The Duke Blue Devils sign 27 players to letters of intent

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe and his staff announced on Wednesday that 27 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the Blue Devil gridiron program.
The class includes one quarterback, 10 linemen and 16 backs. A total of nine states are represented in the group as Duke signed a class-high eight student-athletes from North Carolina, including a ninth — Bahamas native August Campbell — who attends Christ School in Asheville. The group includes five student-athletes from Florida and South Carolina and four from Georgia. States with one player each are California, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.
Back Desmond Scott, a SuperPrep All-America pick, and Hillside High School teammate Corey Gattis, a Shrine Bowl participant, are a pair of Durham natives joining the program. Scott rushed for 2,249 yards as a senior while Gattis was the Area Offensive Player of the Year pick from the Durham Herald-Sun after accounting for over 3,300 yards and 24 touchdowns. The tandem led the Hornets to a 12-2-1 record and an appearance in the state playoff semifinals.
Other North Carolina natives include linemen Joey Finison (Greensboro), Justin Foxx (Charlotte) and Perry Simmons (Raleigh) along with backs Ross Cockrell (Waxhaw), Zach Greene (Raleigh) and Kevin Rojas (Raleigh). Finison helped Ragsdale High School to a 13-1 ledger in 2008 while Foxx posted 85 tackles and 17 sacks for Victory Christian as a senior. Simmons was an all-state pick at Sanderson High School and played in the 72nd annual Shrine Bowl.
Cockrell guided Latin High School to 24 wins over his final two seasons while Greene helped Leesville Road to 35 victories over his three campaigns. Rojas was a two-time all-conference pick at Wakefield High School and Campbell amassed 237 tackles with seven interceptions in his three seasons at Christ School.
Backs Austin Gamble, Tyree Glover and Conner Vernon and linemen Ryan Hall and Dave Harding enjoyed success in the prep ranks in the state of Florida. Glover recorded a school single-season record 154 tackles in his final campaign while Gamble is listed as the 35th-best inside linebacker in the country by ESPN.com. An all-state wide receiver, Vernon led the Miami area in receiving yards after a 60-reception, 1,163-yard senior campaign. Hall is charted as the 37th-best tight end in the nation by Rivals.com while Harding, the 33rd-top offensive guard in the country according to Rivals.com, played in the Under Armour All-American Game last month.
Two sets of prep teammates highlight the five members of the class from South Carolina. Linemen John Coleman and Sydney Sarmiento hail from West Florence High School and both played in the state’s annual North-South All-Star Game. Backs Walt Canty and Taylor Sowell, who helped Dorman to a 13-1 ledger in 2008, join the class as does back Lex Butler, an Anderson, S.C., native and the younger brother of current Blue Devil cornerback Lee Butler.
Georgia is represented by linemen John Drew, Jack Farrell and Brandon Putnam along with back Kyle Griswould. Drew is listed as the 20th-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com while Farrell had 37 receptions for 582 yards over his final two seasons. Putnam posted 54 tackles as Sandy Creek High School went 11-1 in 2008 and Griswould rushed for over 3,500 in his career at Shaw High School. All four Peach State signees were named to the Georgia 150 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Back Garrett Patterson signed with the Blue Devils out of Monacan (Va.) High School after posting 81 tackles to earn all-state honors as a senior. Sean Schroeder, a left-handed quarterback from Dana Hills (Calif.) High School, completed 175-of-267 passes for 2,826 yards with 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a senior.
New Jersey native Tyree Watkins is listed as the 64th-best wide receiver in the nation by Rivals.com and was an All-Northeast Region selection by SuperPrep in 2008. Fellow back Anthony Young-Wiseman earned all-state honors in Maryland following his senior season at Walt Whitman High School.
Greene, Hall, Rojas and Sarmiento all enrolled at Duke last month.
Lex Butler

Back • 5-10, 175

Anderson, S.C. • Westside

• Three-year letterman at Westside under Ted Luckadoo

• Listed as the 68th-top cornerback in the nation by ESPN.com

• Missed entire senior season due to injury

• Despite not playing in 2008, received All-Mid Atlantic Region honors from SuperPrep

