Character Wins Out For Durkin

Thursday night found FOX Sports NEXT four-star quarterback Chris Durkin making his verbal pledge to Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans. We caught up with the Durkin family for the reasons the Youngstown, Ohio native chose the Spartans over others.

Over the course of the past year Chris Durkin has seen his stock rise as one of the top quarterback prospects in the Midwest.

Despite pleas from college programs from coast to coast, the Durkin family found the things they felt were key in their son naming Michigan State as his future home.

"We were thoroughly impressed with the character of the men we'll be turning our son over to no doubt," said Chris Durkin Sr. about the Michigan State coaches. "Initially when Michigan State offered we felt the same way about them as we did Toledo.

"We knew if Chris played in the MAC, it would be for Toledo. They were the first ones to really stick their nose in there. Illinois also did last year, but they offered countless quarterbacks. Michigan State only had a couple and that was a place when we talked about where Chris might want to play football that always came up, even before they offered. So when they did, we knew it was a school we really wanted to take a close look at."

While the Spartans received a solid verbal commitment, other programs were in the running up until today.

"The Cal offer was another offer we were really interested in," said Mr. Durkin. "We know they are going to put up 30-40 points under Coach (Sonny) Dykes. But to hop on a plane for four hours and three-thousand miles away from a family perspective, we weren't going to get to spend the time with Christopher and he kind of wanted to be a little closer to home. So from a proximity to home, Michigan State made sense.

"He also took in a game at Northwestern but didn't leave there feeling from a football perspective it was the right place. It didn't seem like the same love for the program as we're getting from the Spartan family for sure. The fans and staff, just everybody is fired up about Christopher being a Spartan."

Another thing helping the Spartans was Durkin's visit during this past season.

"Chris came up for a game last year and we heard about it," said Mr. Durkin. "Even though it was in a losing effort against Ohio State, he talked adamantly about it.

"We also like the direction they are looking to go with Christopher in their offense. He's a big strong durable kid who can not only run the football but can also throw that 20-yard comebacker to the opposite hash eight out of ten times."

However, while offensive play calling played a role there was something even more important about the decision to become a Spartan for the Durkin family.

"Character was a lot more important than the style of offense they are going to run," explained Mr. Durkin. "Character, if at the beginning the coaches have it they are going to teach my son charter.

"If you look at some of the best at the next level it's the one thing they all have is charter and poise. Christopher is a talented young man; it's those intangibles you don't see on the stat sheet.

"Is the kid going to get up and do the extra work on his own?

"Is he going to do it when no one is watching?

"That's charter and those guys will instill that into my son. He brings that to the equation already, but to have a supporting staff around him that is going to be persistent and make sure he follows through is going to make him a better player."

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