FORT WORTH, Texas — John Diarse made a mark at TCU for the maturity that he carried on and off the field.
The graduate-transfer wide receiver, who came to Fort Worth from LSU after the 2015 season, isn’t known for being the flashiest player on the gridiron.
At least not compared to the previous Horned Frog to wear No. 9 — wide receiver Josh Doctson, who dazzled TCU fans with 2,344 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns from 2014-15.
But now, with his bachelor’s and master’s degree in hand from two his two schools, Diarse is ready to conquer the real world, and not just in the hope of playing professional football.
John Diarse: pic.twitter.com/1unXicfGmX
— Dean Straka (@dwstraka49) April 1, 2018
Diarse debuted his personal clothing line — Young. Fresh. Free. — on Friday morning at TCU Football’s Sammy Baugh Indoor Practice Facility when the Horned Frogs hosted their annual pro day. He proudly wore the phrase “no opinions, just facts” as he ran drills in front of scouts from across the NFL.
With the 2018 NFL Draft now less than a month away, it may seem hard to imagine a draft-eligible player being able make time to launch a personal brand of clothing with all the physical demands of getting ready for the NFL.
For Diarse, however, it’s a vision that has been a long time in the making.
“It’s the idea that me and couple of buddies from high school, and a cousin of mine — we got together and said, ‘Hey, let’s start being self sufficient,'” Diarse said. “It’s not just a clothing line. It’s a brand that represents so much more.”
It’s not to say that Diarse doesn’t love the game that he plays. But he knows that life is bigger than football. He wants to take steps that are in the best interest for his future.
“There’s more to me than just that guy in a helmet and jersey,” Diarse said. “At lot of times [entrepreneurship] takes you a lot further than the field does … you’ve got to have something to fall back on.”
Young. Fresh. Free.
At a glance, it may be hard to decipher what inspired the name of Diarse’s clothing line. The TCU wide receiver broke down how it came to mind.
Be Young: “Always stay young and youthful in your desires and goals. You can never get too old to reach any goal that you set for yourself. It’s all the mentality.”
Stay Fresh: “Be fresh mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Without being fresh in those areas, you won’t get the goals and desires you want in life.”
Live Free: “Accept who you are. Live it out and be the best you that you can be. A lot of people try to follow the paths of others, but I choose to walk my own path and live it free as much as I can, and I encourage others to do the same.”
So what do his teammates think of it?
Quarterback Kenny Hill, for one, is a fan — though he may not be receiving a discount anytime soon after drilling Diarse in the right eye with a pass last week.
“I love it — though he hadn’t given me any of the [free] gear, yet,” Hill remarked with a smile.
Stand tall above all
As Diarse’s time in Forth Worth wraps up, he reflects on the journey that brought him from Monroe, La., to LSU, before ultimately to TCU for his final two college years.
If anything, there has been an increased sense of urgency for Diarse in making the most of every moment. It’s something he said influenced the ideas behind the brand.
“As you get older you see a lot of talent you wasted when you were younger,” Diarse said. “My dad and I always talk about establishing yourself and putting yourself … getting an advantage over others. You always want to put yourself in the best position and I feel as if I’m different.”
It’s a similar approach to what he carries on the football field. Diarse said that he tends to compare himself to not one NFL receiver, but a combination — with hopes of becoming an entirely new “monster” that others can model.
Ultimately, whatever his perceived persona, Diarse just wants to embrace it.
“Some call me an old soul, and I embrace it,” Diarse said. “Some call me wise and mature, and I embrace it. Some even call me goofy, so I embrace it all.”