Tag Archives: Blue Devils Football

6'9" Mike McGlinchey is one of the top OT prospects in the country

Elite 2013 OT Mike McGlinchey comes away impressed by Duke visit

6'9" Mike McGlinchey is one of the top OT prospects in the country

As the Duke Football coaching staff works to improve the 2012 Blue Devils on the field this spring, they’re also looking forward to the 2013 recruiting class. Already this spring, several top 2013 prospects have toured the Duke campus and football facilities. This past weekend, Duke welcomed 9 top prospects to Durham, headlined by one of the top offensive line prospects in the country. Mike McGlinchey is a 6’9″ 275 pound offensive tackle prospect from the William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia. His combination of strength and size has placed him squarely at the top of new OL Coach John Latina’s recruiting board. Having coached several NFL linemen during his tenures at Notre Dame, Ole Miss, and Clemson, Coach Latina now looks to continue his success with the Blue Devils in Durham. McGlinchey is exactly the type of prospect with the skills to succeed at Duke, both on and off the field. With 20 scholarship offers, however, the big lineman will have his choice of schools; the Blue Devils are among those who have made a good early impression. [private]

BDN: How would you describe your strengths as a player?

I’m getting recruited to play offensive tackle and I guess they like me because of my length and my size and stuff like that. Also, as a player, I’m very physically sound, I have fast, quick feet and I like to finish blocks. It’s a good combination, I guess, for college coaches to look at.

BDN: What are you working on this offseason as you prepare for your senior year?

Just to keep getting stronger as a whole, physically, and being able to move faster and have better feet. I’m just trying to work out on every aspect of my game.

BDN: As you approach your college decision, what are the most important things you are looking for in a school?

I’m looking for a school that has a bunch of great people there. I’m looking for a school that is a great school in itself. I’m looking for a program that is going to be a solid program and help me grow as a player, and somewhere that I know that I’ll fit in and have success.

BDN: Where do you stand with offers and visits now?

I’m at 20 offers now, I’m trying to narrow it down. I’m planning on taking about 3 or 4 more visits and then I’ll probably make a decision after that. I’m really excited about all of the opportunities that I have and I can’t wait to see all of the other schools that I’m going to visit.

BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit?

I’ve visited Maryland, Virginia, Rutgers, and Boston College so far. And I visited Duke yesterday. I liked all the schools and it’s going to be hard to narrow one down to see what one is right for me.

BDN: Do you know which 3 or 4 schools you definitely plan to visit this spring?

I think I’m going to visit Penn State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and maybe one other school, I’m not sure. Those are the 3 I’m definitely going to visit.

BDN: Can you talk a little bit more about your visit to Duke yesterday?

Duke was awesome yesterday. I loved it there. It was a great experience, obviously, they took us to see the Carolina basketball game and the atmosphere was unbelievable. I really enjoyed the experience and I got to know the coaching staff and I liked them a lot. It’s a great place down there and I’m really excited about the opportunity to have them recruiting me.

BDN: How did your visit to the other schools like Virginia, Maryland, and Boston College go?

They all went well as well. Like I said, it’s going to be tough because everywhere you go you like seeing. I’m just going to have to make a list and think about it pretty long and hard about which school is going to be the best spot for me.

BDN: You mentioned that you plan to take a few more visits and then make your decision. Do you have a date in mind for when you plan to narrow things down or make your final decision?

I think I’m going to make a decision by the end of the school year, if not then, then by a couple months later, if needed. I want to get it done before my senior football season.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Mike, and best of luck.

Alright, thank you so much.

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Football Friday summoned the psychic world to assist with 2011 ACC Football predictions

BDN’s Football Friday Prognosticates

So, how are you beating the heat? Well, here’s a suggestion. Find yourself a cold beverage and sit down for some Football Friday here at BDN. If you aren’t a BDN Premium Member yet, you’re really missing out. Go ahead and join now to get the best coverage of Duke, year-round. All the cool kids are doing it.

The Duke secondary suffered a blow this week with the loss of Issac Blakeney for 2011

Issac Blakeney out for 2011

Head Coach David Cutcliffe announced on Thursday that safety Issac Blakeney has been suspended from the university for failure to meet continuing academic eligibility requirements and will miss the 2011 season. “Issac is a valuable member of the Duke Football family and I look forward to him returning to full eligibility in January of 2012,” said Cutcliffe.

