Category Archives: Duke Football

Duke Rights The Ship With Bowl Win

The Duke Blue Devils dominated Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl to come away with a 36-14 victory and a winning season.    Duke quarterback Daniel Jones was named MVP of the game accounting for 338 yards of total offense,

But it was the defense which set the tone for a victory and finishing the year with three consecutive wins.  Duke had jumped out to a 14-0 lead and it looked as if the team had the game in the bag.  But Northern Illinois would get two quick scores which tied the game up at 14-14.

You could not help but wonder at that time if Duke would regain momentum.  After all, they had experienced a six game losing streak before gaining two ACC conference wins to close the season and propel them to a bowl.

The losing streak was as much mental as it was getting the job done on the field.  But on this day, Duke showed that lessons were indeed learned.  The team would shut out Northern Illinois the rest of the way.

Duke went up at the half on a wide open Jones to TJ Rahming touchdown pass and catch that went for 33 yards.  After a botched extra point, Duke would toughen on defense and score again on a Jones to Shaun Wilson pass but a two point attempt failed.It w

Still, Duke took a solid lead of  26-14 into the locker room and the defense showed the ability to stop big plays.  While not a clean first half, it was a substantial lead to work with.

The Huskies would never challenge again.  Duke went into ball control mode in the second half and would shut out their opponent  When the dust cleared, Duke had outscored Northern Illinois 22-0 since the game was tied including a 10-0 advantage in the final two quarters.

The Duke players celebrated by dousing head coach David Cutcliffe with Gatorade and then accepted the trophy which save the season.  Duke had against all odds righted the ship late in the season and came away with a bowl win.

The program can now say that it has been to bowl games in five of the last six seasons.  And there is suddenly momentum to work with in the off-season.  While Duke will lose some key senior players who went out in style, they return a strong contingent of personnel.

The seniors were able to go out on a winning note, while the returning players will likely learn from the taste of defeat that was sandwiched in the middle of the year,  Lessons will be learned and the players departing left getting Duke back on track with a bowl win.

Duke will begin spring practice at the end of March this coming year.  That time has been pushed back from seasons past.  Duke will return 7 starters on offense and 8 on the defensive side of the ball but will have to replace the punter and the kicker as well.  Duke will open the season at home with Army.

Duke Football Signs 15 Prospects

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe and his staff announced Wednesday that 15 student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to join the Blue Devil gridiron program.

The class includes three wide receivers, three offensive linemen, two defensive backs, two defensive linemen, two linebackers, one running back, one tight end and one quarterback.  A total of eight states are represented in the group with six signees from North Carolina, followed by two from Georgia and South Carolina and one each from Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas.

The six in-state products include defensive tackle Elijiah Brown (Charlotte), tight end Zamari Ellis (Henderson), wide receiver Jarett Garner (Harrisburg), quarterbackGunnar Holmberg (Wake Forest), offensive lineman Maurice McIntyre (Jacksonville) and safety Nate Thompson (Sanford).  Brown comes from Providence Day High School and received a pair of North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association All-State honors. Ellis, the No. 33 tight end in the country by Rivals.com, was named to the 2016 USA Today N.C. all-state first team before missing his senior campaign at Southern Vance due to a foot injury. Garner helped Hickory Ridge High School to an 11-3 record and a trip to the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 4A state playoffs. He was also selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

Ranked as the No. 15 pro-style passing quarterback in the nation by 247Sports.com, Holmberg set the Heritage High School single-season records with 2,730 passing yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior while leading the Huskies to a 12-2 record and a berth in the NCHSAA 4A state quarterfinals. McIntyre helped Northside High School to 28.50 points per game, a 6-6 ledger and a trip to the NCHSAA 3A state playoffs as a senior. Thompson, rated as the No. 31 safety in the nation by247Sports.com, was a four-time All-Cape Fear Valley 3-A selection in football at Southern Lee High School and was named the league’s player of the year in basketball as a junior.

Linebacker Shaka Heyward (Hoschton) and offensive lineman Casey Holman (Snellville) will come to Durham from Georgia.  Heyward, who is listed as the No. 41 outside linebacker in the nation by ESPN.com, recorded 90 tackles, 5.0 sacks, eight passes defended, one interception, one fumble recovery and one caused fumble as a senior at Mill Creek High School, which finished with an 8-4 record and advanced to the second round of the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAAA playoffs. Holman, from Brookwood High School, was a first team all-region pick by the 7-AAAAAA coaches as both a junior and senior. During his final campaign, Holman was named the Touchdown Club of Gwinnett Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year and led Brookwood to an 11-3 record, including a 6-0 region mark to win the Region 7-AAAAAAA title.

