Safety Deondre Singleton committed to Duke on his official visit this weekend.

Georgia safety Deondre Singleton will take Duke official visit this weekend

Safety Deondre Singleton will take an official visit to Duke this weekend.
Safety Deondre Singleton will take an official visit to Duke this weekend.

The Blue Devils will lose a lot of talent and experience from their defensive backs next season, and are looking to reload for the years ahead with the recruiting class of 2013. Two defensive back prospects are already on campus in Evrett Edwards and Quay Mann, but the staff remains in pursuit of another talented prospect. Deondre Singleton is a 6’1″ 185 pound safety from Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He finished his senior season with 47 tackles, 14 pass break-ups, 2 interceptions and 2 recovered fumbles. With over a dozen scholarship offers, he has been in high demand, but has named a top three of Appalachian State, Duke, and Penn State. Deondre is looking forward to his official visit in Durham this weekend.

How did your senior season go?

We definitely made history this year, knowing that this year was actually our first winning season at the varsity level in this region, 6A.  And we came up short a little bit.  We had played a couple of games that we should have won, lost by close, like two to three points, and which really made the difference between us making the playoffs and not making the playoffs.  But everything we played, we played very well.  I expected to play as well as we did, but we played very well.  I think I had a pretty good season, not a great season, but I did pretty good this year.

You played some on both sides of the ball in high school; where do college coaches talk to you about playing at the next level?

A lot of college coaches, they talk to me, they like me as corner because of my height, but they also see me as being able to play safety because of my ball skills and my being able to tackle.

What do you think are your strengths that you will bring to the college level as a defensive back?

I’m very good at baiting quarterbacks and reading, you know, to tell what a quarterback’s going to do before they do it.  I’m very good at helping people get lined up and make sure everybody knows what to do and make sure we’re in the right coverage and whatnot at the right time.

What are the most important things you are looking for in a college?

First, a program that’s either they’re– I mean, going somewhere where I’m guaranteed a great education and a great degree.  And then I want to go somewhere where I feel like I’m at home, where I can feel like I can trust everybody, the coaches and players as well, and that the community around the college is very strong and supportive.

Where do you stand with scholarship offers and which schools have been recruiting you the hardest?

Right now I have 13 offers, but the three schools that have been recruiting me the hardest are Duke, App State and Penn State.

Have you had a chance to visit any schools yet?

I’ve taken a visit to App State and I’ve taken a visit to Penn State in December, on the 6th.

What did you like about those visits?

Well, at Penn State, things were very encouraging.  They’re very cool and stuff, but they really had a purpose of their trying to win despite their sanctions and all that stuff. They’re trying to produce great ballplayers and great men.  So that was one good thing about them.  And then App State, they’re doing the same thing, but they’re moving up.  They’re trying to move up and expand and become a full FBS program and their players, they just produce players and turn them into the NFL, stuff like that.  They care about their players.

Which coaches have been recruiting you from Duke and what have you talked with them about?

I talked a lot with Coach Jones, and Coach Knowles the defensive coordinator, they both visited last week on Saturday.  Yeah, last week on Saturday, and it was nice.  They just came down and talked a lot about how Duke is on the rise and how this year they went back to a bowl, to their first bowl game in like eighteen or nineteen years, or something like that.  And we just talked a lot about that and what the education there is like, what kinds of jobs it opens up and opportunities with them, how they’re really starting to care more about football there now.  So the coaches are really turning the program and the community around.

Growing up in the South and with other football players in your family, are there schools that you’ve grown up following?

Not really, but my cousin, he coached in ACC for a long time and he still does at Maryland.  But not really any specific school right now.  I mean, I always liked Clemson growing up.

You obviously have your visit scheduled to Duke for this weekend. When do you think you will make your final decision?

I don’t know.  I’ll probably wait a couple weeks after I go to Duke.  It’s just to make sure I don’t have anywhere else I’m going before I make my decision.

Blue Devils swat Jackets 73-57 – Post Game Player Interviews

Duke vs Shaw pics 003DURHAM -The Duke Blue Devils outscored the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 46-29 in the second half to take home a 73-57 win in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday evening. The win comes on the heels of Duke’s first loss of the season last Saturday to N.C. State, and pushes the Blue Devils’ season record to 16-1 overall and 3-1 in the ACC.

Tonight’s game was not always pretty. All-American hopeful Mason Plumlee struggled with his shooting in the first half, going 2 of 12, but he hit 5 of 8 in the second half to finish with 16 points and a team-high 13 rebounds. That double-double keeps Plumlee atop the ACC in that category with 11 on the season. At one second half timeout, Coach Mike Krzyzewski met him at halfcourt with a huge hug after Plumlee’s play had finally turned the tide in the Blue Devils’ favor.

