Sunday’s Super Bowl will bring no sense of conflict for Denver Broncos rookie defensive lineman Darius Kilgo, who was born and bred in the Charlotte area.
“I never had a favorite NFL team growing up,” said Kilgo. “I wasn’t a diehard Panthers fan. But playing them is ironic, though.”
Kilgo was born in Monroe and attended Weddington High. After making Honorable Mention All-Big Ten while a senior at Maryland, he was the Broncos’ sixth-round pick (203rd overall) in last year’s NFL draft.
Kilgo was an honorable-mention all-Big Ten player at Maryland before being drafted in the sixth round of last year’s NFL draft.
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Kilgo (6-feet-3, 319 pounds) has seen lots of action this season, although his time on the field has diminished recently. Most of his playing time came when the line had to be shuffled due to an early-season injury to defensive end Derek Wolfe. Kilgo played in nine games for the NFL’s top-ranked defense, making six tackles.
“He’s done a good job for us,” said Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar. “When he came into training camp and our OTAs, he looked real shaky. He didn’t look good. But then he started to get a little idea of what we’re doing. With his work ethic, he was practicing and working harder and things began to come for him.”
(Kilgo has) done a good job for us.
Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kolar
Kilgo was an all-Observer performer at Weddington before choosing to sign with the Terrapins over Michigan State and East Carolina. Before Kilgo got to high school, he played on a Weddington Middle School team that included several future college players, including Anthony Boone (Duke), Braxton Deaver (Duke), David Durham (Ohio State before transferring to Pittsburgh), Ty Linton (N.C. State), Prince Shembo (Notre Dame) and Vinnie Sunseri (Alabama). That group won the Union County middle school championship for three consecutive years, going 29-1 over that time.
Now there’s another championship to win for Kilgo, on a much bigger stage. Kollar said he’s not sure if Kilgo will be on the Broncos’ active roster for the game, since the defensive line is healthy now.
“He’s got a really good upside,” said Kollar. “If we need him, I wouldn’t worry about putting him out there.”