Durant stood no more than 5-foot-2 and 115 pounds, but spoke with the confidence of a defensive back one foot taller and 100 pounds heavier.
"Just a really small guy. He came up to me (and said), 'I'm gonna be starting, coach,'" former Lamar (South Carolina) High head coach Corey Fountain told theRams.com. "I'm starting wide receiver, I'm going to be starting DB coach, and I'm going to be the hardest worker out there.' He didn't lie.
"He was one of the hardest-working little kids that I remember."
While Durant's physical maturation did not reach 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he eventually did develop into a 5-8, 160-pound, well-rounded athlete.
At Lamar, Durant also played baseball and basketball, and even began competing in track, according to Pro Football Network. In football, he wasn't just a defensive back. He started his preps career at running back but also played quarterback and wide receiver – in addition to safety and cornerback, of course.
Fountain said Durant understood it was a process. Durant was a great teammate who always encouraged others and was always one of the hardest workers.
The most prominent example of that selflessness and work ethic displayed itself during Durant's senior year.
Fountain didn't have a player he could trust to play quarterback, and Durant had only been a wide receiver and a defensive back. Durant was hesitant at first.
"Coach, I can't play quarterback," Durant told Fountain.
"Yes, you can," Fountain replied. "You'll be fine. Just lead the team and just do everything I ask you to do, and we'll be fine.'"
Durant agree to play the position and went on to lead Lamar to its first state championship since 2004 – also Fountain's first state title as a head coach. In that Class A Division II state championship game, Durant had a one-yard touchdown run, a 15-yard touchdown pass and helped the Silver Foxes amass nearly 400 yards of total offense in their 28-0 shutout win over the C.E. Murray War Eagles. Overall, Durant threw for 621 yards, rushed for another 603, made 50 tackles and grabbed four interceptions to earn All-State honors that year.
Yet, that didn't translate to any scholarship offers since Durant was still small in stature. He told Pro Football Network in March that he also didn't have the ACT scores to qualify.
"Sometimes it's just frustrating, just being a high school coach, with the college recruiting process and the metrics that go along with it," Fountain said. "If you're not a certain height, your arms aren't this length and you don't run a certain time in the 40, then you don't get a shot. I knew if he just kept working, he'd make a way."
"It was kind of tough, but I fought through it," Durant told theRams.com in May. "I knew I was a good athlete, but I had always seen the big picture, just staying humble and just realizing what I could put forth to come into a team."
For Durant, that meant going to prep school.