Obviously, this is a huge blow to the Blue Devils’ depth at safety. Those who saw Blakeney in the spring game got a glimpse of his potential in the Duke secondary. In order for the new 4-2-5 scheme to be successful, players like August Campbell, Jordon Byas, and maybe even true freshman Chris Tavarez will have to step up alongside seniors Matt Daniels and Lee Butler. BDN wishes Issac the best of luck as he gets himself back on track; we’re pulling for him.

Football Friday summoned the psychic world to assist with 2011 ACC Football predictions

2011 ACC Predictions

In anticipation of the ACC’s Football Kickoff, Football Friday would like to share some of our completely unqualified predictions for the 2011 ACC football season. We figured that by next Friday, you will have heard enough media predictions, but this week, you’ll read every word. Here is the most important prediction we’ll make: none of these predictions will matter by December. In fact, most will be thrown out the window by September 3. In a year where only THREE teams will return their unquestioned starting quarterback from 2010, our second prediction is that the ACC will be pure chaos in 2011. Please keep these first two predictions in mind as we prognosticate.

The road to Charlotte will have to go through the defending ACC Champs in Blacksburg

ACC Coastal Division

The last four ACC Champions have come from the Coastal Division, and for that reason, we start here.

  1. Virginia Tech: the road to Charlotte still has to go through defending ACC Champion Virginia Tech, who lose ACC POY Tyrod Taylor, along with tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. Overall, the Hokies return just 11 starters, 6 on offense and 5 on defense (including just one defensive lineman). All accounts suggest that redshirt-sophomore QB Logan Thomas and junior TB David Wilson are poised for breakout seasons for the Hokies. Head Coach Frank Beamer seems to have the annual luxury of reloading his roster, rather than rebuilding it, and the Hokies should put together another top-25 season and hold the top spot in the ACC Coastal Division.
  2. Miami: I’m probably buying the Hurricanes a little early in their first year under Al Golden, but by all accounts, the new Head Coach knows how to recruit and knows how to win. Miami has always had talent, and with better discipline and execution, I think this will be a much improved team over recent editions. Road contests at Maryland, Virginia Tech, UNC, and Florida State will pose a significant challenge, but the Hurricanes have some of the best athletes in the conference.
  3. Georgia Tech: I always underestimate Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets, so they’ll probably finish higher ( I didn’t want to break from tradition). There are several unproven new faces on offense and Al Groh’s defense needs to take a big step forward, but mostly, I think GT has one of the more favorable schedules, with their only ACC road contests at NC State, Virginia, Miami, and Duke.
  4. North Carolina: I’m selling the 2011 Tar Heels, and I realize I have them lower than most pundits. There are too many unsettled off-field issues, a first-year starting quarterback, the loss of a bunch of NFL draft picks, and a schedule that includes road games at Georgia Tech, Clemson, NC State, and Virginia Tech. Reading between the lines, it seems that even embattled Head Coach Butch Davis has been attempting to lower expectations, calling this a “transition year” for the program.
  5. Duke: As you can see by my underwhelming review of the Coastal Division teams in front of them, if things go right in Durham, there’s no reason Duke couldn’t end up with their highest finish in several years. Realistically, the young defensive line will have to mature ahead of schedule and the offense will have to prove it can run the ball consistently for Duke to become a serious threat in the division.
  6. Virginia: Many will probably place UVA ahead of Duke, but I’m not sold on the 2011 Wahoos, especially given their quarterback controversy. I interpreted the reports out of Charlottesville to indicate that none of their inexperienced QBs performed well enough to earn the starting job, which is an ominous sign for a team that also loses its leading rusher. Sure, Chase Minnifield and the defense should be solid, but road tests at UNC, Miami, Maryland, and FSU will be a stiff challenge.

    The Seminoles appear ready to challenge for an ACC Championship in 2011

ACC Atlantic Division

Though the Coastal Division has produced the last four ACC Champions, the Atlantic Division Champion should challenge for an Orange Bowl berth in 2011. I’m not sure there will be significant improvement elsewhere in the division, however.

