His first name means, “The One Who Comes in Peace.” During Virginia’s training camp, Imhotep Shaka Durham has been “The One Who’s Come Out of Nowhere.”
The junior wideout, a walk-on who never even played high school football, has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the preseason practice period. His speed, hands and leaping ability may earn him a scholarship and playing time this season.
“That would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it? Going from not playing in high school to playing in what’s now the best conference in college football,” Durham said, smiling. “It would mean a lot, but that’s what I’m working toward.”
Football is just one of Durham’s many interests and talents. Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., he says he was fascinated by architecture and archeology, partly because his mother gave him the name of a historic Egyptian priest, architect and physican. Now he’s more into science and law. A computer science major in UVa’s engineering school, he recently took the LSAT – scoring in the 90th percentile, he said – and plans on applying to law schools in New York and Washington, D.C.
“Tep is a well-rounded dude,” said defensive end Kwakou Robinson, who also grew up in Brooklyn.
Robinson never played against Durham in high school for a good reason – Durham’s school, the Bronx Academy of Science, didn’t field a football team. Instead, the magnet school boasts of its world-renowned debate team and claims to have produced more Nobel Laureates than any other high school.
Durham played basketball for three years and, as a senior, signed up for a team in a private football league made up of athletes who weren’t eligible for their high school teams or, in Durham’s case, whose schools didn’t have football. Along with his other interests, Durham says he has always loved the sport.
“I’d play football with my friends all day. We’d play tackle outside and my...
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