D.J. Durkin: Signing day hoopla 'a lot of BS'
Just over two months ago, D.J. Durkin was Jim Harbaugh’s right-hand man.
Durkin’s one-year run as Michigan’s defensive coordinator yielded a wealth of success. He led one of the top defenses in the country and he helped Harbaugh recruit one of the top 2016 recruiting classes.
Fast forward two months to Wednesday, when Durkin introduced his first recruiting class as the head coach at Maryland. While he was excited for the new class, Durkin called the day “delightfully uneventful.”
A few hundred miles away, Jim Harbaugh’s “Signing of the Stars” event was the spectacle of spectacles. Tom Brady, Derek Jeter, Lou Holtz and Ric Flair were among the long list of celebrity guests that introduced Michigan’s incoming recruits in front of an award show-like audience.
Needless to say, Durkin has different views than Harbaugh on signing day.
“I absolutely enjoy it, because there are a new group of guys we’re excited about, who are joining our family,” Durkin told the Baltimore Sun. “That’s really exciting. But all the hoopla that’s gone into it now? I think that’s a lot of BS. When a guy signs, however he sends his letter, we’re going to get on the phone and say we’re so excited you’re here. We talked to all those guys last night, too. … But we’ve got a lot of other things to do today.”
Nobody had more signing day ‘hoopla’ than the Wolverines, but Durkin’s annoyance with the signing day spectacle certainly didn’t sound limited to Michigan.
One Ole Miss commit made his announcement while sky-diving. A Georgia recruit ran through a banner wearing a jersey in his high school gym. One USC commit even had Snoop Dogg help him make his announcement.
Maryland did host a signing day party on campus for fans and donors. After that, Durkin said, he was going right back to work.
That was the same approach taken by Mark Dantonio, who also had a no-frills day introducing what turned out to be his best-rated recruiting class ever at Michigan State.
For now, Dantonio and Durkin appear to be in the majority among coaches wanting to keep it simple on signing day. It remains to be seen whether or not Harbaugh’s ways will become the new norm in college football.