Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. Six

Another week of high school football is in the books and Blue Devil Nation is here with an update on the gridiron exploits of future Blue Devils as well as Duke recruiting targets. Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. 6 commences with a look at the two 2016 commits:

After verbally committing to Duke on Friday afternoon, 2016 running back Elijah Deveaux rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries Friday night as Charlotte Christian defeated Carolina Pride 62-19.

2016 wide receiver Scott Bracey caught a 44 yard touchdown pass as Benedictine defeated Bishop Ireton 29-26 on Saturday afternoon.

Moving on to future Blue Devils in the Class of 2015:

Wide receiver T.J. Rahming had three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown as McEachern defeated North Cobb 48-28. Rahming’s touchdown catch covered 43 yards. He also rushed three times for 41 yards.

Wide receiver Keyston Fuller caught a 74 yard touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter as Griffin defeated Mt. Zion-Jonesboro 41-16. Fuller was the game’s leading receiver with three receptions for 81 yards.

Wide receiver Aaron Young returned a kick-off to the opponent’s 48 yard line to setup the tying touchdown and Murrieta Valley went on to defeat Murrieta Mesa 50-47 in overtime.

Quarterback Quentin Harris threw two touchdown passes for 61 and nine yards, but Taft School fell to Choate 58-13. Harris completed 36 of 56 pass attempts for 309 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Top 2015 running back target Nyheim Hines ran for 147 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries as Garner destroyed Clayton 63-10.

In the amazing performances category, 2015 running back target Albert Funderburke rushed for a Union County record 457 yards in Sun Valley’s 74-58 win over Piedmont. Funderburke rushed for five touchdowns including two of 71 yards each. His other three touchdown runs covered 42, 35 and seven yards.

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Monday Musings – Duke Football and Hoops!

SONY DSCThis will be an exciting week for Duke Blue Devil fans! It’s that time of year again, when football and basketball converge and that means a lot of pumped up fans.  That said, here are some thoughts on the football and basketball scene –

untitledSlam that Monkey …

The Duke Football team took care of business in Atlanta defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Blue Devils last win in this series came in 2003, so they indeed got that monkey off their back this past weekend. With the win, Duke stands 3-2 in their last five game against ranked opponents, including the losses to Florida State and Texas A & M a season ago. The win also earned them votes in both polls where they are currently 28th in the A.P. and 29th by the Coaches.  This past weekends win was a big one for the team and program.

 Duke needs fannies in the stands …

It’s that time of year when each game is a bigger one that the last for bowl hopeful teams. Duke will next face Virginia, a team that has had the Blue Devils circled on their calendar. This years UVA team is tough and physical and they stand 2-0 in the Coastal Division. Vegas currently has Duke listed as a 3 point favorite but it will take a great effort for a win and fan support is very important in this game. There is a similarity to last weeks game, in that Duke open as a 5 point favorite and that has dropped quickly to 3. Virginia is also coming off a bye week just as the Blue Devils were before their first ACC win. I am by no means a better, but this is what they call a trap game for those who do. What does this all mean? It’ll be one heck of an effort for a Duke win. The Blue Devils need their student section full in this game. They also need their fans to show up despite the game being televised which kicks off at 12:30.

SONY DSCIt’s time for Countdown to Craziness Duke Basketball never stops. But it surely begins again when the annual Countdown to Craziness rolls around. For the record you can still get tickets through the Duke Ticket Office. This season Duke Blue Devils are highly ranked as always and they feature another stellar class. This will be fans first chance to get a glimpse at the likes of the much hyped Jahlil Okafor. Not only is Big Jah as he is known last years top rated center in high school, many think he is that as a true freshman in college hoops. The Blue Devils have been picked in all the pre season top ten’s to date. Their highest ranking thus far has been 4th by the Sporting News. Most in the pre season feel Duke will

Quinn Cook, copyright BDN Photo
Quinn Cook, copyright BDN Photo

The lone senior …

Quinn Cook will be the lone senior as far as recruited players go this season for Duke.  It’s hard to think of Cook as the elder statesmen here in that I have known the young man since he was fifteen years old.  Cook started his career at DeMatha before transferring to Oak Hill Academy, eventually  landing at Duke.  For those who may not remember his Father passed away at a very young age.  Cook now has the exact same locker as did his mentor Nolan Smith.  Make no mistake about it, he will be a key to success in the coming season be it his play or mentoring younger players.