Joining Duke from South Carolina are running back Mataeo Durant (McCormick) wide receiver Dennis Smith (Gaffney).  Durant, out of McCormick High School, was named the 2017 South Carolina Football Coaches Association Upper State Running Back of the Year after rushing for 1,551 yards and 19 touchdowns on 159 carries as a senior.  Smith, who helped Gaffney High School to the South Carolina High School League Class AAAAA state semifinals as a senior, finished his final campaign with 55 receptions for 733 yards and five touchdowns.

From Massachusetts, the Blue Devils welcome wide receiver Jake Bobo (Belmont) to the program.  Bobo earned first team All-Independent School League accolades as a sophomore, junior and senior.  During his junior year, Bobo helped Belmont Hill to a 7-2 record and the New England Prep School championship, defeating Wilbraham & Monson Academy 41-24 in the Kevin Fleming Bowl.

Cornerback Jeremiah Lewis (Plano) heads to Durham from Texas after helping Prestonwood Christian High School to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Division I state championship game three times, claiming the title twice including the 2017 crown. In his final high school game, Lewis and the Lions rallied from 18 points down in the third quarter to defeat St. Pius X, 42-41, to claim the program’s fifth TAPPS state title.

The defensive duo of lineman Tahj Rice (Louisville, Ky.) and linebacker Rocky Shelton (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) also join the Duke program.  Rice, a consensus four-star prospect, ended his time at Waggener High School with a selection to the American squad in the 2017 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl and is rated as the No. 10 strong side defensive end according to 247Sports.com.  Shelton, a three-time all-county selection, was part of a St. Thomas Aquinas program that won the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 7A state title in both 2015 and 2016.

Completing the class is offensive lineman Peace Addo (Silver Spring) from Maryland. Addo helped St. Frances Academy to its second consecutive Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship with a 44-7 victory over Gilman in the title tilt. The Panthers are ranked No. 1 in the state and will face Bingham (Utah) in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in Phoenix, Ariz., on December 23

Duke Football – Signing Day Class

Name                                              Pos.       Ht.         Wt.       Hometown                         High School

Peace Addo                                     OL         6-6        295        Silver Spring, Md.               St. Frances Academy

Jake Bobo                                       WR        6-4        185        Belmont, Mass.                  Belmont Hill

Elijiah Brown                                  DT         6-4        295        Charlotte, N.C.                    Providence Day

Mataeo Durant                               RB         6-1        190        McCormick, S.C.                 McCormick

Zamari Ellis                                     TE          6-4        240        Henderson, N.C.                 Southern Vance

Jarett Garner                                  WR        6-3        190        Harrisburg, N.C.                  Hickory Ridge

Shaka Heyward                               LB          6-4        215        Hoschton, Ga.                     Mill Creek

Casey Holman                                 OL         6-4        285        Snellville, Ga.                      Brookwood

Gunnar Holmberg                          QB         6-3        180        Wake Forest, N.C.               Heritage

Jeremiah Lewis                               CB         6-0        180        Plano, Texas                       Prestonwood Christian

Maurice McIntyre                          OL         6-2        320        Jacksonville, N.C.                Northside

Tahj Rice                                         DT         6-2        320        Louisville, Ky.                      Waggener

Rocky Shelton                                 LB          6-0        205        Fort Lauderdale, Fla.          St. Thomas Aquinas

Dennis Smith                                  WR        6-2        185        Gaffney, S.C.                       Gaffney

Nate Thompson                              S            6-3        185        Sanford, N.C.                      Southern Lee

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Peace Addo

OL, 6-6, 295

Silver Spring, Md. (St. Frances Academy)

n  Played one season at St. Frances Academy under coaches Biff Poggi and Henry Russell

n  Helped St. Frances to 12-0 record and will face Bingham (Utah) in the GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in Phoenix, Ariz., on December 23 (ESPNU)

n  Member of St. Frances squad that captured the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship with a 44-7 win over Gilman and earned the state’s No. 1 ranking

n  St. Frances is currently ranked No. 11 in the USA Today Super 25 poll

n  Prior to enrolling at St. Frances, played at Springbrook High School under coach Jason Lomax

n  Also played basketball at Springbrook

n  Born July 11, 1999

n  Son of Ayeshetu Amado and Andrew Addo

 

