Would Stud Freshman LB Taurean York Follow DJ Durkin Via the Portal?
With the news breaking yesterday that DJ Durkin, the former DC for Texas A&M football, would be joining Hugh Freeze at Auburn, reactions have been pouring in from both sides from that point up until now. The reception has been mixed on the Auburn side, and Aggie fans haven’t exactly been shaking in their boots at the news.
In the age of the transfer portal and NIL, however, there is an ever-evolving list of factors fans must take into account in situations like this. One of these factors now is that players with a particularly close relationship with a coach that has departed—whether a head coach, position coach, or even a support staffer—now has the opportunity, via the portal, to follow that coach to the new locale.
When it comes to Durkin and the Texas A&M football roster, this doesn’t immediately appear to be a concern. The former DC for the Aggies, while a plus recruiter in general, was not one of the staffers who carried a reputation as a rainmaker on the trail.
The only concern that the Maroon and White faithful could reasonably hold has to do with the position group that Durkin oversaw in his final season at A&M. One of the oft-discussed points when comparing last year’s defense to the 2022 unit was the marked improvement of the linebacker play after Durkin took over, with especial attention given to the now-NFL-bound Edgerrin Cooper’s emergence, as well as the explosion onto the scene of freshman All-American Taurean York.
York was a late add to the 2023 class. A three-star flip from the in-state Baylor Bears, York’s workmanlike attitude, humble demeanor, and intelligent play quickly made him a fan favorite among Aggies. Despite his lower ranking, the outlook for his future is as bright as any player on the entire defense.
Given the renaissance the position group experienced under Durkin, though, is it reasonable to think that York may be a flight risk in the spring portal window? As of right now, I’m not particularly concerned. 21 strikes me as a guy who, absent some particular off-field hardship, is going to finish what he started in College Station. His attitude, from what fans have seen, is a refreshing one in that respect: a commitment to the institution and the team rather than an individual coach.
As we approach the 2024 season, York figures to play a huge part in the Aggie defense. He will be a cornerstone of the unit for years to come, and the love for him in Aggieland will only grow.