As an athletic kid growing up, Durell Nchami was always playing sports and knew he wanted to be a part of a team. However, he was never able to play organized sports since he had no way to make it to practice because his mother worked.
Nchami was finally able to be a part of a team in eighth grade, but really took off as a player in high school since he could walk to and from practice. Through hard work, Nchami went from a skinny, raw athlete to a high school star as a commit to his hometown school, the University of Maryland.
The 3-star linebacker from Paint Branch committed to the University of Maryland in March. Nchami had eight scholarship offers, including one from the Terps. Other schools that offered scholarships were Rutgers, Temple, Pitt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion and Syracuse.
Nchami is ranked as the tenth best prospect in Maryland and 27th ranked outside linebacker overall.
Despite being a highly coveted recruit, Nchami was very modest throughout the process according to teammate David Turnbo Jr.
“He knew other people would constantly bring up and talk about their offers in a rude way so he was very humble and didn’t talk about it unless someone asked him about them,” said Turnbo.
Nchami’s first contact with recruiters was when he was 16 years old when he and assistant coach Myron Flowers met with University of Maryland coaches.
“He wanted to introduce me to the campus and show me how everything worked,” said Nchami.
It was a huge moment for Nchami, who, throughout the process, envisioned himself as a Terrapin the whole way.
“I was just like, everything was going by so fast, I’m so blessed,” said Nchami, “Maryland was circled down from the beginning, from day one.”
Staying close to home was an exciting moment for his mother Prudence Mancho.
“I’ve never seen [my mom] so happy,” said Nchami.
Mancho has helped Nchami throughout the recruiting process by taking him to camps as far as New Jersey to improve and meet recruiters.
“If I wanted to go to a football camp in New Jersey she would take me there,” said Nchami, “She is the best.”
Nchami put himself on college scout’s radar his sophomore year. He became a starter on varsity after he put on 25-30 pounds of muscle during the previous offseason. Nchami kept working in the weight room and continuing to learn the game.
“His junior year is when he realized the kind of player he could be and that’s when he started to lead the defense and eventually the team,” said Turnbo.
Nchami tries to lead by example and as a vocal leader. He is constantly urging his fellow outside linebackers to put in extra work with him.
“I’ve told them stronger and on Saturdays when we watch film I tell them to lift weights with me,” said Nchami.
Nchami’s Paint Branch career came to an end Friday night when Paint Branch lost 33-20 to Howard High School in the 4A North regional final. However, he is ready for his next challenge as he is set to graduate in December to enroll at Maryland early.
Nchami believes that the habits and skills he learned at Paint Branch will continue to help him grow at the collegiate level despite his late start playing football.
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