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Caden Durham cementing Duncanville legacy before joining LSU
Caden Durham ran for 1,571 yards and 27 touchdowns during the 2023 regular season at Duncanville. (Courtesy: Duncanville High School)

Caden Durham cementing Duncanville legacy before joining LSU

DUNCANVILLE, Texas (BVM) – Caden Durham was inspired by his dad and brothers to start playing football at 5 years old. Several years later, he has become one of the most exciting high school football players in the state of Texas and one of the top running backs in the entire country.

At his current pace, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the talented running back earn a shot in the NFL someday. If he does, it’s all about giving back to his family who helped him get his start in the sport, particularly his mom who has worked so hard for Durham to get to this level.

“It’s a big goal for me,” Durham said. “I don’t want my mom to work anymore. She’s been working her whole life, two jobs, three jobs. I know how hard she has worked and the work she put in, so I’ll put the work in for her.”

Durham has long been putting in the work to get to an elite level. Each time he takes the field, he showcases tremendous speed, balance and vision, similar to one of the Hall of Fame rushers he looks up to: Barry Sanders.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back was one of the best athletes on the field during his freshman year of high school football while playing at Southmoore in Oklahoma. However, it wasn’t until he moved to Duncanville and began playing high school football in Texas that he recognized his elite talent.

“I would say it took me a minute to actually realize that I really had that type of speed,” Durham said. “I would say it took me until mid, late sophomore year.”

Part of that speed comes thanks to Durham’s time competing in track and field. Following in the footsteps of his mom, who was a track and field athlete at Oklahoma, Durham has become a state champion at Duncanville High School and will look to continue the sport at the college level.

“Track means a lot to me,” Durham said. “I started track when I was 5 … It played a big part in my role in football, knowing that if I hit a hole I’ll be able to beat anybody else.”

Durham’s speed has had him blowing by defenders for the last three years at Duncanville. As a sophomore, he had to make an adjustment to a new level of football in the Lone Star State, but it resulted in 649 yards and seven touchdowns as Durham averaged over nine yards per carry.

“I learned a lot,” Durham said. “I took that and carried it on to my junior year. It carried me through.”

Caden Durham Duncanville High School Panthers football Texas UIL state championship LSU Tigers
Caden Durham helped lead the Panthers to a state championship in his junior season as he racked up 1,960 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns. (Courtesy: Duncanville High School)

Even with the strong start to his career with the Panthers, the four-star running back wasn’t sure how his junior season would pan out, particularly with Duncanville losing several key players from its 2021 roster. 

“It was very different because at the start of the year I was nervous,” Durham said. “I didn’t know how the team was going to be because we had lost so many people the past year.  So I was coming in there nervous but my coach told me, ‘You’re different. You just have to trust yourself.’”

Durham did just that throughout the 2022 season, proving he was one of the best running backs in the state as he amassed 1,960 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns, again averaging over nine yards per carry.

The success the running back had helped Duncanville to a perfect 15-0 record and a win in the UIL Class 6A Division I state championship game – the program’s first since 1998 – creating a feeling unlike any other for Durham. In the contest, he was impressive yet again, rushing for over 100 yards and three scores.

“It was very different because I had never won a state championship in football,” Durham said. “When the clock hit zero and it registered in my head that we had actually won, there were no words to describe how I felt.”

Caden Durham Duncanville High School Panthers football Texas UIL state championship LSU Tigers
Caden Durham hopes to end his impressive Duncanville football career as a back-to-back state champion. (Courtesy: Duncanville High School)

Some might tend to get complacent coming off of a state championship season with the numbers Durham had, but he is the exact opposite. Throughout the summer, the star running back had one thing on his mind.

“My goals were to just win state,” Durham said. “Might as well do something that hasn’t been done and win it twice, back to back.”

Despite a loss earlier in the season to DeSoto, Duncanville has put itself in position to win a state championship once again and will face off against North Crowley in the state semifinals. 

“I’d say the game is going real good right now,” Durham said. “We bounced back from our loss.”

Durham ran for 1,571 yards and 27 touchdowns across 10 regular season games in 2023. He has been on a tear throughout the playoffs, rushing for 220 yards and five scores in a second-round win over Rockwall-Heath, racking up nearly 300 yards in a regional contest against The Woodlands, and scoring four first-half touchdowns in the Panthers’ most recent postseason win over Westfield.

While being a two-time state champion is a nice thing to have on the resume, Durham’s biggest reasons for a pursuit of a second state title are his coaches and teammates.

“It means a lot to me,” Durham said. “As a team leader, I don’t want to let my teammates down, knowing it’s my last year here. I want them to have the best of me in my last year.”

The senior running back who is rated as the No. 113 prospect nationally in the Class of 2024 by 247Sports’ composite rankings will soon take that mindset to the collegiate level. Down to a final three of LSU, Oklahoma and Texas A&M during a busy recruiting process, Durham chose the Tigers as he got the same feeling in Baton Rouge that he has at Duncanville.

“The recruiting process was a lot,” Durham said. “It came down to LSU because, just the way the coaches are, the players play, how they talk to each other, it reminded me a lot of Duncanville. I wanted to go to a place that would remind me of home.”

Caden Durham Duncanville High School Panthers football Texas UIL state championship LSU Tigers
Caden Durham chose LSU over Oklahoma, Texas A&M and a host of other Division I college offers. (Courtesy: @thecadendurham/Instagram

While he has a bright future ahead in the SEC, Durham remains solely focused on the task at hand: winning another state championship at Duncanville. Once that is done, the star running back will finally begin letting himself think about the prestige of being a running back in the SEC, and how his time in Baton Rouge could prepare him for his ultimate goal of reaching the pros.

“I’m very excited,” Durham said. “I know that they’re going to push me to show that I’m not just good at the high school level, I’m good at the top level.”