  1. Florida State: Florida State claimed the Atlantic Division title in 2010 in Jimbo Fisher’s first season as Head Coach, and the Seminoles show no sign of slowing down. FSU will return a veteran group in all three phases in 2011 with 18 starters returning overall. Of all the ACC’s new full-time starting QBs, junior EJ Manuel has the most experience, having filled in for the injury-plagued Christian Ponder in each of the last two seasons. The expectation is that the 2011 Seminoles will be the class of the ACC, and should they win on September 17th against Oklahoma, they could vault towards the top of the national computer rankings.
  2. Clemson: With the recruiting classes Head Coach Dabo Swinney is bringing in, they have to be better than 6-7, right? That’s pretty much my basis for placing them here. They do draw FSU at home, but are stuck with facing the two Techs from the Coastal Division, both on the road. I’ve heard good reports about new QB Tajh Boyd and new OC Chad Morris’ offense, but maybe the Clemson folks have just been drinking too much orange Gatorade.
  3. Boston College: I really like the 2011 Eagles team and think they have the potential to make a lot of noise in the ACC, but have one of the toughest schedules. Their defense can be dominant at times and their offense should be improved if Chase Rettig can develop consistency and chemistry with his receivers. Montel Harris and Andre Williams should be one of the top tailback duos in the conference, if not the country. Division games at Clemson and a nationally-televised Thursday night home game against FSU will likely determine whether the Eagles will be serious contenders for the Atlantic division title.
  4. NC State: new QB Mike Glennon better be good, and he better be good from his first snap. With the transfer of Russell Wilson, all eyes will be on Glennon and fans will be quick to turn on Head Coach Tom O’Brien and the Wolfpack if things don’t go swimmingly. The Wolfpack probably have one of the lightest schedules in the ACC and will also probably finish higher than I have them picked as a result, but I don’t know if Glennon can live up to expectations, and I don’t know if he knows who he’s going to throw the ball to.
  5. Maryland: The surprise team of 2010 earned Ralph Friedgen ACC Coach of the Year honors and a pink slip. New Head Coach Randy Edsall will have a veteran team to work with, but even with ACC Freshman of the Year Danny O’Brien back under center, the offense will not be nearly as explosive with the loss of WR Torrey Smith and RB Da’Rell Scott. The Terps will face a tough ACC road schedule and the offense will experience growing pains without its top two weapons from 2010.
  6. Wake Forest: Of all the picks, this one may be the easiest. I don’t see a ton of reason for optimism in Winston-Salem, though the Deacs will return 17 starters from last year’s squad that finished with a 1-7 ACC record (yes, the 1 win was against Duke). We say it every year, but this is a must-win game on the schedule for Duke (and every other ACC team).

ACC Champion: Florida State

ACC Player of the Year: EJ Manuel, Florida State

ACC Coach of the Year:  Al Golden, Miami

Ok, now that all of that conventional stuff is out of the way, let’s look at some fun categories.

Coaches on the Hot Seat

I think there are four, at varying levels.

Butch Davis: how he still has a job is a mystery to most objective observers.

Dabo Swinney: we know he can recruit, but how long does he have to prove he can coach?

Jim Grobe: almost unthinkable just a few years ago, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of optimism in Winston-Salem these days and another finish in the cellar would have to put him on shaky ground.

Tom O’Brien: he must enjoy working without job security in Raleigh. After winning support with an impressive 2010 season, the questionable handling of the Russell Wilson situation has placed the Wolfpack Head Coach back under scrutiny.

ACC Game of the Year

October 8, Miami at Virginia Tech

ACC Bust of the Year

I think this is a neck and neck race with the UNC and NC State quarterbacks. I’m not suggesting they’re not ultimately going to be good players, but there’s a ton of pressure on them in their first season as starters. Bryn Renner at least has a good group of receivers returning, so I’ll say that Glennon will struggle to live up to the unrealistic expectations placed on him by Russell Wilson’s departure.

ACC Surprise of the Year

Maybe I’m a year or two ahead of myself here, but I really think Al Golden is going to put the Miami Hurricanes back on the map. He’ll have to figure out his quarterback situation, but he’s got an All-ACC caliber running back in Lamar Miller and a ton of high-level athletes across the depth chart. I think the rest of the conference has forgotten just how good “The U” can be.

Can the Blue Devils upset the Tar Heels and re-claim the Victory Bell this year?

