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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Patience paying off

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Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

Junior defensive end, Landis Durnham, had two sacks in last weeks win against Arkansas. 

In contemporary society it seems like everyone is seeking instant gratification, making patience a virtue, especially among college athletes. However, junior defensive end Landis Durham has demonstrated this virtue and has recently garnered the fruits of his labor. The defensive lineman played 50-55 snaps last Saturday against Arkansas, posting two sacks and five total tackles.
His strong play last Saturday puts him at 14 total tackles and 3.5 sacks on the year, already surpassing his statistics from his freshman and sophomore season combined.
“I’m enjoying this ride, I’m making sure I make the most of this opportunity, I go out there and play hard, play physical and I’m making sure I do my job,” Durham said.
Durham’s junior year success comes after a roller coaster start to his football career that began at Plano East High School primarily as a defensive end, along with seeing some snaps at linebacker and running back. Durham experienced immense achievement during his junior year of high school, contributing 91 tackles with two interceptions and two sacks. This accomplishment catalyzed his recruitment and earned him offers from Texas A&M, Baylor, Mississippi State and TCU, among others. Following his junior season, Durham committed to A&M.
“I knew it was a great school from the get-go and it has such strong traditions,” Durham said. “The defense was solid and I wanted to be a part of something that was defensive-centered. Before I came here, [Texas A&M] picked up [defensive coordinator] John Chavis so that was huge and made the decision much easier for me.”
After verbally committing to Texas A&M, Durham finished off his high school career with a monstrous senior campaign, amassing 42 tackles, 32 quarterback pressures and two sacks. Following the season, Durham was named the Collin County Utility Player of the Year by the Plano Courier.
Durham came to A&M in 2015 and made an impact right away as a linebacker, playing in five games and contributing three tackles. However, after his freshman season, Durham transitioned back to the defensive end position, which he had not played since Plano East.
“I played defensive end in high school, and coming back to it last season, it was actually pretty hard learning a whole bunch of new technique and new moves,” Durham said. “Coach Price did a great job of coaching me up. We spent time after practice and before practice learning new techniques.”
The change to the new position had him buried at the bottom of the depth chart behind big names such as Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall, who are now both in the NFL.
Despite not getting to see much game time, Durham was able to be a student and learn from those two guys, which eased his transition back to defensive end.
“Both of them of Garrett and Hall helped me out big time,” Durham said “Coming back to defensive end felt really weird at first, but they helped me out with a bunch of techniques, pass rush moves and leverage, and I really feel like I learned a lot from them.”
Durham saw action in just four games his sophomore season. The lack of success would have had most college athletes looking to transfer, however, Durham knew that Texas A&M was the place he wanted to be—even if it meant not playing football at some point.
“There are definitely hard times at a school like this but, I wasn’t going to turn down this education,” Durham said. “I consider myself really patient, so either way it turned out, football or no football, I knew I was going to be alright.”
Durham ultimately stuck with football and had what he felt was a very good summer.
“I feel like I prepared myself really well during the summer in workouts, and made the most out of my opportunity,” Durham said.
Despite his preparation, Durham still started the season third on the depth chart, but took major strides in the team’s first game against Nicholls State.
“After game one, I got in there, I wanted to make sure I played fast,” Durham said. “Coach Price told me I took some steps in the right direction and to make sure to keep on going that way.”
That game turned out to be a turning point for Durham who has found success this year, accumulating 3.5 sacks and nine tackles, earning more and more snaps as the season progresses. Durham has also caught the eye of A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, who named him the defensive player of the game against Arkansas.
“Right now, he’s the most improved player on this football team,” Sumlin said. “He’s a developmental guy who’s gotten his shot, and has been very, very productive. He’s really worked himself into a fine football player.”
Durham appreciates the praise but said he’s just a piece of the puzzle on this team.
“I’m not looking at myself too much from an individual standpoint but for me I just want to continue to do my job, find my place on the team and contribute to the success that we’re having,” Durham said.
Durham will look to continue his progress at getting to the quarterback on Saturday against South Carolina’s offensive line, which allowed the most sacks in the SEC last season. A&M is set to host the Gamecocks on Sept. 30, at Kyle Field. Kick off is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network.

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