But it was the play of Seth Curry that put the Blue Devils over the top. The senior finished with a game-high 24 points, knocking down a career-high 6 of 7 three-point shots (the six were all in a row after missing his first), including one shotclock-beating three pointer from deep NBA range. Curry continues to battle through his shin injury. In his post-game press conference, Coach Krzyzewski stated that Curry would practice just one time before next week’s Miami game, due to the lingering pain from the shin.

Duke was also aided by the play of two freshmen tonight. Rasheed Sulaimon broke out of his offensive slump to score 15 points, and he also added 5 rebounds from the guard spot. Amile Jefferson pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds and scored 6 points, including a critical basket just before the first half ended to cut the Tech lead to one point.

After shooting just 27% in the first half, Duke righted the ship and finished he game at 40% from the field. They outscored the Yellow Jackets in the paint by a 32-24 margin. Duke also benefited greatly from 28 points off Yellow Jacket turnovers, and they outscored their opponent 12-4 on fast break points.

Coach Krzysewski said Kelly was week-to-week as opposed to day-to-day. Without him, the Blue Devils are a work in progress, almost like a new team. It is clear that they are once again finding their team chemistry and that they are trying combinations to make up for the loss of a senior leader who not only stuffed the stat sheet with measurables, but also brought intangibles, such as an understanding of spacing, to the table.

But the schedule does not wait. Next up: Duke will take on league leader Miami next Wednesday night in Coral Gables. Check out tonight’s videos from Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry below.

Duke with host OL Elijah George on an official visit this weekend.

Las Vegas OL Elijah George taking first official visit to Duke

Duke with host OL Elijah George on an official visit this weekend.
Duke with host OL Elijah George on an official visit this weekend.

The Blue Devils will host a pair of Las Vegas prospects this weekend on official visits. Yesterday, we profiled WR Ryan Smith, who has the Blue Devils at the top of his list. Today, we check in with OL Elijah George, who will take his first official visit to Duke this weekend. At 6’6″ and 240 pounds with a sub 5-second 40-yard time, George is one of the top uncommitted offensive line prospects in the country. BDN first introduced Duke fans to George last spring, when the Blue Devils were among the first to offer the rising senior. Since that time, George has remained low-key in his recruiting process, but has picked up offers from a number of PAC-12 and other FBS programs.

How did your senior season go?

We went 10 and 1.

How did you play and what was your role on the team this year?

I played good.  My role in the offense is like– we have team captains and one of my roles as the captain, you know, just make sure we don’t give up anything.  That’s my main goal.

What kind of offense does your high school run?

Mostly running, like 95 percent running and 5 percent pass.

Can you talk a little about how your recruitment has gone since we spoke last year? What schools are recruiting you the hardest?

Well, it’s been Duke, San Diego State, and some other schools that have been recruiting me hardest, but just taking it slow and just going to go make visits and enjoy it.

What have you been hearing from Duke?

Coach Lubick has been recruiting me. It’s a cool program. It’s like a beginning program. I know that they’re not, the football program at Duke as big as basketball. They have a goal to get to that level. That’s what I like.

Did you get a chance to see Duke play at all this year?

Over here they don’t really show East Coast teams that much and I like their offense, but since they don’t play over here that much, I wasn’t able to study it more.

I know you have a visit scheduled to Duke this weekend. Have you had a chance to visit any other schools?

This will be my first visit.

What will you be looking for on your visit to Duke?

What could they offer me for the next four years, and what kind of people they are and just how it’s like for the average player. Are they achieving their goals for the football program and for their players? Things like that.

Do you know when you want to make your final decision?

I’ll probably make it the day before signing day or a couple days before.

Ryan Smith is Duke's 5th commitment at WR in 2013.

Bishop Gorman WR Ryan Smith is ready for his Duke official visit

WR Ryan Smith is ready for his official visit to Duke.
WR Ryan Smith is ready for his official visit to Duke.

Since his arrival in Durham, Coach Cutcliffe placed a premium on recruiting playmakers with speed, and that strategy paid dividends in 2012, as the Blue Devils went to their first bowl game since the 1994 season. On National Signing Day last year, the Duke staff added a playmaker to the program from a strong Bishop Gorman program in Las Vegas, Nevada in RB Shaquille Powell. This year, the staff is hoping to add another playmaker to the fold, and will host WR Ryan Smith on an official visit this weekend. Smith, a 5’7″ 160 pound prospect, committed to New Mexico back in December. His father has served as running backs coach at New Mexico, but changes with that program have opened new opportunities for Ryan. As a senior, Smith averaged over 20 yards per catch, and caught 14 touchdowns. BDN caught up with Ryan this week.

