MCGILL: Weight Room Wonder Durant Happy with Herd Debut
The Word on the Herd -- Sept. 13, 2016
By Chuck McGill
The 6-foot-2, 232-pound junior from Greenwood, South Carolina, wowed in the Thundering Herd’s weight room this summer. Senior offensive lineman Michael Selby said Durant “is definitely a freak.” MU strength and conditioning coach Luke Day said Durant’s “numbers are ridiculous.”
But, Saturday’s season opener against Morgan State was Durant’s Marshall debut, and the first opportunity for Holliday and others to see how quickly the measurables would translate to the field after a lengthy layoff.
The transfer sat out the 2015 season after two seasons at Butler County Community College in Kansas, where he was regarded as a 5-star recruit and one of the top JUCO players in the country.
All Durant did in his Herd debut was lead the team in tackles with seven. He added two quarterback hurries after relieving starter Chase Hancock at middle linebacker.
“I felt like a little kid,” Durant said. “I was happy to be out there again. Blessed.”
Durant posted eye-popping numbers in the weight room in the offseason. Among tight ends, linebackers and fullbacks, Durant posted one of the five best numbers in program history in six different categories: bench press, power clean, pro bench press, squat, vertical jump and broad jump.
His 505-pound bench press is tops among tight ends, linebackers and fullbacks in Herd history, breaking a 15-year-old record held by Chris Massey (500 pounds). The mark is actually tied for the second-best bench press, regardless of position, and he is in the company of bigger linemen (offensive lineman Nate Devers set the record at 525; defensive end Gary Thompson equaled Durant’s 505).
Durant came within five pounds of equaling Jermaine Holmes’ power clean record of 370. Durant also posted a 39-inch vertical. Only six Marshall football players have posted a better vertical number, and you’ll notice most are skill position players, not a 232-pound linebacker. The list: Randy Moss, Ashton Hall, Doug Chapman, D.J. Hunter, Dennis Thornton and Davonte Allen.
In addition, Durant had a 630-pound squat, hoisted 36 bench press reps at 225 pounds and posted a 10-feet, 3-inch broad jump.
“Any linebacker who weighs 240, benches 500 and squats 600 is a freak,” Selby said. “He’s overall just a great guy too.”
Durant said he spent the offseason fine-tuning his body for his final two seasons in college. He added 65 pounds to his bench press and four inches to his vertical in a four-month span, for example.
“His numbers are all-world everywhere,” Day said. “He’s freaky fast, explosive and strong in every category.”
That is a product of dedication.
“I’m just bought in – eat right and get enough sleep,” Durant said. “When I came here I knew I was going to take some time off so I wanted to make sure I was bigger, faster and stronger when my time came up.”
Coaches laud Durant for spending time in the training room and focusing on stretching.
“I take care of my body,” Durant said. “Treat it like a box of diamonds. I try to get there in the morning and stay in the evening, do anything to make me a better player.”
He understands, too, that there are lofty expectations for a player touted so highly by recruiting services.
“You can’t be the best in the country if you don’t hold yourself to a standard,” Durant said. “I want to go out there every day and compete with the people around me. People here make me better, so I want to try and make the guys around me better.”