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Maryland hires Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin as new head football coach

The Terrapins' new head coach specializes in defense.

Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog

Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will be the University of Maryland's next head football coach, the school announced Wednesday.

In his first year in Ann Arbor, Durkin has engineered a havoc-wreaking defense that has rated among the best units in the country. Durkin is known for aggressive blitzing schemes and explosive defensive fronts. His Michigan unit is blessed with exceptional high-end talent he won't immediately have at Maryland, headlined by cornerback Jourdan Lewis and safety Jabrill Peppers. It could take time for Durkin to find the players to suit his hard-charging defensive style. Still, Durkin is a defensive maestro.

Before becoming the Wolverines' coordinator under Jim Harbaugh this season, Durkin was the defensive coordinator and then interim head coach at Florida last year. As part of a coaching career started in 2001, Durkin has also coached defensive ends, linebackers and special teams at Bowling Green, Notre Dame and Stanford.

A Youngstown, Ohio, native, Durkin hails from a region where Maryland has occasionally been active before on the recruiting trail. He's gotten some experience coaching in the Big Ten, and his years in Gainesville give him some connection to Florida's wide base of high school talent.

Durkin replaces interim head coach Mike Locksley, who took over at Maryland upon Randy Edsall's firing in October. Locksley could be a candidate to remain on Durkin's staf.

One program donor familiar with athletic director Kevin Anderson's thinking said Maryland was drawn, in particular, to Durkin's youthfulness. He also called Durkin "a hell of a recruiter," as the coach has put together an impressive commitments list in recent years. He's been lauded for his recruiting in the past.

At 37 years old, Durkin will be the youngest head coach in the Big Ten and the 36th head coach in Maryland's history.