How did your senior season go?

Senior year went great.  I’ve actually only lost three games through my whole football career at Gorman.  I’m not the biggest player, and I won’t be on the field, but I just have to use my speed in the passing game to overcome the bigger defenders – that’s what I’ve been doing these last couple years.

Where do college coaches see you fitting in at the next level?

All the coaches I’ve talked to they see me as a slot back and a wild cat person and every college I go to I have opportunities to start as a freshman which is good.  I have had scholarships from Utah State, Colorado State and New Mexico and Duke.  Duke is on the top of my list right now.

Can you talk about your recruiting process and where things stand?

Well, New Mexico, they have been on me the most because my dad, he’s there, he’s the running backs coach there and I actually committed there a couple weeks ago but he’s getting other job offers.  Once he found out that Duke came in he said that’s fine, that I could take a trip and look at other schools because he’s probably not going to be at New Mexico anymore.  Once he found out that he had other job offers, he told me I could go out and look at other schools and Duke came in so that’s why I’m taking a trip Thursday.

Can you talk about your relationship with the Duke staff?

I’ve been talking to one of the coaches, Coach Lubick for it seems like forever.  We’ve been talking since August.  He came out to spring ball and he saw me play and I talked to him there.  I’ve had other coaches come in throughout the year to talk to me, and finally on Tuesday Coach Lubick came again and told me I had a full scholarship and they wanted to get me out to North Carolina on Thursday. So, I was very happy when he said that, so I’m going to be really excited to get out there.

One of your former teammates, Shaquille Powell, is at Duke now. Can you talk about your relationship with him and what you know about the Duke program?

Yes, he’s actually going to be my host up there.  We’re great friends actually we were best friends when we were in high school. They see me as a slotback too.  They throw the ball a lot.  I think they ranked first in the ACC in passing yards and they said that they threw the one game, I think it was the bowl game, they threw to the slotback at least 30 or 40 times.  They said that the slotback they have now, he’s not really what they need.  He’s more like the running back type but since they think that I’ll be a great fit for the offense and everything that they’re doing.

What will you be looking for on your official visit this weekend?

I just want to see the campus and obviously the academics and how they deal with their athletes.  But mostly I just want to see the campus and see how the players are and getting around them and see how I like it.

When do you plan on making your final decision?

Well I know I think signing day is February 6th.  I’m probably looking at making a decision … my dad and I will make the decision probably either next week or the week after that, one of those weeks.

 

Preview: Duke vs. Georgia Tech

ramblinwreckAfter suffering their first loss of the season in Raleigh on Saturday, the Blue Devils return to action on Thursday night as they host the Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  The loss to NC State dropped Duke to #3 in the national rankings, as if that matters, but the Devils accomplished some important things in defeat, not the least of which is they began learning how they’re going to play without Ryan Kelly, who remains out “indefinitely” with a foot injury.  So let’s get that out of the way up front:  Ryan Kelly isn’t coming back for the Georgia Tech game.  Or the one after that.  Or the one after that.  To paraphrase Rick Pitino, Ryan Kelly ain’t walking through that door anytime soon, fans.  Gotta deal with it.  On the bright side, Seth Curry, who turned an ankle late in the NC State game, should be ready to go on Thursday night.  Which means he’s improved from having zero legs to stand on at the end of the afternoon on Saturday to the one he’s been playing on all season.

It’s been a good time to have a five day break between outings, and with no game this weekend, the Blue Devils will have their last extended break after the Georgia Tech affair before traveling to Miami next Wednesday night.  Not only did the five days give Curry a chance to rest and treat his ankle, but it provided the staff a chance to really break down the NC State game and alter the approach as necessary going forward without Kelly.  Some have speculated that a lineup change may be coming, giving the still-slumping Rasheed Sulaimon a chance to watch some more from the bench and to recharge his batteries while either Tyler Thornton or Amile Jefferson starts.  I doubt that happens.  Coach K and the staff are already dealing with filling the many gaps left by Kelly’s absence.  I don’t think they’re going to want to further alter the lineup and create even more uncertainty and more shifting roles right now.

With the team seeking to forge a new identity of sorts without Kelly, it’s also a good time for a squad like Georgia Tech to come to town because, frankly, they’re not very good.  They’re 10-5 overall under second year coach Brian Gregory, and 0-3 in the ACC.  Dead last in the league already.  The Yellow Jackets were a pitiful 11-20, 4-12 in the ACC last year, so suffice it to say the Gregory era is not exactly off to a rousing start.  But I’ll always like him for at least two reasons.  One, his Dayton team beat North Carolina in the finals of the NIT in 2010, thereby denying the Tar Heels even the modest levels of respect that such a title might have involved and providing a fitting cap to their humiliating season, and two, he’s not Paul Hewitt.

