"I did commit to Ohio State today," Durham told BuckeyeSports.com. "This all came together by chance, but I believe God always works things out for the good."
In one of the wildest, and certainly most surprising, turn of events in the past few years, David Durham is now a Buckeye.
"I was up at Ohio State for a wrestling tournament a few weeks ago, and my wrestling coach called over to the football office to tell them about me," Durham explained. "I went over there and met with Luke Fickell and things started happening. The funny thing is my wrestling coach (Pat O'Hara) is from Ohio, but he's a big Michigan fan. He set the whole thing up. We came here because Ohio wrestling is so good, and this trip prepared us for our district tournament. After meeting Coach Fickell, and seeing the facilities, I just fell in love with the place."
The chance meeting on the wrestling trip was the first contact between Durham and Ohio State. Little did either party know that in less than a month Durham would be the fourth commit of the 2010 recruiting class.
"I went over to meet Coach Fickell with an open mind, never dreaming all this would take place," he said. "I'd always watched Ohio State on television, but never thought I'd get the chance to play for them. I wanted to play big-time college football because my dad played at Ole Miss. I always felt I would wind up in the ACC or SEC, because I didn't want to play in the state of Texas. I have family in Pittsburgh, and I grew up in North Carolina, so coming here to play college football will be no problem for me."
After seeing Ohio State on the wrestling trip Durham told his father he wanted to go back to Columbus to meet the rest of the staff, and learn more about the university.
"I called my dad from the wrestling tournament in Columbus and told him if they ever offered me a scholarship that I would seriously consider taking it on the spot," Durham said. "My dad came back with me this past weekend, and we also visited West Virginia and Virginia. We all met with the coaching staff at Ohio State and I just knew I could never find a better place to play college football. I was hoping they would offer me because I knew this was home. They had my film for about two weeks and they liked it a lot. My dad and I saw the stadium and toured the campus, and we were both just blown away by everything. We both agreed that if the offer came on Monday that we would seriously consider taking it. Ohio State told us to call them on Monday and they would let us know what they were thinking, because they were having a staff meeting over the weekend to discuss if they should offer me."
Durham returned home to Texas wondering if the Ohio State offer would materialize or not. In the meantime he'd received offers from West Virginia and Virginia, and it was apparent his recruitment was heating up.
"I went home and spent the weekend praying about Ohio State and talking with my parents," he stated. "My family has always supported me and guided me in the right direction, so their opinion meant a lot to me. I knew in my heart that I wanted to be coached by Jim Tressel and Luke Fickell. I knew in my heart that I was 100 percent sure I wanted to be a Buckeye, but I knew it was in God's hands, not mine. My recruiting was starting to really pick up and I had offers from Illinois, Virginia and West Virginia. Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, Baylor and Texas Tech were supposed to offer this week, but really, Ohio State was the only school I could think about."
As he spent Sunday at home after returning from his visits, Durham spent the time praying that God would show him what He had planned for his future. By Monday morning, that plan became apparent.
"I was told to call them on Monday and I called Coach Fickell in the morning," Durham stated. "I wasn't sure how to go about asking him if I had the offer or not. I was planning on telling him how much I liked the visit and how much I loved Ohio State, but he jumped right in and told me they were offering me. I told him I was ready to commit right then, and that might have surprised him a little. I just said I wanted to be a Buckeye and he was real excited. I asked him if I could speak to Coach Tressel, but he was in a meeting, so Coach Fickell told me to call him right after practice. When I finally spoke to Coach Tressel it was great. He was excited to have me commit. He told me he watched my film again, and he told me how impressed he was with what he saw."
Although he plays both linebacker and defensive end in high school, it appears Durham's future at Ohio State will be at defensive end.
"The coaches talked to me about playing defensive end and they called it the "Leo" position," Durham said. "I know they mentioned Thad Gibson and Nathan Williams as the people who play there now. I'm 6-foot-3 and I will play at around 230 pounds this year. I've been timed in the 4.7 range in the forty-yard dash, but I'm quick off the ball and can rush the passer pretty well. My strength is my quickness and my best shuttle time is a 4.2, which is pretty good for my size."
Durham started playing football at an early age, and even though he played other sports, it became apparent to him that football was his favorite.
"I started playing in second grade and I really got into it in junior high," he explained. "I played baseball and wrestled, but I realized football was my passion, and my dream was to play big-time football. My team in Texas is 5A Division-I, and we're a really good program. One of my teammates was Ryan Swope and he committed to Texas A&M. I just love being part of something special and being around players that are committed to winning a championship. I know Ohio State will be a place where I can find that."
Before he received his offer, and in preparation for how he would respond should the offer come about, Durham decided to weigh the positives and negatives of committing this early to Ohio State.
"I wanted to be smart about it and make the right decision," he said. "So I decided to look at every possible pro and con, but there was nothing negative about Ohio State, or about committing right now. I was nervous before I called them, because I really wanted that offer, but I knew it would all work out because I trust in God that much. If it wouldn't have been Ohio State, then He would have another plan for my life."
In a strange twist of fate, it was another Buckeye who came to Ohio State from another part of the country, that made a big impression on Durham.
"I was able to hang out with Etienne Sabino, from Florida, and he took me around campus," Durham said. "We went to get something to eat and he talked about how he made his decision to go to Ohio State. He told me to go where I felt comfortable and go where I fit in best. He said he loved it here, and that the competition was so good that it makes you a better player. I wish I could have stayed and hung around him longer, but I had to get going to visit family in Pittsburgh."
Although only a high school junior, Durham possesses a level of maturity of someone much older. He has a deep appreciation for what he has achieved at such a young age.
"First off, I always thank God for every blessing I have in my life," Durham said. "My dad and my coaches have done so much for me, but God has blessed me so much. I believe that He does things for a reason and me going to Ohio State is just such a great honor for me. It's really hard to put into words. I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get many offers during the season, but (Monday) sure made up for that. Ohio State told me that they never worry about who else offers a player. They evaluated me and felt I was a player, and a person, that fits their program, and I couldn't feel better about that. I know that Ohio State gives me a great chance for success in life. I know that Coach Tressel is about more than just football and he cares about his players succeeding in life. I plan on studying business or communications at Ohio State, but I'm not real sure right now because I'm interested in both fields. I know the business school is awesome and I checked that out when I was there. I'm carrying a 3.5 GPA and my high school is really competitive academically. My parents have always stressed education and it's something I take very seriously."
Even though Durham has been to Ohio State twice in the past month, he is already looking forward to returning to Columbus.
"I have spring break coming up and I think my whole family will be coming up to visit," he said. "I want to get my mom up there so she can check it out. My mom went to Penn State so she might really appreciate the rivalry between those two schools. I'm pretty sure we'll all get up there in the next few weeks. I might also come back for the spring game on April 25th, either by myself or with my dad. My summer will be pretty busy preparing for my senior season, so I won't have time then. I'm still undecided about graduating from high school early. There's a chance I could do that and enroll early at Ohio State, but I couldn't say that right now."
When asked to give the one factor that helped make this decision easy for him, Durham paused before answering.
"I'd have to say it was the atmosphere surrounding the program," he said. "From the coaches, to the players, to the school itself, it just seemed like such a family atmosphere. I'm sure that all comes from Coach Tressel and how he leads the program. Ohio State is just the right place for me, and there's no need for any other school to try to recruit me, because I'm sure of my decision."