Jake Bobo      

WR, 6-4, 185  

Belmont, Mass. (Belmont Hill)

n  Lettered four years at Belmont Hill under coach Chris Butler

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Consensus top-six prospect in Massachusetts according to 247Sports.com (No. 4), Rivals.com (No. 4) and ESPN.com (No. 6)

n  Three-time first team All-Independent School League (ISL) selection

n  As a senior, caught 34 passes for 514 yards and five TDs

n  In junior season, totaled 31 receptions for 632 yards and 10 TDs

n  During junior year, helped Belmont Hill to a 7-2 record including a 41-24 win over Wilbraham & Monson Academy in the Kevin Fleming Bowl to capture the New England Prep School championship

n  Also earned Boston Herald All-Scholastic honors following junior season

n  As a sophomore, caught 30 passes for 652 yards and five TDs

n  Also lettered in basketball and track and field, earning All-ISL honors in both sports

n  Born August 4, 1998

n  Son of Casey and Mike Bobo

n  Father earned three letters (1989-90-91) in football at Dartmouth College and served as team captain in 1991 … mother played ice hockey at Dartmouth College … grandfather, Keith Bobo, lettered three seasons (1971-72-73) in football at SMU and was a 12th round selection of the Dallas Cowboys in the 1974 NFL Draft … grandfather, David Hagerman, lettered four seasons (1965-66-67-68) in ice hockey at the University of New Hampshire … aunt, Jamie Hagerman Phinney, lettered four seasons (2000-01-02-03) in ice hockey at Harvard University and earned a bronze medal as a member of the United States hockey team at the 2006 Olympic Games in Torino, Italy … aunt, Kully Hagerman Reardon, played both field hockey and lacrosse at Middlebury College, scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lift the Panthers to the 1998 NCAA field hockey championship with a 3-2 victory over William Smith College and was a member of two NCAA championship lacrosse teams in 1997 and 1999 … aunt, Whitaker Hagerman Willocks, lettered four seasons (2006-08-09-10) in lacrosse at the University of Virginia

 

Elijiah Brown 

DT, 6-4, 295

Charlotte, N.C. (Providence Day)

n  Lettered four years at Providence Day under coach Adam Hastings

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Listed as the No. 71 defensive tackle in the country by 247Sports.com and the No. 73 defensive tackle in the nation according to ESPN.com

n  Two-time North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) all-state pick following junior and senior seasons

n  Two-time first team All-Charlotte Independent School Athletic Association selection

n  Logged 60 tackles and 6.5 sacks during senior season

n  As a senior, helped team to a 9-3 and appearance in the NCISAA championship game

n  Finalist for WSOC-TV's Big 22 Player of the Year award as a senior

n  Also played basketball and helped Providence Day to the 2016 NSISAA state championship

n  Born January 31, 2000

n  Son of Stephanie and William Brown

 

Mataeo Durant

RB, 6-1, 190

McCormick, S.C. (McCormick)

n  Lettered four seasons at McCormick under coach Paul Pratt

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Charted as the No. 49 running back in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 66 running back in the nation according to ESPN.com

n  Selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas

n  2017 South Carolina Football Coaches Association Upper State Running Back of the Year

n  Class A-Region 1 Player of the Year as a junior and senior

n  Two-time all-state selection

n  During senior year, helped McCormick to a 6-5 record and state playoff berth

n  Rushed for 1,551 yards and 19 TDs on 159 carries as a senior

n  WRDW12 John Harris Body Shops Player of the Week for October 4 after rushing for 202 yards

and five TDs on 10 attempts

n  Helped McCormick to consecutive Region 1-A titles in 2016 and 2017

n  As a junior, rushed for 1,375 yards and 17 TDs in six games

n  During sophomore campaign, rushed for 1,349 yards and 16 TDs on 144 carries

n  During freshman year, totaled 1,979 yards on 177 carries with 26 TDs

n  Also played basketball and earned South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association all-state accolades as a junior

n  Member of the track and field program as a sprinter and earned regional championships in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay

n  Earned a third place finish at the state meet in both the 100 and 200 meters in 2017

n  Born December 4, 1999

n  Son of Nakisha and George Durant

n  Cousin, Davon Durant, played football at Marshall University (2013-17)

Zamari Ellis

TE, 6-4, 240

Henderson, N.C. (Southern Vance)

n  Expected to enroll at Duke in January, 2018

n  Played at Southern Vance under coaches Darry Ragland and Lewis Young

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Consensus top-60 tight end nationally by Rivals.com (No. 33), ESPN.com (No. 37) and 247Sports.com (No. 60)

n  2016 USA Today N.C. all-state first team selection

n  Named to the Northern Carolina 2A all-conference squad as both a sophomore and junior

n  Missed entire senior season due to injury

n  During junior year, led the team in receiving with 35 catches for 613 yards and nine TDs

n  As a sophomore, caught 31 passes for 536 yards and seven TDs

n  As a freshman, caught 33 passes for 342 yards and two TDs

n  Also played basketball

n  Born March 17, 2000

n  Son of Zandria and Patrick Ellis

 

