Durden Rejuvenates Montour

Julian Durden

Hardcore WPIAL fans knew who Julian Durden was when he was playing at North Catholic, but not many others knew about the compact running back. Durden has transferred to Montour and now he is a household name.

Montour (Pa.) junior running back Julian Durden has seen a rise in stardom since his transfer from North Catholic. It doesn't hurt when your new team is (9-0) and the No. 1 seed in the WPIAL Class AAA playoffs and you are a big reason for the success. Despite, the fact that Durden has moved up in competition he really hasn't noticed a big change on the field.

"There is a big change off the field," Durden explained. "When I was at North Catholic nobody knew me or what I did. Now everyone knows and I get a lot of interviews from the media. I'm getting noticed even when I go to the mall and stuff. The biggest difference is that our team is very good, so there is a lot of competition just to get on the field. The game is a little faster and the linemen are a little bit bigger, but I don't notice a real big difference in the game."

As a sophomore, Durden ran for more than 900-yards and 15 touchdowns at North Catholic. This year, Durden has almost doubled his yardage totals from a year ago. Heading into the playoffs he is right around 1600-yards and 24 touchdowns. Despite the lofty statistics schools aren't beating down the door for the 5-foot-8, 170-pound back. Durden isn't worried, as he knows there is a place in the game for scatbacks.

"I love watching all types of running backs big and small," Durden said. "I try to find different things they do, so I can improve my play. I like watching small backs like Dion Lewis and Darren Sproles. Seeing guys like that shows me that there is a place for me and I can do it if I work at it. You watch a lot of college football or the NFL and everyone has a scatback type player now."

Durden has caught the attention of Penn State, Pittsburgh and Northwestern. Durden has visited Pittsburgh and Penn State this season.

"I went to the Pitt games when they played Miami and when they played Louisville," Durden said. "I liked the atmosphere there and how they present the players in pre-game. The fans weren't as wild as they were at Penn State, it was a little more laid back, but I liked it. I spent a lot of time watching the running backs. Pitt is loaded with good running backs that are NFL type guys. I met with running back coach David Walker a little bit.

"I camped at Pitt and Coach Walker taught me a lot," Durden continued. "I really liked watching those guys in live game action. Academics are very important to me and Pitt really stresses that."

Durden ventured to Happy Valley earlier in the season to see the Nittany Lions.

"They played a smaller school and to be honest I don't remember who it was," explained Durden. "There were so many fans and the place was so loud. The fans cheered for everything even when they got first downs. I really like their uniforms, they are so simple, but they are hard.

"Academics are also very important at Penn State and I like that," Durden continued. "The campus is huge. It is very spread out and there are so many people there. It was a good trip."

As you can tell academics are very important factor in any decision that Durden will make. Montour and Durden will face West Mifflin this Friday in the first round of the WPIAL playoffs.

"Academics are first and foremost for me," stated Durden. "If I get hurt or even if I do make it, you can only play so long. I'll eventually have to get a job and an education is important."

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