Auburn football accused of becoming 'Second Chance U' with DJ Durkin hiring: Analyst

Central Florida v Maryland
Central Florida v Maryland / G Fiume/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit's Michael Casagrande accused Auburn football of becoming "Second Chance U" with the offseason hiring of DJ Durkin as co-defensive coordinator; a hiring which comes over a year after the program hired Hugh Freeze as its head coach.

"Durkin was fired less than three years later following the heatstroke death of player Jordan McNair and the subsequent internal investigation that revealed further cultural issues within the program," Casagrande prefaced before saying, "McNair’s parents appeared on Good Morning America in August 2018 where his father, Martin McNair, said Durkin 'shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid.'

"Less than six years later, Durkin’s on his third full-time job. With it comes the risk associated with Auburn becoming a Second Chance U."

In 2018, ESPN's Adam Rittenberg and Tom VanHaaren reported the allegations against Durkin during his time as Maryland's head coach.

" reports allegations of a toxic coaching culture under Durkin and Court," the pair prefaced before saying, "Multiple sources close to the program describe past behavior of intimidation, humiliation and verbal abuse that created a culture of fear for the players. The sources also reveal allegations of unhealthy eating habits and using food punitively against the players."

Local media continues to bash Hugh Freeze's Auburn football program

What Casagrande wrote about Durkin doesn't even begin to tell the story of the smears has thrown at the Freeze regime. Shortly after his hiring was announced in November 2022, the publication posted an inflammatory cartoon depicting the head coach as a predator.

It's one thing to criticize a program, it's another to accuse someone of one of the most serious crimes that exists. has proven there's no depths it won't sink to when it comes to Freeze and anyone on his coaching staff.

Did Durkin and Freeze both make serious mistakes worthy of criticism? Yes. And Casagrande didn't go nearly as low as the publication did with its aforementioned cartoon.

But it's a puzzling trend to have such a biased media outlet that's supposed to be anything but. Actually, scratch that. Puzzling would suggest we don't know why they did it.

Engagement from the Auburn family is exactly why.