Chandler Durham is still relatively new to the recruiting process. He began the 2019 calendar year as a high school junior with no scholarship offers.
Then Kent State offered in January. It was the first in a deluge for the 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive lineman from McDonough (Ga.) Ola High School, who now counts 21 offers on his list. In the group-think mentality recruiting can become, Durham watched school after school change its mind about him.
Amid the opportunities — most from Group of Five programs — is a Power Five outlier. Nebraska.
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Coaches began following him on Twitter out of the blue. Offensive line coach Greg Austin visited his school in May and extended an offer. They talk weekly, and NU hosted the lineman for his first official visit during Ohio State weekend.
“Nebraska’s really been the only school keeping in touch with me, like really being in touch with me,” Durham said. “So it’s really just them.”
Experiencing NU was eye opening, Durham said. He expected it to look like the country drive between Omaha to Lincoln, not the vibrant city he saw when he arrived. His player hosts, defensive lineman Mosai Newsom and defensive back Myles Farmer, had a simple message for him: What you see is what you get.
Durham said he’ll likely make a decision after the season. Even if he wanted to commit to Nebraska today, he said, he can’t yet. Husker coaches want his mom on campus to get her blessing first — she was on a preplanned cruise while Durham and his godmother were officially visiting.
Nebraska has a pair of offensive tackles committed to its 2020 class in Kansans Turner Corcoran and Alex Conn. The Huskers project Durham as a guard, with his highlight video showcasing an ability to pull quickly and find players to block at the next level of a defense.
“I guess I move faster than other O-linemen and I have a ‘twitch’ to me,” Durham said. “I’m very aggressive, and they like that. When you’re fast off the ball, you don’t let the D-end squeeze you down into the line. I take pride in that, being fast off the ball.”
Most recruiting services list Durham as a three-star prospect, though he remains unrated by Rivals. None of it matters to the lineman who has schools like USC and Georgia Tech talking with him but not offering.
He’ll go anywhere for football, he said. But one school is at the front of his mind.
“I don’t really care about being far away from home,” Durham said. “That’s why Nebraska is even in the question.”