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  D.J. Durkin Back In The Saddle Lands Post With Ole Miss Rebels  
  January 9, 2020 Edition  
D J Durkin
     OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI---Ole Miss head football coach Lane Kiffin continues to assemble his first Rebel staff, announcing last week the hiring of Assistant Coach D.J. Durkin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Durkin, of Boardman.
      Durkin is a former national recruiter of the year in addition to helping lead highly-ranked defenses, during his previous collegiate coaching stints.
      Durkin, who spent this season as a consultant for the Atlanta Falcons, brings a wealth of experience, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, where he helped spearhead successful units at Michigan and Florida, among other stops.
      Besides his experience on the field, Durkin has been equally accomplished on the recruiting trail. Durkin, Rivals’ Recruiter of the Year in 2012, has helped ink seven top-25 classes, including five which ranked in the top 10. During his time with the Gators, Durkin helped land four straight top-11 recruiting classes and nine five-star prospects.
      Durkin served as head coach at Maryland for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He doubled the Terrapins’ win total during his first season at the helm and excelled on the recruiting trail, bringing in consecutive top-30 signing classes for the first time in program history during his two seasons in College Park.
      During his first season in College Park, Durkin led the Terps to a 4-0 start, including five wins in their first seven games. After falling in three straight games to nationally-ranked teams, Maryland defeated Rutgers, 31-13, in its season finale to earn a berth in the Quick Lane Bowl.
      Prior to Maryland, Durkin served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Michigan, leading a nationally-renowned defensive unit that ranked fourth in the country. Under Durkin, the Wolverines limited opponents to 17.2 points per game in 2015, in addition to shutting out three consecutive opponents – the longest such streak at Michigan in 35 years.
      Durkin’s immediate impact in Ann Arbor was also displayed in player development. Michigan had nine defensive All-Big Ten honorees, including a pair of first-team defensive backs: Jourdan Lewis and Jabrill Peppers. In addition, three Wolverines (Ryan Glasgow, Lewis and Peppers,) were named semifinalists for national defensive awards in 2015.
      As the defensive coordinator at Florida from 2013-14, Durkin led the Gators to consecutive top-15 rankings in total defense with the 15th-best mark in the country in 2014 (329.0 ypg) and the eighth-best (314.2 ypg) in 2013. Florida’s 2014 team finished the year ranked in the top 10 in the nation in yards allowed per play (4.45), yards allowed per rush attempt (3.16) and yards allowed per pass attempt (5.9).
      In Durkin’s first season as defensive coordinator, Florida finished first in the SEC and seventh in the country in pass defense (171.8 yards per game). The Gators were sixth nationally in first downs allowed (16.1 per game) and 15th in scoring defense (21.1 points per game), while allowing only 27 touchdowns, the sixth fewest in the nation in 2013.
      Prior to Florida, Durkin spent three seasons at Stanford coaching defensive ends and special teams. Under Durkin’s tutelage, Stanford’s defensive ends helped the Cardinal rank 11th nationally in sacks per game in 2007 and 2009. Durkin also helped the Cardinal bring in their highest ranked recruiting class in eight years in 2009.
      As a player, Durkin starred at Bowling Green as a starter at defensive end and outside linebacker from 1997-2000. He led the team in sacks in 1998 and served as a team captain for two seasons. Durkin was honored with numerous team awards, including the Ken Schoeni Award for character and toughness, the Carlos Jackson Award personifying the values of a student-athlete and the Leadership Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Bowling Green in 2001 and his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision in 2004.
      “We received consistently strong feedback about Coach Durkin’s strong character and work ethic and his positive impact on the communities and institutions where he was previously employed,” Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter said in a statement. “Once we had the chance to spend time with Coach Durkin, we were even more convinced that he is exactly the type of accomplished coach with strong football credentials who is also a proud and committed family man that will make him a great addition to our new staff.”
      Durkin attended Boardman High School where he was an all-conference and all-Northeast Ohio grid selection. A three-year letterman, Durkin capped off his football career at BHS on a 10-3 team that won the Steel Valley Comference championship and made it to the state playoff semifinals. Upon graduation in 1996 he entered BGSU on a full football scholarship.
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