ACC Upset of the Year

For the sake of the conference, let’s all hope that we don’t see another FCS team upset an ACC opponent as we have in recent years. But within the conference, let’s say that the Blue Devils travel to Chapel Hill on November 26 with a 5-6 record. The Tar Heels have been mired in controversy all season and the public outcry against Head Coach Butch Davis continues to mount. Behind huge performances from seniors Donovan Varner and Cooper Helfet, the Blue Devils emerge with the Victory Bell and secure bowl eligibility for the first time since the 1994 season.

Hey, I figured I’d end on that note to leave you feeling good about the upcoming season. With regards to all these predictions, as they say, that’s why they play the games. BDN will have full coverage from next week’s ACC Football Kickoff in Pinehurst and of course,  we’ll follow the Blue Devils all season long. WE ARE DUKE.

Duke will host a top-10 Stanford team in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 10

BDN previews Duke’s week 2 showdown with Andrew Luck and Stanford

Duke will host a top-10 Stanford team in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 10

Are you ready for some football, Blue Devil Nation? Ok, you’re fully immersed in our coverage of the Lebron James Skills Academy and Adidas Invitational. Or maybe you’re on your summer vacation. Either way, football season is fast approaching, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. So get on board! Season tickets are on sale now at GoDuke.com, or through the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-BLUE.

Over the next several weeks, BDN will team up with other college football insiders to preview the 2011 Duke schedule. We kicked off our series earlier this week with help from David Weissman of The Collegian to help with our Richmond preview. There’s no question that the season opener is a must-win game for the Blue Devils, and that game deserves the full attention of the players and staff. But as fans, we have the luxury of being able to look ahead to the marquee week 2 matchup with the Stanford Cardinal. We’ll have lots more to say about this game between now and September 10th, but let’s take a quick look at some of the story lines.

Duke and Stanford last met on the gridiron in 1972, and obviously a lot has changed with the two programs since that last meeting in Durham. Head Coach David Cutcliffe enters his fourth year at Duke in pursuit of the Blue Devils’ first bowl game since 1994, having infused energy and optimism into a long-dormant program. It wasn’t that long ago that the Cardinal found themselves in a similar position, coming off a 1-11 season in 2006. After Jim Harbaugh’s arrival in 2007, well, as they say, the rest is history. Stanford is now a consensus top 10 team, having dismantled ACC Champion Virginia Tech 40-12 in last year’s Orange Bowl. After Harbaugh’s departure for the NFL, the 2011 Cardinal team will be led by first year Head Coach David Shaw, and he’ll have Heisman favorite Andrew Luck leading the offense. In all, eleven starters return for Stanford, and they will open the season against former Duke Defensive Coordinator Mike Macintyre (and Simon Connette, younger brother of Duke QB Brandon Connette) and the San Jose State Spartans.

In 2010, Duke hosted a top-ranked Alabama team in September, which featured a defending Heisman trophy winner in Mark Ingram and had easily defeated San Jose State in their season opener. It’s easy to see the potential parallels between that matchup and the 2011 non-conference clash with Stanford, but Blue Devil fans are hopeful for a much better outcome. With this game against a ranked opponent being nationally televised on ESPNU, it could be a golden opportunity for Sean Renfree and the Blue Devils to announce themselves on the national scene. Though Luck and the Cardinal will be a formidable opponent, it should be an exciting game in a packed Wallace Wade Stadium between two of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions.

To give us additional insight into the Stanford program, we are fortunate to have the help of Hank Waddles of GoMightyCard.com.

BDN: Many Duke fans point to Stanford’s success as proof that top academic schools can produce championship football programs. It’s hard to believe that the Cardinal were 1-11 just five seasons ago; to what do you attribute Stanford’s meteoric rise and success? How much confidence do fans have in new Head Coach David Shaw’s ability to continue that success?

I remember reading an article from a Duke perspective that made this same point some time around the Orange Bowl last January. The funny thing is that twenty years ago Stanford fans looked at Duke as proof that a university with a strong academic reputation could also field a competitive basketball team. When the Stanford football program was lost in the darkness of Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris, there were many who followed the team who felt as if the University had given up on the idea of fielding a winning football team. Even Bill Walsh felt that the stiff admissions requirements were too much to overcome. The arrival of Jim Harbaugh changed all that. That’s no deep analysis, but I don’t think it can be understated. Harbaugh took the job in 2006 because he believed he could win, and then he convinced everyone around him — the players, the coaches, the fans, and the athletic department — that it was possible. Belief is fine, but Harbaugh and his staff also did a great job bringing in players that could compete — and dominate — in the Pac-10. Harbaugh’s departure was a disappointment, but it wasn’t unexpected. David Shaw, I think, is the perfect man to replace him. A Stanford graduate himself, Shaw actually sees the University’s academic reputation as an advantage in recruiting, and the football department recently send a letter to all recruits detailing the financial returns of a Stanford degree as compared to other schools whose football teams are in the top 25. The media has made much of the idea that Stanford won’t be able to win without Harbaugh’s personality to drive the bus, but what they’re forgetting is that the 2011 roster is clearly – clearly — more talented than the team that we last saw running roughshod over Virginia Tech. Confidence is high.

