With his college list down to James Madison and William & Mary, Oakton’s Chris Durant hoped official visits to both schools during the next month would help him gather his thoughts. Turns out, the senior offensive lineman didn’t need to step on either campus, thanks to an e-mail he received on the way to William & Mary on Dec. 7

“Coach [Chris] Malone, who was JMU’s offensive line coach and the main one recruiting me, e-mailed me and said he had been relieved of his duties,” Durant said. “Once I heard that I knew I was going to commit to William & Mary during my visit that weekend.”

Durant made his oral commitment to the Tribe’s coaches as his official visit came to a close Dec. 9, choosing the Football Championship Series program over offers from the likes of Yale, Ohio, Fordham and Old Dominion.

“First off, the academics are great at William & Mary, so I know I’m going to get a real good education,” Durant said. “Historically, they’ve had a really good football team, so even though the last two seasons haven’t been great for them, it seems like they are moving in the right direction.”

Durant’s decision serves as another high note during a senior campaign that began with the 6-foot-4, 260-pounder shifting from right guard to left tackle. The transition proved seamless, as Durant allowed just one sack, earned first-team All-Met honors and helped the Cougars win the Virginia AAA Division 6 Northern Region title.

The Tribe’s coaches have told Durant that he will likely redshirt his freshman season before getting a chance to compete for time at multiple positions along the offensive line. And once Durant does take the field, Oakton Coach Jason Rowley expects continued success from his all-region lineman.

“He’s a player with a ton of upside,” Rowley said. “His measurables are exactly what you would want out of a Division I athlete, and with him just turning 17, he’s still young and has room to get bigger and stronger. We gained well over 3,000 rushing yards as a team this season and that’s a credit to Chris, the work he’s put in and his strong set of skills.”

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