Category Archives: Duke Football

Daniel Jones to Enter NFL Draft

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University quarterback Daniel Jones will forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2019 National Football League draft. The Charlotte, N.C., native graduated from Duke this month with a degree in economics.

“Without a doubt, we are excited for Daniel and his decision to enter the upcoming NFL Draft and could not be happier for him and his family,” head coach David Cutcliffe said. “Daniel has been a cornerstone of our program and leaves with our full support. It has been a privilege to coach him, but the best part about Daniel is he’s an even better young man than he is a football player. The bottom line is he’s a special person and we’ll miss him greatly.”

A two-year captain and two-time team Most Valuable Player, Jones played in and started 36 career games with the Blue Devils and completed 764 of 1,275 (.599) passes for 8,201 yards with 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions while rushing 406 times for 1,323 yards and 17 scores.

Jones closes his career holding Duke all-time records for touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.79), pass completion-to-interception ratio (26.34), pass attempt-to-interception ratio (43.97) and pass attempts per game (35.42). In addition, on Duke’s all-time charts he ranks second in pass completion percentage, second in pass completions per game (21.22), second in most games with multiple touchdown passes (16), second in total offensive yards (9,524), second in TD responsibility (52 passing and 17 rushing), tied for second in games with 30 or more pass completions (5), tied for second in 100-yard rushing games by a quarterback (2), third in passing yards per game (227.81), third in TD passes, third in rushing TDs by a quarterback, tied for third in most games with three or more TD passes (6), third in TD passes of 20 or more yards (27), third in games with 20 or more pass completions (20), third in rushing yards by a quarterback, fourth in pass efficiency rating (122.86), tied for fourth in 300-yard passing games (9), fifth in passing yards, fifth in pass completions, fifth in pass attempts and tied for 14th in rushing TDs.

In 2018, Jones completed 237 of 392 (.605) passes for 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions while rushing for 319 yards and three TDs on 104 attempts. The regular season was highlighted by a pair of ACC Quarterback of the Week citations following wins over Northwestern and North Carolina. In the triumph over the Tar Heels, his third as Duke’s starting quarterback, Jones threw for 361 yards while rushing for 186 yards to post the fifth-highest single-game offensive yardage total (547) in ACC history, also the most by a Blue Devil in a single contest. He capped the season by earning Walk-On’s Independence Bowl Offensive Player of the Game honors after leading Duke to a 56-27 win over Temple thanks to a bowl-record 423 passing yards and six total touchdowns (5 passing and 1 rushing).

Jones was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl after compiling 338 yards of total offense and accounting for three touchdowns (2 passing and 1 rushing) in a 36-14 victory over Northern Illinois.

Duke concluded the 2018 season with an 8-5 overall record after defeating Temple, 56-27, in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl during the Blue Devils' sixth bowl appearance in the past seven years.

Duke will return three quarterbacks for the 2019 season including rising redshirt senior Quentin Harris, redshirt sophomore Chris Katrenick and redshirt freshman Gunnar Holmberg. The Blue Devils open the campaign on August 31 against Alabama in Atlanta, Ga., in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.


After careful deliberation with family, close friends and coaches, I have decided to forgo my final year of eligibility and declare for the 2019 NFL draft.

Growing up in Charlotte, I watched Coach Cutcliffe transform the Duke Football program into a true force within the ACC with annual bowl eligibility and championship expectations. It became my dream to play for him and the Duke program, and these last four years have surpassed my every expectation. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to graduate from one of the most respected academic institutions in the world while growing and maturing through a football experience that taught me far more than the game itself.

To the Duke Football fans, thank you for your support of our team and of me individually as a player. The opportunity to represent you on and off the field was a tremendous honor and is something I will treasure for a lifetime.

To my teammates, I would like to say thank you to each one of you. Every single player I have had the honor to share the locker room with has taught me something. I am forever grateful for the brotherhood, friendship and support. Thank you for allowing me the honor of being your quarterback.

To Dr. White and our athletic administration, football coaches, strength coaches, sports medicine staff, equipment staff and the academic staff, thank you all for all you all have done for me over my time at Duke. Your care and support for the student-athletes is what makes our program special.

To Coach Cutcliffe, thank you for giving me a chance to play for Duke University. Your support and guidance over these four years has meant the world to me. Thank you for the role you have played in my development as both a player and as a person. I will forever be indebted to you for this opportunity.

I look forward to representing Duke University and Duke Football for the rest of my life, and will do my best to make you all proud.