• As a junior, recorded 80 tackles, 15 pass breakups and one interception as Westside went 10-3 with a state playoff appearance

• Earned all-area honors in junior season

• Helped Westside to 9-4 ledger, region championship and state playoff berth as a sophomore

• Also lettered in track and field

• Son of Lee Butler and Angel Yeldell

• Brother, Lee, is a member of the Duke football program

• Born August 9, 1991

August Campbell

Back • 6-3, 215

Nassau, Bahamas • Christ (N.C.) School

• Three-year letterman at Christ School under Michael Williamson and Jamie Auch

• Three-time all-conference and two-time all-state pick

• Had 91 tackles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions while scoring four defensive touchdowns during senior campaign

• Posted 82 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions as a junior

• Helped Christ School to consecutive state playoff berths in 2007 and 2008

• Posted career totals of 237 tackles, 16 sacks, seven interceptions and seven fumble recoveries while scoring six defensive touchdowns on four interception returns and two fumble returns

• Also lettered in baseball

• Son of Blanch and Edmund Campbell

• Born August 13, 1990

Walt Canty

Back • 6-0, 220

Roebuck, S.C. • Dorman

• Three-year letterman at Dorman under David Gutshall

• Charted as the 26th-top safety in the nation and the 15th-best overall prospect in South Carolina by Rivals.com

• Charted as one of the top 25 overall prospects in South Carolina by the Charlotte Observer

• As a senior, posted 84 tackles and four interceptions while rushing for 501 yards and 16 touchdowns as Dorman went 13-1, was ranked as high as No. 12 in the USA Today national rankings and advanced to the state 4A Division I semifinals

• Named all-state in 2008 by the Associated Press

• Area Defensive Player of the Year pick by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal

• All-Mid Atlantic Region pick by SuperPrep

• Earned defensive MVP honors of the annual Shrine Bowl after posting four tackles including two for loss and helping South Carolina hold North Carolina to 120 yards of offense in a 24-16 win

• In the Shrine Bowl, rushed four times for 63 yards including a nine-yard touchdown run and returned four punts for 55 yards

• High school teammate of fellow Duke signee Taylor Sowell

• Son of Donna and Walter Canty

• Born October 28, 1990

Ross Cockrell

Back • 6-0, 170

Waxhaw, N.C. • Latin

• Two-year letterman under Larry McNulty at Charlotte Latin

• Charted as the 74th-top cornerback in the nation by Scout.com

• Listed as the 76th-best cornerback in the country by Rivals.com

• In senior season, had 29 receptions for 459 yards and 11 touchdowns while posting 34 tackles and three interceptions as Latin went 9-3 and reached the state championship game

• Helped Latin to a 13-0 record and state title as a junior by catching 41 passes for 806 yards and seven touchdowns and compiling 38 tackles and nine interceptions with four defensive touchdowns

• Scored six defensive touchdowns during prep career

• Two-time all-conference and all-state selection

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field, earning all-conference honors in both sports

• At the NCISAA 3A state championship track and field meet, placed first in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 4×400-meter relay competitions

• Son of Serena and Kieth Cockrell

• Father played football at Columbia University

• Born August 6, 1991

John Coleman

Line • 6-5, 280

Florence, S.C. • West Florence

• Three-year letterman under Trey Woodberry

• Listed as the 64th-best offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com

• Charted by SCVarsity.com as the seventh-best offensive lineman and the 57th-top overall prospect in South Carolina

• Earned All-Pee Dee honors from the Florence Morning News after helping West Florence to a 7-5 mark and state playoff berth

• All-Mid Atlantic Region pick by SuperPrep

• Named a 2008-09 Carolina Panthers Community Captain for excellence in athletics, academics and community service

• Helped the South squad to a 24-14 win in the annual South Carolina North-South All-Star game on December 13, 2008 in Myrtle Beach

