COLLEGE PARK -- D.J. Durkin did not promise championships during his introductory press conference. He did not talk about ousting Urban Meyer or taking down Jim Harbaugh.
Instead, the 37-year-old Durkin came off as a bright pragmatist and an authentic personality with a message driven by an undeniable, youthful energy that radiated from his words as his sat next to athletic director Kevin Anderson at the podium in College Park.
“I’m not quite sure where the energy comes from,” he said. “I think I’ve always kind of been that way as a player, as a coach. I’m sure there’s probably some stories we could go through, good or bad, but I think at the end of the day, I truly believe in being yourself.”
Authenticity is what often resonates so well on the recruiting trail, which is what makes his reputation as a high-level recruiter at Florida and Michigan so easy to explain.
The dynamics of recruiting are different at a program like Maryland, trying to climb upward in a loaded Big Ten East, than they might be at either of his other Power Five stops, but the variable that may fill that gap is the personable Durkin.
“I think you can out-effort people. I think you can out-effort people on the field and off the field in what you do. That’s what I know,” he said. “That’s where I’m from, from the ground up back in my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. I learned those values a long time ago.”
In a way, Durkin is the under-the-radar political candidate in all of this. Grassroots people and engaged followers of the sport know his football acumen and his vibrant personality. But a segment of this fan base was expecting a name or a flashy hire or the head of a long-time football power to be brought to College Park.
Those who say, who is D.J. Durkin?
There is a hurdle there, to develop name recognition and sway the opinion and that hurdle is often cleared most easily by delivering results. He has the opportunity to do that on the recruiting trail even before spring practice begins.
It’s just about getting to know the candidate.
“Personally, I really identify with this program,” Durkin said. “I think this is a blue-collar place, a blue-collar university, a blue-collar program.
“To me, it’s an easy sell.”