Duke Football Adds Talent on Signing Day

Duke Football adds new prospects, all of which have all signed to play in Durham next season.

Jalen Alexander DB 5-11 165 Loganville, Ga. Grayson
Jalon Calhoun WR 5-11 182 Greenville, S.C. Southside
Ron Carr OL 6-4 250 Solon, Ohio Solon
DeWayne Carter DL 6-3 290 Pickerington, Ohio Pickerington Central
Jaylen Coleman RB 6-1 195 Matthews, N.C. Porter Ridge
Ahmad Craig DL 6-5 250 Buford, Ga. Buford
Tony Davis DB 6-2 190 Gastonia, N.C. Hunter Huss
John Gelotte OL 6-5 290 Moore, S.C. Dorman
Charlie Ham K 6-1 180 Atlanta, Ga. The Westminster School
Darrell Harding Jr. WR 6-4 200 Winter Garden, Fla. West Orange
Isaiah Kemp DB 6-1 180 Wilmington, N.C. John T. Hoggard
Jacob Monk OL 6-3 299 Clayton, N.C. Corinth Holders
R.J. Oben DL 6-4 240 Montclair, N.J. St. Peters
Caleb Oppan DL 6-4 220 Kennesaw, Ga. North Cobb
Eli Pancol WR 6-3 195 Pendleton, Ind. Pendleton Heights
Christian Rorie DL 6-6 270 Raleigh, N.C. Enloe
Matt Smith TE 6-4 220 Needham, Mass. Needham
Sayyid Stevens LB 6-2 220 Midway, Ga. Calvary Baptist Day School
Jordan Waters DB 6-1 205 Lumberton, N.C. Fairmont
Elijah Wroten OL 6-3 310 Oreland, Pa.

BDN Twitter Mailbag Q & A

Here are the latest questions from our twitter mail bag where I attempt to  answer questions -

I think Coach K's lineups will as always be dictated by each opponent.  We are still talking November basketball here, so there will be adjustments made after the upcoming game with Indiana.  The staff will pay close attention to said ball screen offense and adjust accordingly.  With a young core, the staff must not throw too much at the team at one time and make adjustments that will stick come March,

History tells us that David Cutcliffe will not make any drastic changes in season and that he rarely if ever makes a move on coaches from critics or anyones views.  The fan base is frustrated after the walloping it took against Wake Forest and it is only fair that questions arise.

Something is wrong when a team loses by 52 points in a game where they were favored by 10.  The worst loss in Cutciffes  tenure begs for some inner reflection in that it was simply shocking in a bad way.  That kind of beat down should not happen to a 7-5 bowl bound team.

On the other hand, maybe this is as good as it gets.  Before Cutcliffe came along Duke was one of the worst programs in the nation.  Now, they put out good kids and go bowling.  If he can get to an occasional tier 1 bowl and tier 2 ones, I'd say he will call the shots more than other influences.

The loss to Wake has a lot of people talking.  There is noise where there should not be any.  A hard-fought loss is acceptable, even a turnover prone pitfall, but a 59-7 is a tough pil to swallow, as it should be.  A Blue Devil Nation member posted on the message board that Iron Dukes want a team they can be proud of win or lose.  Well, that was not the case this past Saturday.

It is a fair question.  Duke looked a bit flat to me in their loss to Virginia Tech.  That game reminded me of the home loss to Florida State the season before.  Duke is 0-4 against Virginia in its last outings as well and one would think the team would be pumped out of their minds for this game.  And then the loss to Wake Forest was a complete mail it in from the start affair.

It does not help that the crowds do not turn out even when games have great meaning.  But for whatever reason Duke has not played good home football in some cases since the stadium renovations and that needs to be addressed.

It seems to be hard to get everything right of late and Duke was playing better football a few years ago.  Part of that is that the ACC is good and in the Coastal Division, not a lot separates teams from top to bottom.

But as for Duke not being pumped up for certain home games or playing well I have no answer and hope the staff figures it out next season.


David Cutcliffe Talks Clemson

THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.

COACH CUTCLIFFE: Obviously going to Clemson, just playing the quality of that team, the number two team in the country, that certainly plays as if it's a number one team in the country. At Clemson, Death Valley, Saturday night, is a huge challenge. One that our team needs to embrace and look forward to. And you hope you have a program that's excited about challenges rather than getting overly concerned about it.

So we've practiced well. We'll see what happens one day at a time. That's all I've got on this end.

