked like anything but a guy that belonged regardless of where he came from … He looked like he belonged right from day one," Carroll said.
At 6-4, 225, Young's physique and size nearly match that of Seattle star receiver D.K. Metcalf, who has been unofficially recognized as one of the most physically-dominant players in the league. Combine this with the unexpected route-running ability Young has shown, and the coaching staff had little choice but to take notice.
"He’s physically really fit," Carroll said. "He’s a big, strong kid, fast. He ran routes better than we thought he would. He was clean in-and-out of his breaks. He’s strong with the catch.
Young led Seattle with five targets and had a team-high four catches for 30 yards to go along with a three-yard touchdown in the preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The score helped Seattle tie the game at 17-17 in the third quarter and was the first of a second half that brought fireworks along with it, even though Seattle's comeback attempt fell short.
Young failed to record a catch on just one target in the second preseason game against the Chicago Bears but returned to form against the Dallas Cowboys in the finale with a team-leading 43 yards on three grabs.
Of course, like all rookies – and all players, for that matter – Young isn't perfect by any means. Carroll admitted that he still needs to improve as a receiver while continuing to provide necessary ability on special teams as he works his way up the depth chart.
"Sometimes, he has to work on catching the football a little bit better, but it’s not because he can’t catch it," Carroll said. "It’s because of the situations and getting better around or whatever. But he’s more than that. He’s also a special teams guy. He’s a really good blocker; it really matters to him to be a physical player."
Young finished his Lenoir-Rhyne career with 24 total touchdowns on 161 touches. But stats at the D-II level mattered little to Carroll and company, who liked what they saw and could soon be reaping the rewards.
"It showed up and we really liked him early on," Carroll said. "It was just, is he going to be able to hold it throughout camp and he did. The quarterbacks know that he’s out there. He’s going to make the strong, good catches … so we are excited about what he has done.”
Young will get his first opportunity to shine in Week 1 when the Denver Broncos come to Seattle for a Monday Night Football showdown on Sept. 12.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Seahawks? Click Here to subscribe to AllSeahawks.com's Newsletter.
Follow All Seahawks.com on Twitter and Facebook
Make sure to subscribe to our daily podcast @lockedonseahawks today! Click here To Listen.
© Tim Heitman, USA TODAY