• Received all-region honors following junior season

• Also lettered in basketball and weightlifting

• High school teammate of fellow Duke signee Sydney Sarmiento

• Son of Lillian and John Coleman

• Father played football at South Carolina

• Born June 21, 1990

John Drew

Line • 6-1, 315

Midland, Ga. • Northside

• Four-year letterman at Northside under Paul Cates

• Charted as the top defensive tackle in Georgia and the 21st-best defensive tackle in the country by ESPN.com

• Listed as the 211th-best overall prospect and the 20th-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com

• Also charted by Rivals.com as the fifth-top run-stuffer among defensive tackles in the country and the 14th-best overall prospect in Georgia

• Listed as the 40th-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com

• Recorded 72 tackles and seven sacks during senior season

• All-Dixie Region pick by SuperPrep

• Honorable mention AAA all-state pick by the Associated Press and Georgia Sports Writers Association

• Named to the Georgia 150 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• With five tackles, helped the South team to a 17-0 win in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic

• Two-time All-Bi City selection by the Ledger-Enquirer

• Logged 70 tackles and nine sacks as a junior

• Finished career with 223 tackles and 19 sacks

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Son of Chandra and Roderick Drew

• Born July 2, 1991

Jack Farrell

Line • 6-2, 225

Atlanta, Ga. • Holy Innocents’

• Three-year letterman under Ryan Livezey at Holy Innocents’

• Charted as the 76th-top tight end in the country by ESPN.com

• Listed as the 100th-best tight end in the nation by Scout.com

• Named to the Georgia 150 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• As a senior, caught 13 passes for 258 yards while helping Holy Innocents’ to a 9-4 record and state playoff berth

• Served as team captain and earned first team all-area and all-region in 2008

• Had 24 catches for 324 yards during junior season and received Atlanta All-Northside honors

• Helped Holy Innocents’ to three-year record of 20-14 with two state playoff appearances

• Also lettered in baseball and helped Holy Innocents’ to AA state championship in 2007

• Son of John and Susan Farrell

• Father played football at Dickinson College

• Born May 30, 1990

Joey Finison

Line • 6-4, 280

Greensboro, N.C. • Ragsdale

• Three-year letterman at Ragsdale under Tommy Norwood

• Started 36 career games, helping the Tigers to a 27-10 record and three state playoff berths

• Guided Ragsdale to a 13-1 record in 2008

• First team All-Area pick by the Greensboro News & Record as a senior

• Also earned all-conference honors and Ragsdale’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award

• Two-time all-region choice in track and field

• Also lettered the track and field, earning conference crowns in both the discus and shot put

• Son of Joseph and Tisha Finison

• Born June 11, 1990

Justin Foxx

Line • 6-3, 230

Charlotte, N.C. • Victory Christian

• Three-year letterman at Victory Christian under Frank Crockett

• Tabbed the 27th-best weakside defensive end in the nation and the 13th-top overall prospect in North Carolina by Rivals.com

• Recorded 85 tackles and 17 sacks as a senior en route to earning all-state accolades

• All-Mid Atlantic Region pick by SuperPrep

• As a junior, compiled 11 sacks and seven caused fumbles

• Helped Victory Christian to 19 wins over three seasons

• Also lettered in basketball

• Son of Jethro and Vernetta Foxx

• Born May 30, 1991

Austin Gamble

Back • 6-1, 230

Weston, Fla. • Cypress Bay

• Three-year letterman at Cypress Bay under Mark Guandolo

• Listed as the 35th-top inside linebacker in the country by ESPN.com

• Charted as the 44th-best strongside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com

• Listed as the 55th-top inside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com

• As a senior, posted 115 tackles, six sacks, two fumble recoveries and one interception as Cypress Bay went 10-2

• Florida Sports Writers Association 6A third team all-state pick

• Earned first team all-county honors

• Helped Cypress Bay to a three-year record of 28-7 with three state playoff appearances