Tyus Jones - DecisionSpeaking of lockers …

It should come as no shock to anyone that Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones lockers are side by side.  The two Duke freshman formed a relationship while playing AAU ball and they quite simply do all things together.  The beauty of this for this years team is that they already have great chemistry between them, but it will be vital that they extend that team wide.

SUB_2721Staff solid as always

Many Duke fans worried and for good reason when Steve Wojciechowski (Wojo) left for Marquette.  The season before Duke lost Chris Collins to Northwestern and these two guys had been around forever.  After a season with Team USA, Jeff Capel seems more than poised for filling those shoes.  After all, he was a head man before at Oklahoma and groomed the likes of Blake Griffen.  Nate James is stepping into a larger role as well and he relates well with the players.  One might remember that it was James, along with teammates Chris Carrawell and Shane Battier that visited Coach Mike Krzyzewski when Duke suffered severe losses to the NBA.  James assured the Duke coach that the Blue Devils would be fine then and he is doing the dame now. While Jon Scheyer had his career cut short with an unfortunate eye injury, he is still thriving in basketball.  Scheyer has shown an uncanny maturity early on which belies his young age.  He can mentor the players in that he is barely removed from the roster.  He, like James, can tell guys what it’s like to be on a national championship team, while Capel can speak to adversity.  Capel was on the team when Krzyzewski has his back issues forcing him to the sideline.  Together they form a sold core and that should bode well for Duke in the coming seasons.

 

Duke-GT

Duke Holds Off Georgia Tech

Duke-GTThe Duke Blue Devils evened their conference record to 1-1 on the season with a 31-25 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.  Their overall record now stands at 5-1 which puts them just one win from bowl eligibility.  The next win would mark the third straight season Duke will go to a bowl under the watch of head coach David Cutcliffe.

Duke used a solid running game, led by Josh Snead with 102 yards on the ground.  The Blue Devils rushed for 242 yards as a team and that helped lead them to a victory over previously undefeated and nationally ranked Georgia Tech.

With the win, Duke put itself back in the race to defend their Coastal Division crown from a season ago.  The win also sets up a key ACC matchup in Wallace Wade next week with Virginia which stands 2-0 in the division.

Duke was in control for much of the game against the Yellow Jackets, but a rally towards the end made for a close game.  The Blue Devils defense bent but did not break on the first several Yellow Jacket drives.  By allowing just two early field goals in the red zone, the Duke offense was able use time of possession to their advantage.

With a strategy designed to keep the Tech offense off the field, it enabled the defense to rest.  Duke was also aided in their big win by two timely interceptions.

Zavier Carmichael halted a Tech drive with an interception of Jacket quarterback, Justin Thomas, at the Duke four yard line.  That 3rd quarter pick stalled a Tech drive when Duke was up 24-12.

Later in the 4th quarter, the Duke defense forced Thomas out of the pocket and Jeremy Cash intercepted a desperation pass.  Cash returned the ball 23 yards to the  to the Yellow Jackets 23 yard line.

The Cash pick led to a game clinching touchdown.  Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk scored twice in the teams short yardage package.  The two Sirk scores came on runs of 3 and 1 yard, the last giving the Blue Devils a commanding 31-12 lead.

But the Yellow Jackets weren’t finished.  Duke started to play a softer defense to keep the ball in front of them when the Georgia tech was forced to pass the ball.  Reserve quarterback Tim Byerly led his team to a score in a mere 57 seconds, thanks to a solid kickoff return.

After the ensuing Duke drive stalled, Byerly took the Yellow Jackets  89 yards in 9 plays.

That score led to another key moment, where Ryan Smith secured an onside kick.  That helped Duke in that the Blue Devils ran out the clock.

The victory was the first in the David Cutcliffe era against a team that had been a nemesis.  The Blue Devils didn’t play particularly well in the games closing minutes, but stellar early play secured a win.

With the win over Georgia Tech, Cutcliffe has just one ACC team left in the Coastal  Division to defeat.  That team is Pitt and the Blue Devils will travel for that game on November 1st.  Duke lost it’s inaugural game with the Panthers a season ago in a shoot out at Wallace Wade.

The Blue Devils will have little time to enjoy this win in that they take on Virginia who has been on a bye week. The Cavaliers are much improved and have played a difficult schedule to date.  And Duke is surely one of them teams that has been circled on their schedule in that Duke has had great success in the series of late.

The Blue Devils righted the ship after a loss to Miami, but the passing game continues to not be the force many felt it would be in the pre season.  Thankfully, for Duke, their running game is the best it’s been since the days of Bill Murray.  That has allowed the team to start the season with a 5-1 record before they get into the meat of their ACC schedule.