Jarett Garner

WR, 6-3, 190

Harrisburg, N.C. (Hickory Ridge)

n  Lettered two seasons at Hickory Ridge under coach Jason Seidel

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas

n  As a senior, named a finalist for WSOC-TV's Big 22 Player of the Year award

n  2017 Southwestern 4A All-Conference selection

n  Finished senior year with 43 receptions for 846 yards and 10 TDs

n  Helped the Ragin’ Bulls to an 11-3 record and a trip to the third round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 4A state playoffs

n  As a junior, totaled 60 receptions for 1,292 yards and 14 TDs

n  Helped Hickory Ridge to the NCHSAA 3AA state semifinals with a 12-3 mark in 2016

n  Born June 25, 2000

n  Son of Letitia and Rodney Garner

 

Shaka Heyward         

LB, 6-4, 215

Hoschton, Ga. (Mill Creek)

n  Lettered three seasons at Mill Creek under coach Shannon Jarvis

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Consensus top-60 outside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com (No. 41), Rivals.com (No. 52) and 247Sports.com (No. 57)

n  As a senior, recorded 90 tackles and 5.0 sacks along with one INT, eight passes defended, one fumble recovery and one caused fumble

n  Helped Mill Creek to an 8-4 ledger as a senior and Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state playoff berth

n  Scored defensive touchdowns in consecutive games as a senior with a fumble return against Collins Hill and interception return versus Archer

n  Booked 78 tackles as a junior, when Mill Creek reached the GHSA Class AAAAAA semifinals

n  As a junior, helped the Hawks to a 13-1 record as a junior and Region 6-AAAAAA title with only loss coming to Grayson in the GHSA Class AAAAAA semifinal

n  After junior season, earned a spot in the Georgia Elite All-Star Classic and logged four tackles and one INT

n  Born April 19, 2000

n  Son of Anita and Vic Heyward

n  Brother, Victor, is a member of the football program at Georgia State University … cousin, Johnny Ali Heyward, graduated from Duke in 1997 … cousin, Connor Heyward, is a member of the football program at Michigan State University … cousin, Cameron Heyward, played football at Ohio State University (2007-08-09-10), helped the Buckeyes to three Big Ten championships, was a first round selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2011 NFL Draft and is currently in his seventh season with the Steelers ... cousin, Corey Heyward, lettered four seasons in basketball at Georgia Tech (2014-15-16-17) … cousin, Craig Heyward Jr., played football at Middle Tennessee State University (2006-07-08-09) … late uncle, Craig Heyward, played football at the University of Pittsburgh, was a first round selection of the New Orleans Saints in the 1988 NFL Draft, played 11 professional seasons the Saints (1988-1991), Chicago Bears (1992), Atlanta Falcons (1994-95), St. Louis Rams (1997) and Indianapolis Colts (1998), rushed for 4,301 career yards and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 1995

 

Casey Holman

OL, 6-4, 285

Snellville, Ga. (Brookwood)

n  Expected to enroll at Duke in January, 2018

n  Lettered four seasons at Brookwood under coach Phillip Jones

n  Served as team captain as a senior

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Tabbed the No. 29 offensive guard nationally by Rivals.com

n  Listed as the No. 33 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com

n  Charted as the No. 36 offensive tackle in the country by 247Sports.com

n  Earned first team all-region honors as both a junior and senior

n  Led Brookwood to an 11-3 record as a senior, including a 6-0 region mark to win the Region 7-AAAAAAA title, as squad advanced to the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAAAA state semifinals, falling 31-14 to Colquitt County

n  The 2017 Touchdown Club of Gwinnett Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year

n  As a junior, helped the Broncos to an 8-4 mark and state playoff appearance

n  Named to the Gwinnett Daily Post all-county squad as a junior

n  In 2016, was one of two juniors named to the Touchdown Club of Gwinnett all-region first team

n  First-team All-Region 7-AAAAAA as a junior

n  After junior season, earned a spot in the Georgia Elite All-Star Classic

n  As a sophomore, earned a spot in the GHS Elite Sophomore Game

n  Also played baseball

n  Born January 3, 2000

n  Son of Shawn and Lamar Holman

 