• Also lettered in track and field

• Earned district and region crowns while finishing fifth in the state in the discus

• Claimed district and region titles while placing sixth in the state in the shot put

• Son of Sharon and John Gamble

• Father serves as the Director of Player Development for the Miami Dolphins

• Born September 27, 1990

Corey Gattis

Back • 5-11, 170

Durham, N.C. • Hillside

• Three-year letterman at Hillside under Ray Harrison

• Area Offensive Player of the Year selection by the Durham Herald-Sun after accounting for over 3,300 total yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior

• In 2008, completed 198-of-275 passes for 2,606 yards with 15 touchdowns against just four interceptions while rushing for 760 yards with nine TDs as Hillside went 12-2-1 and advanced to the state playoff semifinal game

• Earned PAC-6 Offensive Back of the Year honors

• Played in the annual Shrine Bowl, catching two passes for 10 yards

• Helped Hillside to an 11-3 ledger and state playoff third round as a junior by throwing for over 3,000 yards with 29 touchdowns while rushing for 550 yards and seven scores

• For his career, completed 432-of-675 passes for 5,988 yards with 46 touchdowns

• Three-time all-conference and two-time all-area honoree

• Helped Hillside to a three-year record of 33-8-1 with three state playoff berths

• Prep teammate of fellow Duke signee Desmond Scott

• Also lettered in baseball and track and field

• Son of Angela and Timothy Pittman

• Born April 19, 1991

Tyree Glover

Back • 6-2, 240

Crescent City, Fla. • Crescent City

• Three-year letterman at Crescent City under Al Wisnoski

• Listed as the 100th-best outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN.com

• As a senior, registered a school single-season record 154 tackles with 12 tackles for loss, 10 caused fumbles, two sacks and two interceptions

• Putnam County Player of the Year by the Palatka Daily News in 2008

• District 5 Player of the Year pick by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association

• Class 2B first team all-state pick by the Florida Sports Writers Association

• Tabbed to the Florida Athletic Coaches Association District V all-star team and played for the North squad in the FACA All-Star game, recording 11 tackles in the contest

• Two-time first team All-Putnam County selection

• Finished career with 217 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 14 caused fumbles and four interceptions

• Son of Lolether Crooms

• Born March 20, 1991

Zach Greene

Back • 5-10, 170

Raleigh, N.C. • Leesville Road
• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2009

• Three-year letterman at Leesville Road under David Green

• Listed as the 67th-best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com

• Charted as one of the top 25 overall prospects in North Carolina by the Charlotte Observer

• Three-time all-conference selection

• As a senior, posted 45 tackles, two interceptions and a 34.8-yard average on kickoff returns

• Registered 58 tackles and three interceptions during junior season

• Helped Leesville Road to three-year record of 35-7 with three state playoff appearances

• Had 88 career pass receptions for 1,282 yards and 13 TDs

• Returned four career kickoffs for touchdowns

• Served as team captain as a senior

• Also lettered in track and field, earning all-conference honors as a junior

• Son of Dwayne and Kim Greene

• Father played football at N.C. State, lettering four years (1980; 82-84) and recording 73 tackles and three interceptions as a junior and 68 tackles and two interceptions in senior season

• Born May 28, 1990

Kyle Griswould

Back • 5-10, 180

Midland, Ga. • Shaw

• Three-year letterman at Shaw under Scott Newman

• Rushed 237 times for 1,534 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 25 passes for 326 yards and two scores during senior season

• Rushed for over 100 yards in 10 games including a career-high 270 yards on 29 attempts versus Peach County in the second round of the state playoffs

• Named to the Georgia 150 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• Honorable mention AAA all-state pick by the Associated Press and Georgia Sports Writers Association

• Rushed six times for 24 yards to help the South team to a 17-0 win in the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star Classic

• Two-time All-Bi-City honoree

• In junior season, had 1,319 yards on the ground and 466 yards through the air while accounting for 17 total touchdowns

• Picked up 718 rushing yards and 426 receiving yards as a sophomore as Shaw went 14-1 and reached the state championship game

