Terrapin Times caught up with Terps first-year football Coach D.J. Durkin last night after the Baltimore Touchdown Club's satellite camp at Troy Fields Park in Elkridge, Md., for all the latest on the newest trend in summer camps, as well as all things Terps football as the June recruiting period heats up and newcomers arrive to campus.
Staffs, including Maryland's, have been crisscrossing the country this month in the new satellite camps, with stops everywhere from Maryland to Detroit to Florida, and many places in between. June 13, most of the Terps' coaches were on hand in Elkridge, while a small handful were in Atlanta, Ga., at another camp as well. Wilde Lake High School Coach Doug Duvall of the Baltimore Touchdown Club presided over the Elkridge affair, which attracted some 125 campers from the Baltimore/D.C./Northeast corridor.
On the camps, which have drawn their share of both publicity and ire this month led by the highly-publicized Michigan satellite camp last week at Baltimore's Patterson Park, which was co-hosted by St. Frances Academy, Terps' headman Durkin said he is all for them, but he expects changes/tweaks by next summer by the NCAA.
"You know what, we are having fun as a staff getting out here, and it's good travelling together a little bit, and there is camaraderie being built. And it's just getting out and coaching the game of football," he said. "It's a great game we all love, that's why we do it, and that's our job. But to just coach the fundamentals of football and get out with the young guys in our country...our game is under attack in some ways right now with safety and all that, so to get out and coach it the right way....there are so many things parallel to football draws from life that guys can learn. And I think for us to get out out and be stewards of that, and spread that good word, I think is great for the game."
Durkin said he expects the camps to continue next year, with some modifications.
"I would imagine they will be tweaked some by next year, in terms of how many you can do and the timetable or whatever. There is already discussion about all that. But I believe we'll still be able to do them, they make sense for many reasons, and we'll keep doing them wherever," Durkin said, who added he can't even recall how many he has been to this month there have been so many. The open period ends on June 27. "We have been to some as a whole staff, and some we have spread out to. But we are all bouncing around everywhere."
Last week's at Utz Field in Charm City, with his old mentor Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan staff, was a sight to see, what with all the recruits; various college coaches including Michigan, Maryland, Alabama and Syracuse; national media; as well as many local top prep programs seemingly recruiting away, all the while NCAA enforcement on-site trying to monitor it all.
"It was good, it's a great staff and group of guys," Durkin said of the Wolverines. "Jim is a good friend, a great coach, and the camp was a success. I think everyone was pleased with what we got out of it, and I thought it made sense to partner up like that."
In terms of his own Top 15 2017 recruit class of 10 commitments so far, Durkin could only talk generically, but chimed in on that as well last night.
"I think we have got a good reception all through our area, and it is so important in our backyard to do a good job," Durkin said. "We have worked hard at that, building those relationships with the people and the coaches in the area, so it's going well and it will continue to keep going up and up. And that's a priority, and it will keep going up and up."
Durkin said all the current players are back on campus, as well as three new freshmen, who will be joined next week by all the other new additions of the class of 2016 signees.
"Yeah, I mean we haven't seen any football yet, it's all workouts," Durkin said of the newcomers. "But we are excited about them as we were before, and I think we signed a really good class. And they are going to go in there and compete and have a say in possibly having a job. And that's what it's all about, what is said on the field."
Durkin said he may add another fifth-year transfer or two this summer, after the addition of New Mexico State receiver transfer Teldrick Morgan last week, who can play immediately.
"Teldrick, he has great experience as a college football player. He has been productive throughout his career," Durkin said. "Played a lot of football, experienced guy that's adding to a group that will be very good for us."
Durkin is between satellite camps, his own camps on campus at College Park, and next month will get some family time over vacation.
"But June has become such an important month for us, just getting around to all the camps is so great for recruiting for us. These camps work so well on both ends," he said of the satellites. "Getting out in the community, it's definitely something we'll keep doing. I like being busy, and you know, you kind of find your groove and keep going. Sometimes downtime is not enjoyable. We don't do it every day, as we also spend time with our players back on campus when we are allowed to, so it is a good balance for us."