But really, take a look at what this team has done.  Here are their ten wins:  Tulane, Presbyterian, Rice, Saint Mary’s, Georgia, UNC-Wilmington, Alabama State, The Citadel, Fordham, and Chattanooga.  The highest rated of that bunch in this week’s KenPom is St. Mary’s at 54.  Next is Tulane at 103.  The five losses have come at the hands of California, Illinois, and then the three ACC losses, 13 pointers at home to Miami and at NC State, and then in overtime on Saturday at home against Virginia Tech after having blown an eleven point second half lead by not making a field goal in the last seven minutes of regulation.  They’re ranked #92 in KenPom this week.

Their top two scorers are freshmen, those being swingman Marcus Georges-Hunt and highly touted forward Robert Carter at 10.1.  Georges-Hunt is fourth among freshman scorers in the ACC.  The burly Carter, along with 6’11″ center Daniel Miller, lead in rebounds at 6.5 ppg, and Miller is the leading shotblocker in the ACC, swatting 2.5 per game.  Senior Mfon Udofia is back at the point guard spot.  He’s quick and has a decent handle, but he doesn’t scare anybody.  His shot selection has improved, though, and so have his shooting percentages.  His assists are up and his turnovers are down over his first three years.  Junior Brandon Reed also starts at guard.

The Jackets have two interesting names off the bench.  Well, one name, two guys.  Stacey Poole Jr. transferred from Kentucky, and became eligible in December, and is working himself into the rotation.  His younger brother Solomon is a freshman on the team as well, but he doesn’t play much yet.  He was a highly sought-after recruit last year, and was originally class of 2013, but he graduated high school early and enrolled at Tech in December, so he’s been able to get an early start on his college career.  Junior forward Kammeon Holsey is the sixth man, and freshman guard Chris Bolden is also in the rotation, as is junior Jason Morris, but the latter is out with plantar fasciitis.  The Pooles are the only kids on the roster not from the state of Georgia. They’re from Jacksonville, FL.  That’s just about Georgia.  Coach Gregory, you gotta expand the recruiting horizons beyond your home state if you want to be competitive.

Overall, the Yellow Jackets shoot poorly — 42% as a team — and can’t score, averaging only 65 ppg against that mediocre schedule.  Udofia shoots 37% from the three point line and everyone else is lousy from there, with the exception of Morris off the bench, whose percentage is fine but he only gets enough minutes to make one per game.  And he won’t be making any on Thursday night for, as mentioned above, he’s out with a foot injury.  As a team, Georgia Tech shoots 30% from the arc and 65% from the free throw line.  No Jacket player has scored 20 points in a game this year, and none ranks in the top 25 scorers in the ACC.

Georgia Tech’s numbers look better defensively.  They’re 17th in the nation in scoring defense and 13th in FG% defense.  They stand third in the ACC in both categories.

Duke is 50-18 against Georgia Tech in the Krzyzewski era, including winning 28 of the last 31. The Blue Devils have won the last four in the series, including last season’s 81-74 decision in Atlanta, and have won five in a row over the Jackets at Cameron.  In last season’s game, Glen Rice Jr. shot out of his mind, burning Duke for 28 points, and Udofia also hit the Devils with 19.  Duke was led by, ahem, Ryan Kelly with 21 points in 27 minutes off the bench, including 14 of 14 from the line.

It would not surprise me if this one turned into a laugher.  Georgia Tech just doesn’t have the horses to hang with Duke, even without Kelly.  The two frosh are nice players, but come on.  Udofia has improved, but he’s a middle of the pack point guard in the league, one who I don’t believe is in Quinn Cook’s class.  Even if the Jackets handle the ball well, which they usually do, and don’t turn it over against Duke’s pressure, they can’t shoot it, so they don’t make you pay.  I suppose they’ll try to see if Carter can use his bulk to get Mason Plumlee into foul trouble, but this isn’t 2010 or 2011.  Mason is a much smarter defensive player than he was back then, and he’s not going to let a freshman do that to him.  Plus, Mason won’t even be guarding Carter primarily.  Mason will be on Miller, who is less of a scorer, and Josh Hairston and maybe Amile Jefferson (who will be giving up a lot of bulk) will probably be on Carter.