Elijah Deveaux

ESPN300 2016 RB Elijah Deveaux commits to Duke

CHARLOTTE – Duke football’s recruiting class of 2016 got another big boost on Friday as they added a verbal commitment from RB Elijah Deveaux. The 6’1″ 200 pound prospect chose the Blue Devils over Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, and NC State.

His father played at Pittsburgh and his uncle played at Florida State.

Elijah announced his decision live via NCPreps.com. He joins fellow ESPN300 junior Scott Bracey as Duke’s first two commitments for 2016.

ESPN Profile

Highlight Film

Jeremy Cash

Duke at Georgia Tech Preview

Jeremy CashDuke at Georgia Tech Preview
12:30 PM ET
Saturday, October 11
Atlanta, GA
TV: ACCN
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 92 and XM Ch 194

Duke in 2014: 4-1
Georgia Tech in 2014: 5-0

DUKE INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Shaquille Powell (RB)
OUT – Dezmond Johnson (DE), Jamal Wallace (DT), Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

GEORGIA TECH INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Bryan Chamberlain (OT)

Duke and Georgia Tech last faced each other on September 14, 2013 in a game Georgia Tech won 38-14 at Wallace Wade Stadium. In their last game out, two weeks ago, Duke lost to Miami 22-10, while Georgia Tech defeated Miami 28-17 last Saturday evening.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

In order to win on Saturday the Blue Devils will have to do four things: make each offensive possession count; get off the field on defense; create turnovers; and generate some magic on special teams.

Duke must make each and every offensive possession count. The Blue Devils cannot turn the ball over nor can they afford to go “three and out.” Avoiding empty possessions is paramount to victory!

To get off the field on defense, Duke first and foremost must stop the dive play. If Georgia Tech consistently gains three and half or four yards per play with fullback Zach Laskey on the dive, it will be a long afternoon for the Blue Devils defense. Duke must be prepared to stop Georgia Tech on both third and fourth down because Yellow Jackets Head Coach Paul Johnson will not be shy about keeping his offense on the field for a fourth and two at midfield.

Georgia Tech played flawless football last week against Miami, especially in the 2nd half. Duke cannot afford to allow the Yellow Jackets to establish offensive rhythm and grind out multiple, time consuming, points producing possessions, so the defense will need to take chances to create turnovers. The Blue Devils will need to get a couple of key stops and force the Yellow Jackets to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

Special teams play can set the tone and change the momentum of a game. Duke will need to block a punt or field goal attempt; execute a big return to setup a short field for the offense to cash in on with points, or pin the Yellow Jackets deep in their own territory with great kicks. Special teams have been solid for Duke in 2014 but against Georgia Tech they will need to step up and be spectacular!

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

Duke’s perceived weakness is defense against the run, which plays right into the hands of Georgia Tech’s strength, the running game. As mentioned above, Georgia Tech’s running game starts with the dive play. The quarterback keeper and pitch to the outside come next. Georgia Tech will look to pound it up the middle and stretch the defense on the edges using a lethal combination of power and speed. Once the running game is clicking, the Yellow Jackets will look for opportunities to throw the ball down the field.

Justin Thomas is a talented option quarterback so if Duke does not prevent the Georgia Tech offense from executing at high efficiency, by disrupting possessions by creating turnovers, the Blue Devils will lose.

Simultaneously, the Blue Devils offense must be efficient, score points and, perhaps most important, keep the Yellow Jackets offense on the sidelines. If Duke’s offense stalls resulting in short possessions, or turns the ball over, the Blue Devils will lose.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

Karma! Because a victory over the Yellow Jackets after a decade of futility is overdue! Coming off a bye week, the Blue Devils will be healthy, rested and prepared for Georgia Tech’s triple option offense. Jeremy Cash will be a disruptive force on defense. Most importantly, unlike in the Miami game, Anthony Boone and the Blue Devils offense will keep the pressure on Georgia Tech by moving the ball and scoring points! Jamison Crowder will step up and shine in Atlanta. This is a huge game for Duke and their efforts to repeat as Coastal Division Champions so the team will bounce back from the Miami loss and play like the champions they are!

BOTTOM LINE

A key turnover, an explosive special teams play and the strength of Ross Martin’s leg will lead Duke to their first victory over Georgia Tech in the Coach David Cutcliffe era.

Duke 30, Georgia Tech 27