By doug chapin
It apparently was love at first sight. Maybe it had to do with the offer being made on Valentine’s Day.
Ursuline High quarterback Chris Durkin made a verbal commitment on Thursday to accept a football scholarship offer from Michigan State University. The Spartans made the offer on Feb. 14 and Durkin committed on the first day of a weekend visit.
“When we got up there everything looked great both academically and for football,” Durkin said. “We talked with the academic advisers and they had everything I wanted there (for pre-med). They have a lot of people leave there and become very successful. That’s what I want to do and that stuck with me.
“Then we checked out the facility, met the coaches and hung out with the players and that was great. At practice, about halfway through, I walked over to my Dad and coach (Larry) Kempe and said I felt like this was home and I wanted to commit today.”
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior-to-be also had offers from Illinois, Indiana, California, Northwestern, Nevada and several Mid-American Conference schools. He had previously visited Toledo, Bowling Green and Northwestern and canceled a planned visit to Tennessee.
“We went to coach [Mark] Dantonio’s office and I told him I wanted to make a verbal commitment and that I wouldn’t visit any other schools,” Durkin said. “He was real excited and shook hands with me and we posed for a picture. Then when he walked out of the office and went down the hall he screamed that I was a Spartan.”
As a junior, Durkin led the Irish to two playoff victories and a berth in the Division V regional final where Ursuline lost 38-37 to Kirtland. He passed for 887 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 722 yards and seven scores during a 5-5 regular season.
Durkin and Kempe both are pleased the recruitment process is over.
“Now that it’s out of the way and I don’t have any other college things to worry about I can really focus on my school work and our team for this year,” Durkin said. “The one thing on our mind is state. Now that my decision is out of the way it will benefit us by allowing me to be there more for my team. No more college visits allows me to be the best leader I can be for us.”
“As Chris and I have talked throughout the process, we want him to make sure he is doing what’s in the best interest for his future. But come June his focus will be on the 2013 Ursuline football team,” Kempe said. “We have some unfinished business from last year to take care of. Chris is a very committed young guy, he’s a team guy. I think it’s wonderful for him and his family to have this decision and to make it and be comfortable about it. Now he can go back to being a junior and senior in high school and enjoying that.”