Gunnar Holmberg

QB, 6-3, 180

Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage)

n  Expected to enroll at Duke in January, 2018

n  Lettered three seasons at Heritage under coach Dewayne Washington

n  A four-star prospect according to ESPN.com

n  A three-star prospect according to Rivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Charted as the No. 27 pocket passing quarterback in the nation by ESPN.com

n  Listed as the No. 15 pro-style quarterback nationally by 247Sports.com and the No. 27 pro-style quarterback in the country by Rivals.com

n  2017 National Combine at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl invitee

n  Finished career with 6,987 passing yards and 65 TDs

n  As both a junior and senior, named co-offensive player of the year in the Cap 8 4-A Conference

n  As a senior, completed 183-of-274 passes for 2,730 yards and 26 TDs against just eight INTs

n  Passing yardage and touchdown totals established Heritage single-season records

n  During senior year, helped team to 12-2 record and berth in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 4A state quarterfinals

n  As a junior, completed 200-of-311 passes for 2,485 yards and 21 TDs with 12 INTs

n  During junior season, helped the Huskies to an 11-3 ledger and appearance in the quarterfinals of the NCHSAA 4AA state tournament

n  As a sophomore, completed 130-of-236 passes for 1,772 yards and 18 TDs

n  Born February 15, 1999

n  Son of Jennifer and the late Sean Holmberg

n  Father wrestled at Slippery Rock University … sister, Torianne, plays volleyball at Emory & Henry College … cousin, Maddie Holmberg, is a member of the track & field program at Penn State University … uncle, Rob Holmberg, played football at Penn State, was a seventh round selection of the Los Angeles Raiders in the 1994 NFL Draft and played eight professional seasons with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders (1994-97), Indianapolis Colts (1998), New York Jets (1998), Minnesota Vikings (1999), New England Patriots (2000-01), Carolina Panthers (2001) and Green Bay Packers (2001) … uncle, George Blanda, played football at the University of Kentucky, played 26 professional seasons with the Chicago Bears (1949; 1950-58), Baltimore Colts (1950), Houston Oilers (1960-66) and Oakland Raiders (1967-75), was the AFL’s MVP in 1961, won three AFL championships (1960, 1961 & 1967), finished his career having completed 1,911-of-4,007 passes for 26,920 yards with 236 TDs and 277 INTs while scoring 2,002 points on nine rushing TDs, 335 field goals and 943 PATs and retired holding professional football records for most passing TDs in a game (7 vs. New York Titans on November 19, 1961), most seasons played, most seasons scoring 1+ point (26), most PATs, most PATs attempted (959), most total points and most total points accounted for (3,418)

Jeremiah Lewis

CB, 6-0, 180

Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian)

n  Expected to enroll at Duke in January, 2018

n  Lettered four seasons at Prestonwood Christian under coach Chris Cunningham

n  Served as team captain in both junior and senior seasons

n  Charted as a three-star prospect by ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Listed as the No. 57 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com

n  Helped team advance to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Division I state championship game three times, claiming the title twice including the 2017 crown

n  In the 2017 state championship game, helped squad rally from 18 points down in the third quarter to defeat St. Pius X, 42-41, to claim the program’s fifth TAPPS state title as Prestonwood Christian finished the year with a 12-2 ledger

n  Booked 65 tackles with 5.0 TFL and four INTs during final campaign while adding 40 pass receptions for 919 yards and 13 TDs

n  After junior year, named TAPPS first team All-District 1 Division 1 as a cornerback and second team as a wide receiver

n  Helped the Lions to a 10-2 mark and trip to the TAPPS Division I state semifinals as well as winning the district championship with a 7-0 mark

n  Tallied 66 tackles, 2.0 TFL, two caused fumbles, one INT and five passes defended as a junior

n  As a sophomore, earned TAPPS second team All-District 1 Division 1 honors as a cornerback

n  Booked 53 tackles, 7.0 TFL, three INTs, two caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries during sophomore season

n  Lions finished 12-2 as a sophomore and claimed the state title with a 32-27 win against Bishop Dunne

n  During freshman season, team finished 10-4 and advanced to the TAPPS state championship tilt

n  Started seven games as a rookie, collecting 32 tackles, one pass breakup and one caused fumble

n  Also participated in track and field

n  As a junior, placed fourth in the 200 meters at the TAPPS 6A North Regional meet and was part of the 4x100-meter relay team that finished second before placing fifth at the TAPPS 6A state meet

n  Born July 20, 1999

n  Son of Angela Neal and Renardo Lewis

 

