"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Way back before Michigan filled half of their 2013 class—aka last week—the Wolverines offered Belton (TX) TE Durham Smythe. We'll see if Michigan decides they want to take a third tight end in the class at this point, but if they do, they'll give a hard look at the 6'6", 230-pound Texan, who currently holds offers from Baylor, Florida, Ole Miss, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. I caught up with Durham shortly after he received his offer to talk about his recruitment:
ACE: How's everything going with your recruitment, and what schools do you hold offers from right now?
DURHAM: It's been getting pretty busy lately over the last two weeks. As of right now I have offers from Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas, TCU, Ole Miss, Michigan, Stanford, and I'm possibly leaving out one or two, but those are the ones as of recently.
ACE: With those coming in all pretty recently, have you been able to figure out a list of leaders or is it too soon to say?
DURHAM: It's still pretty early, so it's a little bit too soon to say, but I'm going to try to distinguish them coming in the next couple of weeks. I'm taking a trip to A&M this weekend and two weeks from now I'll visit Stanford, on March 1st and 2nd. After those visits I'll try to evaluate everything, try to get a top list, ranking, and just see if I need to take any further visits.
ACE: You mentioned getting the Michigan offer recently. Who has been in contact with you from Michigan and what was your reaction to getting the offer?
DURHAM: Actually pretty much every coach on the offensive side of the ball talked to me this morning. I haven't been in too heavy contact with them recently. My head coach just talked to them a little bit and they called this morning; I talked to them for about 30 minutes on the phone, got a little bit of a rundown and everything of the program, what they want to do the next couple years, and got the offer, so it was a good phone call.
ACE: What's your impression of Michigan as a school? Is that a place you'd be interested in visiting and what do you know about them?
DURHAM: It definitely is. It's a great school and has a great surrounding area. Obviously it's a great program, it's the most winning program in college football history, so that's huge. The Big House, 115,000 people, so it's big-time football, it's everything you could really ask for. Just because of those thing it's definitely worth a look.
ACE: Going back to your junior season, how do you think you performed and what kind of numbers did you put up?
DURHAM: We run kind of a spread and also pro-style offense at the same time, we run a little bit of both. It was good. As a team we probably could have done a little bit better, go deeper into the playoffs, but individually I was pretty happy with my performance on the year. I think I had close to 30 catches for about 400 yards and four touchdowns.
ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say are the biggest strengths of your game and what are you working on to improve your game for your senior year and on to the next level?
DURHAM: My strengths, I would say, probably versatility, being able to do different things, being able to flex out, play the H-back position, play the regular tight end position, and being able to catch the ball. On weaknesses, something I'm trying to work on is I'm trying to put on weight in the offseason; that will help me with strength and blocking, so that's something I'm trying to work on.
ACE: You mentioned a couple of visit plans. Do you have any plans in terms of going to any camps over the offseason?
DURHAM: Not yet. What I'm going to try to do is after these two visits is sit down, see what I need to do in terms of camps and other visits, and I'll go from there.
ACE: You made it up to Texas's junior day. What was it like being at the junior day at Texas and also getting an offer from them?
DURHAM: It was really cool. I got to meet a bunch of great recruits down there. Obviously, the facilities and academic side of the school are fantastic, so that was good to see first-hand. Also, I really enjoyed being able to meet some of the players. Actually, Texas's starting quarterback, David Ash, came from our high school and we're pretty good friends, so I got to talk to him a little bit. It was a good overall visit.
ACE: Once you're done taking visits and it's time to evaluate schools, what are going to be the main factors that you're going to be looking at when it comes time to make a decision?
DURHAM: Obviously seeing how they use a tight end in their offense, see how much they're using that. Hopefully I'll be able to take an extra visit to these schools once I narrow it down to be able to get a view for the total atmosphere, and I'll go from there.
ACE: You mentioned playing in a spread and pro-style offense. Is there a particular style that you prefer?
DURHAM: Not anything specific. Really either one works for me, since I feel like I can fit into either. I don't really prefer one that's an actual listing, really, it's just how they use the tight end in the offense. If it's a spread, how they're using the tight end, if it's a pro-style, how are they using the tight end, that's what I really look at.
ACE: Going away from the football field, what's something about you, whether it's a hobby or just something about you, that you think people would like to know about you?
DURHAM: Football is everything I guess, off the field is just playing video games, football everything. Other than that, there's actually a lake in our hometown that's kind of a hotspot, so I spend as much time as possible there when I'm not involved in football.
ACE: Is that like a swimming hole kind of spot, or fishing, taking boats...
DURHAM: It's all of that put together. It's pretty nice.