New Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin was introduced on Thursday.
From his time in front of the cameras, it’s obvious that he has a vision for the Terrapins.
Durkin has a very strong pedigree due to the fact that he has studied under great coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer. If you’re looking at the numbers, the two coaches have a 191-51 overall record and have nine bowl wins between them. That’s without mentioning that Meyer has won two national titles (one at Florida and one at Ohio State).
The former Michigan defensive coordinator studied under Harbaugh and Meyer for a total of seven seasons.
“It’s funny as coaches, I’ve been fortunate to be around some of the best in the business,” Durkin said. “You always take bits and pieces from people you worked for, worked with. You’re always learning, you’re always evolving. There’s a long list of things I’ve learned from Jim and the other coaches I’ve worked with as well. You put your own stamp on it, your own personality.”
Durkin certainly knows what he’s looking for in terms of recruits and players in general. He does have a year of coaching and recruiting experience in the Big Ten from his lone year with the Wolverines.
“I think you try to find guys that are competitive,” Durkin added. “I think that is the characteristic that carries over anything. Guys that are competitors, they find a way to get to the top. Whatever environment they are in, they are going to fight and scrap and somehow get to the top of that environment. Those are the types of guys we are looking for in this conference.”
With that being said, the Maryland area is one of the richest talent pools in the nation. With high school powerhouses like DeMatha Catholic (Md.) Friendship Collegiate Academy (D.C.), and Good Counsel (Md.), it’s extremely clear that you don’t have to go very far to recruit some of the most athletic players around.
“Recruiting is all about relationships and relationships are built through time, through adversity, you go through circumstances together,” Durkin said. “I just plan on starting from day one and just being consistent and continuing to build those relationships. I don’t think there is any magic thing to say to win everyone over. They are going to get consistent feedback from myself and my staff.”
In the past, Durkin has recruited all over the country when he was with Florida and Michigan. He has targeted players in the Midwest to the Carolinas and Virginia to the Sunshine State.
Durkin appears to be building his type of staff that will allow him to have success.
Even with just being hired on Wednesday, guys like former Friendship Collegiate Academy coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Auburn secondary coach Travaris Robinson are already being linked as potential members of Durkin’s staff. Abdul-Rahim left the local powerhouse for a defensive analyst position under coach Nick Saban at Alabama. Robinson worked with Durkin while Durkin was with the Gators.
“I’m going to be very deliberate about it,” Durkin said. “As the right guys come forward, we’ll keep moving with it as we go forward. We’re in the middle of a recruiting period right now. We have a number of guys here right now that are putting work in recruiting that I have to get with and go through the board with them on. We have to get it right and get the right people in here. We’re going to get people that have a purpose, good people, good family men that understand the game, and what we’re all about as a program.”
It’s absolutely evident that Durkin has hit the ground running and is trying to bring in guys that will help elevate the Maryland program to new heights. It also wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he kept a few guys from Randy Edsall’s staff.
“I think personally I really identify with this program. This is a blue collar place, a blue collar university, a blue collar program. We get to compete in one of the best divisions, best conferences in the country. I embrace competition, I want to recruit guys that embrace that competition.”