It's been a wild few weeks for George Durant.
The junior linebacker for the University of Louisville, who at one point early in his career became ineligible, was the surprise projected starter last weekend when the Cardinals released their post-fall camp two-deep chart.
The 6-foot, 235-pound Durant said that wasn't much of a surprise, noting it was "what I expected and my goal," but the former walk-on also earned a scholarship recently from coach Charlie Strong.
"That was pretty nice," Durant said with a smile. "I came in here with coach K(ragthorpe) and some thing happen. I became ineligible for football.
"But I really worked hard and the past couple of years I have been able to play. I didn't have a scholarship last year, but coach Strong felt like I deserved one. I was pretty excited when he told me I had one."
Now, Durant wants to prove he deserves it.
He's projected as the starting ‘Sam linebacker for Sunday's opener against Kentucky. It will be his first college start.
"(Durant) has done a tremendous job and should play for us quite a bit," defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. "We have a lot of guys that will play for us, but George has been fighting and battling out here."
Durant entered camp as the backup to Daniel Brown, who had played Will linebacker most of last season but was making the witch to Sam. The Cardinals' staff tried several young guys at Will but moved Brown back because Durant showed progress and had more experience.
"He's been in his playbook non-stop," starting Mike linebacker Preston Brown said. "He's really matured and improved in a couple of years here.
"He's a great talker and really lets us know what's going on out there."
Durant said he's really grown up in a couple of years, noting that he "isn't a guy who just wants to be part of the team."
"We got a ring last year and I felt like I earned it," he said. "I feel like I can be that guy who helps our team win. I believe my coaches and teammates feel like they can depend on me a lot and I want to contribute."