Maurice McIntyre

OL, 6-2, 320

Jacksonville, N.C. (Northside)

n  Lettered three seasons at Northside under coach Kendrick Pollock

n  Served as team captain as a senior

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Listed as the No. 57 offensive guard in the nation by ESPN.com and the No. 61 offensive guard in the country by 247Sports.com

n  During senior year, helped Northside to a 6-6 record and berth in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 3A playoffs

n  Missed entire junior campaign due to injury, suffering a season-ending dislocated left knee in a preseason scrimmage

n  A Jacksonville Daily News all-area selection as a sophomore

n  Named to the All-East Central 2-A all-conference squad following sophomore season

n  As a freshman, helped the team to a 9-4 ledger, the 2A East Central title and a NCHSAA 2AA state playoff berth

n  Also participated in track and field

n  Born March 18, 1999

n  Son of Alesia McIntyre and Maurice Williams

 

Tahj Rice

DT, 6-2, 320

Louisville, Ky. (Waggener)

n  Played at Waggener under coach Jordan Johnson

n  Consensus four-star prospect by ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Charted as the No. 10 strong side defensive end by 247Sports.com

n  Listed as the No. 25 defensive tackle in the country by Rivals.com and the No. 30 defensive tackle nationally by ESPN.com

n  Consensus top-3 prospect in Kentucky by ESPN.com (No. 3), Rivals.com (No. 3) and 247Sports.com (No. 2)

n  Served as team captain as a senior

n  Selected to play for the American squad in the 2017 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl

n  One of three players from the state of Kentucky nominated for the 2018 U.S. Army All-American Bowl

n  Participated for the Louisville team in the Best of the Bluegrass All-Star game on December 10, 2017

n  Following senior year, tabbed a Greater Louisville Football Coaches Association Class 3A first team All-District 3 selection as both an offensive tackle and defensive tackle/end

n  As a junior, earned all-state honors from the Courier-Journal (3rd team), Associated Press (HM) and American Family Insurance (2nd team)

n  As a junior, finished tied for the team lead in total tackles with 85

n  During junior season, helped team to a 6-4 mark and Kentucky High School Athletics Association Class 3A state playoff berth

n  Recorded 57 tackles as a sophomore with three fumbles recovered including two returned for TDs and earned first team all-district accolades

n  Born August 13, 1999

n  Son of Iana and Marcus McClung

Rocky Shelton

LB, 6-0, 205

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

n  Lettered four seasons at St. Thomas Aquinas under coach Roger Harriott

n  Charted a four-star prospect by Rivals.com

n  Listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com

n  Tabbed the No. 21 inside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com

n  Listed as the No. 36 outside linebacker nationally by ESPN.com

n  Three-time all-county selection

n  Part of a St. Thomas Aquinas program that captured the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 7A state title in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and advanced to the semifinals in 2017 as the Raiders compiled a four-year record of 53-7

n  Four-time MaxPreps Defensive Player of the Game over final two prep seasons

n  In final campaign, accumulated 99 tackles, 3.0 TFL, three PBUs, two fumble recoveries, one caused fumble and two blocked punts as the Raiders went 12-3

n  Following junior year, named a third team Associated Press Florida All-State Class 7A selection after posting 86 tackles and two fumble recoveries

n  As a sophomore, booked 36 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks and one forced fumble

n  The Raiders ended the 2015 campaign ranked No. 7 in the nation by MaxPreps

n  Born March 13, 2000

n  Son of Kimberly and Darrel Shelton Sr.

n  Aunt, Dr. Todra Anderson Rhodes, is a 1986 graduate of Duke University

n  Cousin, Cody Riggs, played football at the University of Florida (2010-11-12-13) and Notre Dame (2014) and with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans (2015-16) … cousin, Gerald Riggs Jr., played football at the University of Tennessee (2002-03-04-05) and with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (2006) and Chicago Bears (2007) … uncle, Gerald Riggs Sr., played football at Arizona State (1978-79-80-81), was a first round selection of the Atlanta Falcons in the 1982 NFL Draft, was a member of the Washington Redskins’ Super Bowl XXVI championship team, garnered three Pro Bowl selections (1985-86-87), earned induction in the Atlanta Falcons Ring of Honor and rushed for 8,188 career yards with 69 TDs

 

