Maryland's DJ Durkin calls Jim Harbaugh and Michigan's spring break trip 'a hell of an idea'

Maryland first-year football coach DJ Durkin on signing day and what it means for the program. (Baltimore Sun video)

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has taken plenty of flack — mostly from the Southeastern Conference — for his choice to take a week of the Wolverines' spring practice on the road in Bradenton, Fla., home to many of the country's top recruits at IMG Academy.

There's been no shortage of critics in college football, from conference commissioners to other coaches. But Maryland coach DJ Durkin, who was on Harbaugh's staff as defensive coordinator last season, doesn't see it that way.


"It was a hell of an idea," Durkin told CBSSports.com. "Just call it like it is."

Durkin was on Michigan's staff last summer when Harbaugh and his staff embarked on a nine-date satellite camp tour through the college football hotbeds, including stops in Florida and California. It was on that tour that Durkin encountered former Michigan commit and eventual Maryland early enrollee Antwaine Richardson.

And Durkin — who has the reputation of a tireless recruiter — appears that he has picked up some tricks of the trade from Harbaugh during his stops at Stanford and Michigan.

"If I had been here six months ago, we may be doing the same thing," Durkin told CBSSports.com. "All these guys get caught up in it and get all mad. My guess is this is the last time anybody is ever able to do that. He did a nice job getting in on the front end before it gets outlawed."

Harbaugh and Michigan made waves with their Signing of the Stars event on national signing day. The extravaganza — which raised more than $100,000 for charity — featured prominent athletes and celebrities, and it allowed Harbaugh to introduce Michigan's new signees in grand fashion. The event raised the visibility of Michigan immensely, as it was streamed online by The Players' Tribune, and also drew a tepid reaction from others.

On national signing day, Durkin said "all of the hoopla" that goes into the day now is "a lot of BS."

As Durkin tries to reload the Maryland program with talent from Florida and elsewhere in the country, he knows he's going to have to get creative and put in extra effort to get some of the top talent to College Park. And he seems willing to try new things to increase the Terps' visibility and put Maryland on the minds of the nation's best.

After all, he's learned from one of the best.

"I'm with my staff saying, 'Let's think of stuff like that,'" Durkin told CBSSports.com. "Are they going to have an advantage? Absolutely. Am I going to stay awake at night? No. We have to make up ground because he's going to spend a week there with them."



Recommended on Baltimore Sun