Q. You haven't played Clemson since I believe 2012. That was Brent Venables' first year as defensive coordinator. I'm just wondering how you think they're different or similar since the last time you saw them.
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Well, obviously it's been a while. So I think they've continued to improve physically. I think Venables has a system in place that veteran players have really embraced. They do a lot of different things they do them well. They were aggressive then. But I think this is a completely different level of Clemson defense.

And I think he's as good as there is in the business.

Q. How much does it help to have a veteran quarterback like Daniel Jones when you're going into an environment like Death Valley, what do you say to some of the younger guys that may not have seen an environment like that?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Well, it always helps to have a veteran quarterback. He can have a settling effect. We do have some veteran players on offense. That will help. To some level, you still have to -- the environment's one thing. The defense we're looking at is a whole different thing.

So they're both really difficult, but there's no question that a veteran can help not only on the field but in the preparation and just we're counting on our leadership to help control those young folks' emotions. And sometimes you have to -- takes a little while to get through that, the opening quarter even can be a jolt to a lot of young players. But we'll somewhere in there settle down, I believe.

Q. I'm writing a story about Dexter Lawrence. I don't know how much video you've seen of him this week. But I was kind of curious your impression of what you've seen?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Well, I watched him play in high school, live. I've certainly watched every game they've played this year and watching him play defense. He's a great player. He's, as we all know, a big, powerful young man. His athleticism defies someone that size. Always has had it.

And they've done a great job. He looks like he's in great shape and can play a complete game and plays really hard. So a guy that's 350, 350-plus pounds, whatever that is, he plays really well. Plays really hard.

Q. In terms of trying to contain that Clemson offense, can you take a page from anything that, say, Syracuse or Boston College have done this year to kind of try to keep this within reach there?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: Yeah, you always watch opponents, and particularly pay attention to games where opponents have played better, maybe, than some others.

I think a lot of that comes down to players that you have in matchups. Certainly you've got to play with great effort, focus and intensity. But you also have to be able to match their physicality. And Boston College and Syracuse both, defensively, are playing very physical right now. And we've got to pick that up a notch to be able to stay on the field with those guys. And then once you do that, you still have to be able to handle an incredibly gifted quarterback with a lot of weapons.

They can run the ball. They are physical but they can also create explosive after explosive in the pass game. So I think our young people realize that they've got a big challenge in front of them. We've certainly practiced with great intensity. But it will be just something you do one play at a time. You can't live and die within a single play. But you've got to play every play as if the game depended upon it.

Q. Obviously you've had a lot of experience with high-profile quarterbacks, having to make decisions about their futures. And I know you still have a couple of games still left to play but a lot of NFL folks liking what they're seeing out of Daniel Jones. When do you begin to have those types of discussions with him as he tries to evaluate his future?
COACH CUTCLIFFE: He should be drawing a lot of attention, because he's legitimately that type of player and person. We've already had a little conversation. Nothing -- I've just tried to help he and his father both, because I've been through it so often, just as to what to expect and here's the thought process that you need to put into it and you need to learn that you don't listen to noise; you need to evaluate your information clearly from the league.

And we'll get to that pretty quickly, once we finish next week. And there's so much in the media that you just -- and I told both of them, you can't ride that wave. It's unimportant. And I'm going to tell you, he has been incredibly focused and will be. He's such an unusual young man that he would not ever -- he's such a great teammate, let me put it that way. He would never let himself get distracted. I've been very pleased with that part of it.

Dabo Swinney


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Dabo Swinney.

COACH SWINNEY: We're excited about being back at home this week. It is senior day for us and military appreciation day. We've got a great military heritage here at Clemson. And so we always look forward to this day. And certainly with this senior class, this is the biggest senior class I've had, just unbelievably accomplished group. A bunch of graduates, and just great young men that we're going to honor individually coming down the hill this week.

So, excited about that. And ironically they'll have an opportunity, if we can win it will be their 51st win, which will be an ACC record for this group. Proud of this group and again looking forward to honoring them.

And then Duke, this is really going to be a big challenge. They're 7-3. Beat Northwestern at Northwestern who clinched the division in the Big Ten.

I think this quarterback is as good as there is in the country. And really impressed with him. I think he's probably going to be one of the top two or three quarterbacks taken in the draft. But Coach Cuts has done an unbelievable job with this football team. And I know that we're going to be challenged in a big way and are going to have to play at a very high level to have a chance to come out of it with a win.

So we're excited about it. And with that I'll take your questions.