Dennis Smith

WR, 6-2, 185

Gaffney, S.C. (Gaffney)

n  Played at Gaffney under coach Dan Jones

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.comRivals.com and 247Sports.com

n  Consensus top-25 prospect in South Carolina by ESPN.com (No. 25), Rivals.com (No. 8) and 247Sports.com (No. 13)

n  Selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas

n  As a senior, helped the Indians to a 9-5 mark with a berth in the South Carolina High School League Class AAAAA state semifinals

n  Earned all-region honors after posting 55 receptions for 733 yards and five TDs as a senior

n  As a junior, finished with 72 catches for 1,180 yards and 11 TDs and received all-region accolades

n  Born January 13, 2000

n  Son of Rio Tate-Smith

 

Nate Thompson

S, 6-3, 185

Sanford, N.C. (Southern Lee)

n  Lettered four seasons at Southern Lee under coach Ken Neal

n  A four-star prospect according to Rivals.com

n  A three-star prospect according to ESPN.com and 247Sports.com

n  Consensus top-60 safety nationally by 247Sports.com (No. 31), Rivals.com (No. 35) and ESPN.com (No. 54)

n  Collected 58 tackles, 3.0 sacks, four INTs and two defensive TDs during senior

n  Intercepted three passes in a 28-20 victory against Triton on October 20, 2017, including a 65-yard return for a TD

n  As a junior, booked 84 tackles, four INTs and seven PBUs to earn first team All-Cape Fear Valley 3-A honors

n  Also in 2016, helped the Cavaliers to an 8-4 record and bid to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3A state playoffs

n  Finished with 35 tackles, one tackle for loss and one INT as a sophomore

n  Named to the All-Cape Fear Valley 3-A second team as a sophomore

n  During freshman year, credited with 28 tackles and one INT and earned second team All-Cape Fear Valley 3-A accolades

n  Also played basketball for Southern Lee and earned Cape Fear Valley Conference Player of the Year accolades as a junior

n  Born February 19, 2000

n  Son of Treva Thompson

n  Aunt, Doris T. Fox, earned a master’s degree from Duke’s Divinity School

BOWL GIFT SWAG FOR DUKE FOOTBALL PLAYERS

About Duke vs Northern Illinois

One of the things players look forward to is their gift swag when participating in a bowl game.

The Quick Lane Bowl has a pretty sweet package which includes

  • A $175 Best Buy gift card
  • JBL bluetooth headphones
  • Life-sized Fathead decal for each participant of his likeness
  • Ogio backpack and tag
  • Mini helmet; hoodie; workout shorts; winter hat; vintage football

Tickets in the Duke section for the game can be purchased through GoDuke.com.

For more on the match up and the skinny on Northern Illinois, read this article -

About Duke vs Northern Illinois

 

Duke PK Austin Parker Dismissed From the Program

DURHAM, N.C. Duke redshirt sophomore specialist Austin Parker has been dismissed from the Blue Devil football program following his suspension from the institution for violation of university academic policy.

Playing in 12 games this season, Parker made 17-of-21 field goal attempts and 33-of-35 point after touchdown tries to lead the Blue Devils in scoring with 84 total points. In addition, he punted 61 times for 2,565 yards and a 42.05 average with 10 boots downed inside the opponent 20 yard line against nine touchbacks. In the ACC, Parker currently ranks fourth in field goals per game (1.42), tied for ninth in scoring (7.00 points per game) and 10th in punting average.

Duke (6-6) will meet Northern Illinois (8-4) in the Quick Lane Bowl on December 26 at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m., and the game will be televised live by ESPN.

About Duke vs Northern Illinois

About Duke vs Northern Illinois

The Blue Devils have been invited to play in the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, Michigan against Northern Illinois on December 26th, 5:30 on Ford Field.  Duke is quite happy to get an invite for a few weeks ago they were mired in a losing streak that was nothing short of depressing.

But in the what have you done for me lately department; Duke has won two ACC games in a row in grand fashion.  They can now gain some much-needed experience via extra practices for young players.  Those reps will bode well for the future and a game plan for Duke is at its best when they have time to devise a scheme.

Duke got an unexpected tough opponent in Northern Illinois.  The Quick Lane Bowl is happy the Huskies fell here in that they now have what should be a competitive game.  Had Duke been paired with Akron, they would have been heavy favorites.

What we get in the Huskies is a physical team that looks very similar to Duke on paper.  Each team has a running back with similar numbers and a solid defense.  The Huskies led the MAC in defensive points allowed by a wide margin over most teams.

The Huskies also bring recent success and tradition.  In short, Duke must prepare well and for a physical game.  They may have an edge in the speed department but Norther Illinois went into Nebraska and won this season -- something any team would have a difficult task in doing.

