Skip Holtz and the Bulls got another piece of the puzzle when Georgia stud DB Kenneth Durden decided to play his college ball at for USF. Durden plays for Lowndes, a football powerhouse that in the last nine years, has won three state and six region championships, (three in the last four years including this season). This season the Vikings are 10-2 with the two losses by a combined four points, and after a 38-14 win over Newnan Friday, the Vikings are heading to the third round of the Class 5-A playoffs.
"Things are going real well," said Durden. "We crushed it in our last play-off game, and are heading into the third round. I didn't get a pick in the last game, but got one our first round game. That makes three for the year."
Durden (6'1, 175) is a 3-star prospect rated the No. 75 corner by Scout.com and considered one of the elite defensive backs in the Southeast. He has all the physical tools a coach wants, he's explosive, fast, has good range, and has very good instincts and ball skills. Durden didn't know his full stats, but he's listed as having 32 tackles, 3 ints, 10 passes defended, and also had a blocked field goal as of 10/29.
"We play mostly man coverage at Lowndes and I'm best at covering my man in one-on-one," said Durden. "I'm used to playing in tight man coverage and my coach always puts me on the other team's best receiver. I can lock down my receiver in man coverage and take him out of the game."
Durden is a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball, and track, and excels in all three sports. The athletic cornerback is also a state champion in the triple jump, after posting a 48-6.25 at state in May, winning the Georgia 5A state title, also hold a track offer from Morehouse. At the Speed Sports Performance combine last May Durden had a lights-out performance and was named co-MVP. Durden ran a 4.40 40-yard dash, 6.83 3-Cone, and 4.41 shuttle. He leaped 38inches in the vertical jump, and 9-9 in the broad jump. The triple jump is usually a good indicator of athletic ability. It involves speed, explosion, and balance, and Durden is currently tied for the 6th farthest triple jump in Georgia this season in all five classifications.
The Lowndes stand out has all the physical tools and considered one of the elite defensive backs in the Southeast, and programs have taken notice as he received 12 offers including ones from Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Mississippi State, Southern Miss, Memphis, UAB, UCF, and Middle Tennessee, with lots of others showing interest including Florida, Georgia, and Miami, but Durden chose to play for USF.
"Yes sir I committed to USF," said Durden. "I chose USF because they've been number one on my list for some time now, and I really think that they are a great fit for me. I'm real happy with my decision, and feel real good about it."
"They have shown me a lot of love, and had me as the number one corner on their board. They told me I have a great opportunity to come in and start early. They're also not too far from home."
Kenneth says he talks with USF receiver coach Phil McGeoghan, who's his recruiting coordinator, and USF secondary coach Rick smith and likes what he sees in the coaching staff.
"Coach McGeoghan is a real cool coach and I really like him, he always told me how much they wanted me," said Durden. "I also speak with DB Coach Rick Smith, and he seems real cool and a good coach too."
Durden plays in Georgia, but follows the Bulls whenever he gets the opportunity, and likes how they play defense.
"Yes sir, I stated following them last year a little bit, and watch them as much as I can," said Durden. "I like how they play defense, and I like the schemes they run. The coaches told me they're going to be thin in the secondary, and are going to need people."
Durden attended the USF SuperBull camp and has been high on the Bulls since the summer before finally pulling the trigger and committing.
"I was basically waiting for a test score and I really scored high on that, I got a 23 on the ACT," said Durden. "They were kind of waiting on the score as well."
When did you decide you were going to commit?
"Well when I went down there, they really seemed like they like me and I really liked them so they been on my mind," said Durden. "I really didn't know, I just decided one day that I was ready to commit, and Coach Phil told me that if I feel that way I need to do it."
How did the commitment come down?
"I called coach McGeoghan and said I was ready," said Durden. "Actually I was in class, so I texted him that I was committing, and then called him afterwards. He was real happy about it and had me call Coach Smith; he was even more excited and said he can't wait to get me down there.
What are some of the things that you like about USF?
"Well they were one of the schools that were on me from the very beginning, and like I said they had me as the number one corner on their board, and that meant a lot. Having an opportunity to come in and start early is also a big plus. They're pretty close to home, so it's easier for my family to come and see me play."
How did your summer visit affect how you felt about the Bulls?
"When I went down there at their camp I had a real good time working with the coaching staff, and that gave me a good idea of how they interact with the players. I got to meet B.J. Daniels and some of the players and liked how they all seemed like a family. I also got to tour the campus and the facilities while I was there and liked them. I saw their weight room, locker room, training room and things like that, and thought they were very nice and one of the best that I've seen. I also saw that they were starting all this construction for their new facility upgrades, and here it's going to be even better."
What positions are they recruiting you for?
"They recruiting me for cornerback, and think I have a good shot at playing early."
What's your GPA and test score?
"I have a 2.6 core GPA and took the ACT, and scored a 23."
Do you know any USF plays on the team or any plays from your state that are heading to USF?
I don't know of any USF plays personally, but I know of B.J. Daniels and met him when I went down there," said Durden. "I know of the Stephenson running back Willie Davis that's committed to them, but I don't know him real well."
When are you going to take your official visit to USF?
"I'm not sure when I'll take my official visit to USF yet, I was going to come down for the Pittsburgh game, but couldn't make it," said Durden "I like to come down for their last game against Connecticut, but I don't know if we have a game on that Friday or Saturday, so it all depends on that."
Do you have any plans to take any other visits or are you done?
"I may take a visit to Mississippi State, and one to West Virginia," said Durden. "But I haven't set them up yet."
After playing at a football Mecca in Lowndes, Durden believes it will help him at the next level.
"Yes sir, I think after playing some of the best football teams around with the top athletes, it'll have me better prepared," said Durden. "There are high expectations playing Georgia football at Lowndes, so I'm used to the pressure, and playing against the best."
How do you feel now that you're committed?
"I'm excited, my family is excited, everybody is happy for me," said Durden. "Now I can focus on school, and when I'm finished I'll head to USF and take it to the next level."