Q. What makes Dexter Lawrence such an exceptional defensive lineman? And is it his agility that maybe most stands out among his qualities?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, I think it's the combination of his agility and size. There's very few guys that are 345 pounds that have the body composition that he has. He's 345 but he is a muscle. And his composition is really good. And then you couple that with his unique agility, ability to change direction, just strength, makes him really, really special.

And then he's a high character young man that just plays with a tremendous motor and effort. And so those are a lot of great characteristics. Certainly his measurables, but I think it's his immeasurables that make him special.

Q. Obviously you've had some excellent teams in recent years. But have you learned this year, are you better than you were in recent years in any certain area?
COACH SWINNEY: Well, I think we're just a more experienced team. Coming into the season, it's one thing, on paper, I felt like this would be the deepest and most experienced team that we had coming in. But that doesn't always equate to performance. But these guys have done a great job to this point. And I think that has proven to be the case.

And certainly we've been able to play a lot of people and we've been able to really use our depth through these 10 games. And I think hopefully it will pay off for us as we get down the home stretch here.

Q. When you're game-planning for Duke or for any opponent, in your opinion, is it more important to concentrate on what you do best and see if they can stop it, or do you have to concentrate on adjusting to stop them to see what you can do to stop them from doing what they do best?
COACH SWINNEY: I think it's a combination of both of those things. I think at the end of the day you always start with who you are and what you do, and you study how they defend those things or how they attack those things based on game tape and all that in the previous games. And then you formulate your plan.

But, yeah, you're not going to change who you are from week-to-week, but there are game plan adjustments and things like that that you have to tweak, or maybe as you study the opponent you realize that you might have to feature some other things more in your package than maybe something that you did last week against a different style of play. If they're going to be more of a man team or more of a zone team, then you're going to call some plays differently. But it's all within your system.

So at the end of the day, regardless of what you do, it still comes down to being able to do what you do better. Blocking, tackling. Just execution. But you gotta be aware of what they do so you can position your players to have a chance to be successful.

Q. Let's talk about the military appreciation day. I know I talked to you about it last year. Just refresh everybody here on the call about what you guys do for military appreciation day?
COACH SWINNEY: Yeah, it's a great event here. We play in Memorial Stadium. And right across from where the rock is where we enter is the Scroll of Honor and that's a memorial for all of our veterans that were lost in war. And Clemson was a military school, all the way until 1955, I believe. And in fact I think only Texas A&M had more officers in World War II than Clemson University.

So just a deep heritage here and something that we take a lot of pride in this day and just the pageantry that we try to instill and it's a lot of fun. A lot of fun. We won't be able to have the fly-over this year because it's at night. But there will still be a lot of veterans coming back and they, all throughout the game, they do a great job of capturing the essence of the day and the tradition of our university.

Q. A question about Daniel Jones, what do you see getting ready for him, do you think he's an NFL-type quarterback next year?
COACH SWINNEY: I don't think there's any doubt about it. To be honest with you, I haven't really studied him much prior to this game. Just because we haven't played Duke in a while. And just haven't studied him a lot closely. But as I watched him, man, oh man, not only is he going to be a pro, he's going to be a high pick. This guy can flat out play, incredible presence in the pocket. He's big and strong. He can fly. You know, he just pulls away from people. He rushed for 180 yards last week and can make every throw. He makes some really, really tight throws against contested coverage. And I can't imagine that he's not going to be one of the top quarterbacks to be drafted.

Duke Secures Victory Bell with Win Over UNC

The Duke Blue Devils defeated their archrival, North Carolina 42-35 to go 7-3 on the season.

This was the third consecutive victory in the series for the Blue Devils.

Duke retained the Victory Bell via its offensive output while earning its fifth winning season in the last six seasons.

"Right now we keep the Victory Bell down there next to the locker room so it is fun to see that every day and do so for another year," said, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones.

Daniel Jones led Duke with a record-breaking performance.  Jones threw for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding another 186 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground which was a career high as well.

The total of 547 yards for Jones set an all-time Duke single-game record previously held by Anthony Dilweg.

Despite the win with several key personell out, Duke suffered another loss. All ACC candidate and secondary team lead Dylan Singleton is out for the season per David Cutcliffe and will have surgery this week and will DL Ben Frye.

Duke rolled up 629 yards of offense and that translated into a huge first half.    The defense stood tall in the second half and only allowed a late, desperation Tar Heel score.

The Blue Devils must now travel to Death Valley minus several starters for a game with the nations 2nd ranked team, Clemson.

More to come.