Quarterback Chris Durkin, Youngstown, Ohio (Ursuline) - 6-foot-4, 216 pounds
Ratings: 247 sports (4 stars) Rivals (3 stars), Scout (4 stars), ESPN (unranked)
Other notable offers: Northwestern, Indiana, Illinois, Cal
Fresh off turning head at at last weekend's Charlotte Nike Football Training Camp, Youngstown Ursuline quarterback Chris Durkin visited Michigan State and committed on Thursday.
Durkin is the third MSU quarterback commit from Ohio in the past four -- and comes from a football power in Youngstown Ursuline (Pat Narduzzi's alma mater).
He threw for 1,500 yards and rushed for 1,100 last fall as a junior while totaling 23 touchdowns. For his efforts, he was first-team All-Northeast Ohio and second-team All-Ohio.
The best thing about Durkin is he obviously really wanted to be at Michigan State. He didn't even make it to the end of the day Thursday before he committed.
You always want kids who have such strong feelings about being a Spartan. And it sure doesn't hurt when their highlight tape looks like this ...
The biggest strength of Durkin's game is his ability to move around in and out of the pocket, while not losing velocity on the ball. For a high school junior to have such zip on the ball is impressive, and that is the way Durkin flashes on tape. His arm is fantastic.
Last week at the NFTC in Charlotte, 247 reported that Durkin showed the arm strength others didn't -- despite poor conditions.
"Durkin is a big kid (he's 6-feet-4) with a big arm. He not only spun the ball about as well as any quarterback on hand, he got it from A to B pretty quickly. The elements did little to impede his performance, which is something few others on hand could say."
Having such am strength is tremendous for a high school quarterback, let alone a junior. Playing in the Big Ten means playing in some blustery, wintery conditions (cough ... Evanston ... cough).
What else jumps out at you about Durkin is his size. He is a big kid -- a very big kid -- but also mobile (with a reported 4.68 40-yard dash).
When he gets out of the pocket and runs downhill, he is not afraid to hit the defender and it often takes more than one to bring him down. There is a big element of toughness to his game, in that.
On the downside, Durkin runs a lot -- sometimes very early on designed pass plays. At points, he reminds one of a Drew Stanton-type quarterback. While creating plays with his feet is a strength, the ability to wait for routes to develop is essential in college. At MSU, he certainly will be asked to be much more a pass-first quarterback.
That said, it appears Ursuline uses a lot of wide receiver screens, which plays well into Durkin's future at Michigan State as that is a staple of the Spartan offense.
Michigan State had offers out to four quarterbacks, with the most recent going to Durkin. Don't mistake that for thinking Durkin was not a top target for Mark Dantonio and Co., though, as the staff is and has been very high on Durkin. (Yes, Durkin is the only quarterback the Spartans will take in the 2014 class.)
As Spartan fans, the quarterback position appears to have a bright future and is well-stocked to be open for competition after Andrew Maxwell graduates as four scholarship quarterbacks will be on the roster in 2014.
Durkin is the third commit in the 2014 class, joining linebackers Byron Bullough and Deon Drake.