• Rushed for over 3,500 career yards with over 1,200 receiving yards

• Helped Shaw to a three-year ledger of 30-9 with three state playoff berths

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field, earning a region title in the triple jump

• Son of Cleo and Gordon Griswould

• Born January 28, 1991

Ryan Hall

Line • 6-3, 235

Orlando, Fla. • Olympia
• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2009

• Three-year letterman at Olympia under Bob Head

• Charted as the 37th-best tight end in the nation by Rivals.com

• Listed as the 46th-top tight end in the country by Scout.com

• Had 22 catches for 236 yards and two TDs as a senior

• Tabbed 6A third team all-state by the Florida Sports Writers Association

• Named to the All-Central Florida first team by the Orlando Sentinel

• Helped Olympia to 16 wins over final two seasons

• Two-time recipient of Olympia’s Outstanding Offensive Player honor

• Also lettered in baseball

• Son of Laura and Jeff Hall

• Born March 22, 1991

Dave Harding

Line • 6-4, 290

Orlando, Fla. • Boone

• Three-year letterman at Boone under Phil Ziglar

• Participated in the annual Under Armour All-American Game on January 4, 2009 in Orlando, Fla.

• Listed as the 33rd-best offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com

• Tabbed the 44th-top offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com

• Serving as team captain, helped Boone to an 11-3 record and appearance in the state playoff semifinals in senior season

• Named 6A first team all-state by the Florida Sports Writers Association

• All-Dixie Region pick by SuperPrep

• Named to the All-Central Florida first team by the Orlando Sentinel

• Also earned all-conference and all-county honors and played in the Florida East-West all-star game

• First team all-metro pick as a junior as Boone went 14-1 and reached the state title game

• Helped Boone to a three-year ledger of 34-9

• Also lettered in track and field

• Son of David and Merrie Harding

• Father played soccer at N.C. State

• Mother earned a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Duke in 1987

• Born January 1, 1991

Garett Patterson

Back • 6-0, 180

Chesterfield, Va. • Monacan

• Three-year letterman at Monacan under Danny Parsons

• Listed as the 82nd-best safety in the nation by ESPN.com

• First team all-state choice by the Associated Press as a senior

• Also earned first team all-district and all-region honors from the Richmond Times-Dispatch

• As a senior, posted 81 tackles and two interceptions

• Had 90 tackles and two interceptions as a junior to earn first team all-district honors

• Carded 65 tackles and two interceptions during sophomore season

• Son of Yvette and Martin Patterson

• Born December 28, 1989

Brandon Putnam

Line • 6-3, 240

Peachtree City, Ga. • Sandy Creek

• Four-year letterman at Sandy Creek under Chip Walker

• Listed as the 58th-best weakside defensive end in the country by Rivals.com

• Named to the Georgia 150 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• As a senior, posted 54 tackles with seven tackles for loss, two sacks and four fumble recoveries as Sandy Creek went 11-1 and reached the state playoffs

• First team all-county and all-region pick following senior season

• Named first team all-county as a junior after compiling 57 tackles, nine tackles for loss and five sacks

• Helped Sandy Creek to a four-year ledger of 32-14 with four playoff berths

• Also lettered in basketball

• Son of Barney and Leslie Putnam

• Born October 11, 1990

Kevin Rojas

Back • 6-3, 210

Raleigh, N.C. • Wakefield

• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2009

• Three-year letterman at Wakefield under J.D. Dinwiddie

• Listed as the 67th-best weakside linebacker in the nation by Scout.com

• Two-time all-conference selection

• Helped Wakefield to consecutive playoff berths in 2007 and 2008

• Had 550 receiving yards and four touchdowns in senior season

• As a junior, posted 73 tackles with two interceptions

• Also lettered in track and field

• Son of Augie and Rose Rojas

• Born July 24, 1991

Sydney Sarmiento

Line • 6-4, 265

Florence, S.C. • West Florence
• Enrolled at Duke in January, 2009

• Four-year letterman at West Florence under Trey Woodberry

• Charted as the 71st-best defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com