But Duke did beat what is considered to be the best team in Illinois in Northwestern.  In fact, they throttled the nationally ranked Wildcats before suddenly losing their team identity.

As for the Huskies, they were one of two 6-2 (8-4 overall) teams in the MAC's best division.  Their losses came on the road to Central Michigan and conference champ Toledo.  They played Boston College to a 3 point game in their opener before tripping up in that game.  The other loss came on the road at ranked San Diego State, meaning no bad loss.

Duke left points on the field against Army, Virginia and Pitt and squandered their best chance in years to beat Florida State.  But they discovered something in recent weeks and salvaged their season.  It is called good old-fashioned offense and being aggressive on that side of the ball.

While Detroit gets a bad rap in the press, the fan hotel is said to be nice which is linked in our previous article -

Duke Football to Quick Lane Bowl

The game will also be played near a very popular district in Detroit which features many restaurants close by.  And did I mention the Hotel has their own casino?  Meanwhile Ford Field is a nice venue and the sponsors seem more than welcoming to fans,

It will bode well for Duke to play on artificial turf which better suits team speed.  The last time Duke Football played in Michigan was 1978 by my recollection under then coach Mike McGee against the Michigan Wolverines.

Per my memory, Duke has only played MAC teams twice in their long history.  That was two wins over Ohio in 1985 and 86.  This will obviously be the first meeting between Northern Illinois and Duke.

There is a Dave Doeren connection at play.  The N.C. State head man was at the school and led them to an 11-3 record and conference title in his first season.  His 2012 team vaulted to No. 15 in the BCS Standings, which led to a first-ever appearance in a BCS bowl game, the 2013 Orange Bowl against Florida State, which they lost 31-10.  Doeren was hired by the Wolfpack the very next day, but it was current coach Rod Carey who coached in that game.

Northern Illinois has won 10 conference and three division titles, appeared in 13 Division I-A and College Division bowl games in their MAC history,  Rod Carey took over for Doeren and led the Huskies to four west division titles from 2012-15.  He was also a part of an NCAA high at the time 26 game home winning streak.

Some good news for Duke is that the Huskies are on a four game bowl losing streak.  The bad, is that they will not be distracted by the bowl surroundings staying in a Midwest bowl and playing in a venue they are familiar with,

The Blue Devils now return to a bowl game after a one year hiatus.  Duke is 1-3 under head coach David Cutcliffe in bowl games.  They broke through in their last win -- an overtime victory over Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl.  Previously, they lost three games that were all within reach.

Duke has been labeled an early 2.5 favorite with an over/under of 48.5

 

 

Duke Football to Quick Lane Bowl

The Duke Blue Devils have accepted an invitation to play in the Quick Lane Bowl.   The game will kick off on December the 26th at 5:30 and will be televised on ESPN.

Duke will take on Northern Illinois, a notoriously tough MAC team that finished 8-4.  They had their leagues best defense allowing just 250 points and defeated Nebraska while losing their opener to Boston College by 3. More on the Huskies here.

“We are honored and delighted to be chosen to participate in the Quick Lane Bowl,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. “I could not be happier for a group of young men who had their backs against the wall heading into the final two weeks of the season, fought through that adversity, and now will reap the benefits of their hard work and commitment to this program.

“Obviously we are at the end of the semester, so we’ll handle our academic business with exams, and then we’ll get back to the practice field to prepare for a very well-coached Northern Illinois team,” Cutcliffe continued. “Congratulations to Coach Carey and the entire Huskie team on a terrific season; we have great respect for what the Northern Illinois program stands for. At Duke, we take great pride in representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, and we’ll embrace the challenge of competing against an excellent Mid-American Conference squad.

“And lastly, special thanks to Brad Michaels, Danny Jaroshewich and the entire Quick Lane Bowl staff for this event. We know the experience our student-athletes will have will be incredible.”

The Quick Lane Bowl is located in Detroit, MI.  He is a link to one of the ACC Greektown Casino Hotel.  But be sure to check in with GoDuke.com for tickets and other possible hotel rooms.

The game is played on the Detroit Lions Ford Field which feature artificial turf.  The stadium had some nice upgrades recently and is where the most recent Mid American Conference Championship Game was played.

The main sponsor for the game is Quick Lane Tire and Auto, but more can be found here.  This will be the fourth year of the bowls existence.

Here is a list of local restaurants and attractions including some open on Christmas Day.

And here is a link to the official website.

The Duke Blue Devils finished he season with two impressive ACC wins over Georgia Tech and Wake Forest to become bowl eligible.  Duke will now have three added weeks of practice which helps the team build up their younger players for next season.