BDN: Despite the departure of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and with only 11 starters returning, expectations are still high for the Cardinal in 2011. What are the biggest question marks for this team as they head into training camp?

Any time a team loses a head coach — and loses quality coaches from the staff — that has to be a question, but as stated above, I think it’s a question the Cardinal will answer. As far as what we’ll see on the field, I’d say there are three main areas of concern. The defensive line will have to survive the loss of nose tackle Sione Fua, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Behind the line, though, the linebacking corps is developing into one of the best units in the conference, if not the entire country, and the secondary is also a strength. On the offensive side of the ball, the biggest question is the offensive line, which lost three starters. The good news, though, is that the two who are returning were both All-Pac-10 selections. I think the line will be fine by the end of the season, but it will be interesting to see how well things will have come together for this matchup in the second week of the season. Finally, there are the wide receivers, which have been a question mark since last year. Chris Owusu could solve all this just by staying healthy, but it’s been quite a while since he’s played at full strength. Even if he is healthy, there is no true front runner for the second receiver. Hopefully someone will assert himself during training camp.

 

 

The Duke defense will have to find a way to slow Heisman favorite Andrew Luck and the Cardinal offense

 

BDN: QB Andrew Luck made the laudable decision to return to school for his senior year and obtain his degree. How much has Luck meant to the Stanford program? Do you think he can play much better than his 3338 yards, 70.7% completions, and 32 touchdowns from a year ago (in other words, does he have a weakness)?

The thing about Andrew Luck is that I actually don’t think people talk enough about how great he is. Even the very best college quarterbacks struggle at times. They miss wide open receivers, they throw head-scratching interceptions, they make terrible decisions, but Luck doesn’t do any of those things. (There is a weakness, though. As much as the coaching staff drills it into his head, he stubbornly refuses to step out of bounds on his scrambles, preferring to seek out the contact.) He really is the perfect quarterback, but his value to the team extends far beyond the numbers, and it will extend far beyond his time at Stanford. He accepted a scholarship offer to play for what at the time was a mediocre football team because he wanted a great education and because he believed that the team could eventually become a winner. What he’s done during his two years at quarterback is win twenty games, elevate Stanford football to a level never before seen, and stun the world by passing up the NFL’s millions. His next year will bring a Stanford degree, possibly a Heisman trophy, possibly a national championship, and… the NFL’s millions. I’m not sure whether or not Luck’s numbers can improve this year, but offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton issued a tongue-in-cheek challenge during Stanford’s spring workouts. He hoped that Luck would complete 100% of his passes this season. We’ll see.

BDN: Duke and Stanford last met in 1972 and have split the historical series 1-1. With the cross-country road trip and a relatively unknown opponent, what are your expectations or concerns for the week two match-up with the Blue Devils?

This isn’t new. In 2009 Stanford opened the season with a cupcake at home (Washington State) and then traveled across the country to play an ACC team in Week 2. That year it was Wake Forest, and it was kind of a disaster. The Cardinal looked good in the first half, but then everything went wrong in the second half, and the Demon Deacons rallied for a 24-17 victory. This year Stanford opens with the San Jose State Cupcakes, then travels east for the Duke game. The Cardinal should definitely win, but it’s never easy for a college team take a trip like this and come away with a victory. (This is why even teams from the powerful SEC rarely venture more than a hundred miles from home for non-conference games.) My biggest concern will be the offensive line. I’ll be interested to see how well they’re playing as a unit early in the season. If they’ve meshed, look out.

BDN: After watching Andrew Luck pick apart ACC Champion Virginia Tech in the BCS Orange Bowl, there’s no question Duke will have a tall task in trying to knock off the Cardinal. If you were an opposing coach, how would you try to contain Luck and the Cardinal offense? How would you attack the Stanford defense?

