Durkin was attractive to Maryland, a source said, because of his fire and passion, recruiting prowess and lineage to Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh.
Durkin's offensive plans would likely fit along the lines of Ohio State's spread-power attack, as Maryland leadership had made it clear offensive improvement was paramount.
"We began this search looking for a candidate with qualities that aligned with our vision for the football program, and throughout the process it became clear D.J. was the perfect fit," athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement.
"He has had success at some of the nation's most pre-eminent football programs, is recognized as one of the top recruiters in the country and is widely respected as one the top young coaches across the college football landscape."
Maryland fired Randy Edsall on Oct. 11 after a 2-4 start to the season, and the Terps showed little improvement under interim coach Mike Locksley, the offensive coordinator, as they finished at 3-9.
Prior to holding the Michigan job, the 37-year-old Durkin was with the Florida Gators. He was defensive coordinator/linebackers from 2013 to 2014, and the linebackers/special teams coordinator from 2010 to 2012.
Durkin's first job was as a graduate assistant under Meyer at Bowling Green, where he played.