One thing I’m going to be looking for is how Duke does in spacing the floor without Kelly, and how well Cook and to a lesser extent Curry and Sulaimon can get the ball into teammates’ hands in scoring position.  One aspect of that of course is feeding Mason Plumlee, which probably didn’t happen enough in Raleigh on Saturday.  But Kelly really does stretch the defense and provides a nice big target for catch and shoots.  Hairston and Jefferson don’t do that.  Without Kelly on the perimeter, Duke will have one less shooter out there, one less guy to whom to swing the ball when the defense is moving, and the defense will have one more guy in easier help position on Plumlee.  If Georgia Tech does pack it in more, perhaps this will be a chance for Alex Murphy to get some meaningful burn, to open things back up from the outside.  Of course it would be nice to see Rasheed Sulaimon get his mojo back too.  This seems like a good opportunity.  We’re at home, against a bottom feeder team, and we’re rested.  The team needs Rasheed to push the ball, to finish at the hole, and to be a threat to make a jumpshot.  His defense will be there, but I’d like to see the team make a concerted effort to get him something easy early in the game, to get him going, help with his confidence, and hopefully he can take it from there.  Big picture:  get the win, no further injuries, and then we’ll have almost another full week to tinker and adjust our approach as we get ready for Miami, which will be one of the toughest, if not the toughest game remaining on the schedule.

WR Terrence Alls will take his official visit this weekend.

Big weekend for Duke Football as Signing Day approaches

WR Terrence Alls will take his official visit this weekend.
WR Terrence Alls will take his official visit this weekend.

National Signing Day is fast approaching! Head Coach David Cutcliffe and the Duke staff are excited about their 18 verbal commitments in the class of 2013, but are still looking to add a couple more signatures on February 6th.  To that end, the Blue Devils will host 8 official visitors this weekend in Durham. On Friday night, the program also will celebrate the 2012 season, its most successful campaign since 1994, as host the annual Duke Football banquet.

The list of official visitors starts with 4 Blue Devil commitments. Terrence Alls, a 6’0″ 180 pound receiver from Dade Christian HS in Miami, is among the top prospects in the class. With well over a dozen scholarship offers, Alls was highly coveted prior to his commitment in August.

Duke continues its pipeline of talented athletes from Monroe, North Carolina, as they will add WR Quay Chambers to their class of 2013. Chambers will join fellow Monroe natives Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney on the Blue Devil roster in 2013, and will also make his official visit this weekend.

The Blue Devils will return their entire defensive line from 2012 next year, but will also bring in big Georgia 6’3″ 270 pound DT prospect Mike Ramsay. Ramsay will make the trip to Durham this weekend from the Walker School in Marietta, where he helped the program to its first undefeated season.

Duke added their most recent commitment over the New Year, as California safety Phillip Carter switched his commitment from San Jose State to the Blue Devils. Carter and his family will make the trip across the country from Folsom, California. BDN recently caught up with Carter, who says he is 100% committed to the Blue Devils.

Four uncommitted prospects will also be in Durham for their official visits this weekend. Safety Deondre Singleton, a 6’1″ 185 pound prospect from Archer High School in Georgia, will check out the Blue Devils. His recruitment has been led by Coach Jones and Knowles, who had an in-home visit last weekend. He holds over a dozen scholarship offers, and has already taken official visits to Appalachian State and Penn State.

Joining Carter on cross-country trips this weekend will be two prospects from the state of Nevada. The Blue Devils were among the first to offer 6’6″ 240 pound OL Elijah George and will finally get to host the big prospect on an official visit this weekend. George, from Arbor View High School in Las Vegas, is one of the top remaining uncommitted offensive linemen, and has offers from the likes of Colorado, Colorado State, Oregon State, and SMU, among others. WR Ryan Smith, from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, will also make the trip to Durham. Smith committed to New Mexico in December, where his father has served as running backs coach, and holds offers from Colorado State and Utah State. BDN spoke with Smith on Tuesday, and he confirmed that he has picked up a scholarship offer from Duke and has the Blue Devils at the top of his list heading into his official visit.

Rounding out this weekend’s visitors will be 5’6″ 165 pound ATH Kylen Towner from Alabama powerhouse St. Paul’s in Mobile. Among the school’s notable alumni are A.J. McCarron and Mark Barron, and is also home to 2014 Blue Devil LB commit Zavier Carmichael. Towner has offers from UAB and Western Kentucky, and saw time at cornerback, kick return, wide receiver, and running back in his senior year.

In other recruiting news, Virginia and Texas Tech have made late pushes for Duke OL commit Sterling Korona. While he has been in contact with other schools, sources indicate that Korona is loyal to his Duke commitment. He will host Coach Cutcliffe for an in-home visit next week.

Stay tuned to BDN for all the latest on #dukegang2013 as National Signing Day approaches.