Don’t think that 2014 quarterback recruit Chris Durkin isn’t aware of the confusion under center going on in East Lansing.
The senior at Youngstown’s Ursuline High is in the early stages of his final prep season, and he’s been keeping tabs on the fluctuating QB situation going on with MSU’s football team headed into Saturday’s game with his hometown Penguins.
“They really don’t have a guy right now. They’re looking at and trying everybody,” the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder said Thursday. “That’s just motivation for me for when I get up there that the job is open to anybody, and it’s going to go to the best leader and the person who’s working the hardest.”
Durkin threw two interceptions last week in Ursuline’s 42-27 loss to an emotion-fueled Mentor Lake Catholic team. Both picks came from the Cougars’ Connor Robinson, whose brother Michael (an Ohio University football freshman) died a few days earlier.
That didn’t stop Lake Catholic coach Mike Bell of heaping lofty praise upon Durkin.
“I don’t know if it gets any better as a football player at the high school level in the state of Ohio than (Durkin),” Bell told the Youngstown Vindicator.
Through two games, Durkin is 21 of 38 for 319 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and his Irish travel to¬†Massillon-Jackson at 7 p.m. today. He led a 27-24 win over Walsh Jesuit in Week 1.
Walsh Jesuit is the alma mater of MSU redshirt sophomore Connor Cook, who will start Saturday for the Spartans. Durkin and his Ursuline teammates on Sept. 27 will face Erie Cathedral Prep, which is MSU freshman Damion Terry’s high school.
Durkin – the son of a former YSU and minor league baseball player – is an athletic, mobile quarterback in a similar vein as Terry. Scout.com lists the younger Durkin as a four-star prospect, while Rivals.com ranks him as a three-star recruit. He also attends Pat Narduzzi’s high school alma mater, and the¬†MSU defensive coordinator helped sell Durkin on becoming a Spartan in 2014.
“I started getting Facebook messages from coach Narduzzi,” Durkin said. “When he would pop into the school, we would sit down and talk about Michigan State and what my thoughts were about playing up there. We got pretty close.
“One day, I got a Facebook message asking to give him a call. He handed the phone over to coach (Mark) Dantonio, and we talked for a little bit. He told me they rarely offer quarterbacks (a scholarship) without seeing them throw in person, and he said that I was an exception.”
Dantonio offered the scholarship during that call. Durkin accepted in late March, and he said, “I knew it was the right fit since.”
And, at the current rate of the ongoing quarterback turmoil, Durkin could fit right into the mix for snaps for MSU at this time next fall.