• Earned all-region honors as a senior after posting 70 tackles with 10 quarterback sacks as West Florence went 7-5

• All-Mid Atlantic Region pick by SuperPrep

• Helped the South squad to a 24-14 win in the annual South Carolina North-South All-Star game on December 13, 2008 in Myrtle Beach

• Had 62 tackles with nine sacks as a junior

• High school teammate of fellow Duke signee John Coleman

• Son of Ramon and Tenya Sarminto

• Born April 5, 1991

Sean Schroeder

Quarterback • 6-3, 185

Laguna Niguel, Calif. • Dana Hills

• Three-year letterman at Dana Hills under Brent Melbon

• Listed as the 29th-best quarterback in the nation by ESPN.com

• Charted as the 39th-best quarterback in the country by Scout.com

• Listed as the 42nd-best pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com

• Three-time All-South Coast League selection

• As a senior, completed 175-of-267 (.655) passes for 2,826 yards with 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions

• Top games in 2008 came against El Modena (14-of-20, 390 yards & 5 TD) and Capistrano Valley (17-of-24, 322 yards & 6 TD)

• All-Far West Region pick by SuperPrep

• In junior season, earned all-league honors after leading Orange County in completion percentage after hitting on 126-of-189 (.667) passes

• Completed 142-of-225 (.631) passes for 1,523 yards and 11 TDs in 2006

• Two-year team captain

• Established all game, season and career passing records at Dana Hills

• Son of Maureen and Scott Schroeder

• Sister, Samantha, played softball at Elon University

• Born November 9, 1990

Desmond Scott

Back • 5-10, 185

Durham, N.C. • Hillside

• Four-year letterman at Hillside under Ray Harrison

• Charted as the top running back in North Carolina and the 23rd-best running back in the country by ESPN.com

• Listed as the 134th-best overall prospect and fifth-top all-purpose back in the nation by Rivals.com

• Also charted as the fifth-top overall prospect in North Carolina by Rivals.com

• Tabbed the 30th-best running back in the nation by Scout.com

• As a senior, rushed 256 times for 2,249 yards and 24 touchdowns while catching 30 passes for 532 yards and five touchdowns

• Added four kickoff returns for touchdowns as Hillside went 12-2-1 and reached the state playoff semifinals

• All-America pick by SuperPrep

• Tabbed to the Super Southern 100 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

• All-Southern choice by the Orlando Sentinel

• Named 4A All-State by NCPreps.com

• All-Area selection by the Durham Herald-Sun

• Recorded 905 rushing yards and eight touchdowns along with 35 pass receptions for 625 yards and two scores as a junior

• Posted 1,265 rushing yards and 252 receiving yards with 17 total touchdowns during sophomore campaign

• Career prep totals were 568 rushing attempts for 4,690 yards and 63 touchdowns and 100 pass receptions for 1,630 yards and 11 TDs

• Helped Hillside to a four-year record of 44-9-1 and four state playoff berths

• Also lettered in track and field

• Prep teammate of fellow Duke signee Corey Gattis

• Son of Lisa and Tony Scott

• Born November 12, 1990

Perry Simmons

Line • 6-5, 260

Raleigh, N.C. • Sanderson

• Four-year letterman at Sanderson under Jason Tindal

• Named 4A All-State by NCPreps.com following senior season

• Selected to play in the 72nd annual Shrine Bowl

• Named a 2008-09 Carolina Panthers Community Captain for excellence in athletics, academics and community service

• Four-time all-conference honoree

• Helped Sanderson to state playoff berths in each of his final two seasons

• Also lettered in basketball and track and field

• Son of Renee and Brette Simmons

• Father lettered four years on the gridiron at Furman (1975-78) and was a two-time (1977-78) All-Southern Conference tight end who finished with 82 career receptions for 1,197 yards and nine touchdowns while captaining the Paladins to the 1978 league championship