I bet that opposing coaches will initially think that the offensive line is a weakness, so they’ll drop extra guys into coverage and dare the Cardinal to run. There are two big problems with this. David Shaw has made it clear that Stanford will be a running team. (“We’ll get off the bus running power,” he has said.) Also, not too many teams in the country have a better running back tandem than junior Stepfan Taylor and sophomore Anthony Wilkerson. The second problem is that even if you drop extra men and only rush three or four, Luck will still pick you apart. If he has time, he’ll find the open receiver, even if you drop ten into coverage. He’s better than any college quarterback I’ve ever seen at looking to his second and third targets. I think you have to treat Andrew Luck like an NFL quarterback. If he’s comfortable in the pocket, he will destroy you, plain and simple. You have to blitz him on every single passing down and just hope that you’re able to get to him before he finds the open receiver. The problem with this, of course, is that he’s better than any college quarterback I’ve ever seen at reading defenses before the snap and identifying hot receivers, so the blitz better get there, and it better get there quickly. As for attacking the defense, the bad news is that San Jose State probably won’t give the Duke staff much to work off of. Because the line will be a potential weakness, I’d say the Blue Devils will have to try to run early and run often. If they can gain yardage on the ground, they’ll force the Cardinal defense to put away some of their usual blitzing schemes, simplifying things a bit for the offense, and the secret bonus will be that Luck will spend more time on the sideline than on the field, and that’s never a bad thing.

BDN: Thank you for your helpful insight, Hank!

Previous week: September 3, Richmond at Duke
Next week: September 17, Duke at Boston College
Coach Cutcliffe has senior Donovan Varner and the Blue Devils expecting to win in 2011-GoDuke, Duke Photography

T.G.I. Football Friday

Happy Friday, Blue Devil Nation! A nice, shortened week should make you feel good but if not, Football Friday is here to satisfy your weekly football craving. As you know, there’s never an offseason here at BDN, and Mark Watson and Andrew Slater have been burning the midnight oil all week with great basketball coverage. Be sure to check it out, and invite your friends to join our growing community of Duke fans. If you tell two people, and they tell two people, well, then that’s some kind of crazy math that I don’t remember how to do. Before my brain stops working, we better get going…

Blue Devils feeling the love

Coach Cutcliffe has senior Donovan Varner and the Blue Devils expecting to win in 2011-GoDuke, Duke Photography

Four Duke players were named to preseason Award Watch Lists this week, while a few others may have been overlooked. Coming off a three win season, it’s only natural that Duke might have a few players fly under the radar on the national level, but that should all change this fall, as the Blue Devils pursue bowl eligibility. In any case, it’s a nice honor for the Duke players who were recognized this week, and we congratulate them, but look forward to an even better 2011.

Cooper Helfet – John Mackey Award Watch List

Will Snyderwine – Lou Groza Award Watch List

Donovan Varner – Biletnikoff Award Watch List

Conner Vernon – Biletnikoff Award Watch List

The Dondo Files

Part of our job here at BDN is to help give fans an inside look at the Duke players and coaches. Sometimes, however, the players and coaches do the job for us. This week, Duke’s star senior WR Donovan Varner created the first entry in his self-produced video blog, The Dondo Files. Varner is poised for a big senior year, and we hope his video blog will be a good inside look into his season, and the Blue Devils’ first bowl game in over a decade.

Sir Nolan Smith models a Middle Child shirt

Middle Child

Another interesting venture by two Blue Devils is Middle Child, a clothing line created by Johnny Williams and marketed by Matt Daniels. For those who missed Johnny’s cartoon series for GoDuke last year, take a look at his clothing designs, which show off the Duke cornerback’s impressive artistic ability. And if ndotsmitty is wearing it, you know it’s hot!

Doing work in the classroom

While we’re applauding the Blue Devils’ off the field efforts, it’s important to point out that last year’s team had a cumulative GPA of 3.1, which included 13 ACC All-Academic selections, more than twice any other school. As we’ve said before, it’s great to see that as Duke builds the program on the field, they continue to uphold the university’s strong academic reputation. The Duke players are setting themselves up for a great future and truly embody the concept of the student-athlete.

Come on, come on…

Kickoff on September 3 is just 57 days away, with training camp opening in just a few short weeks, so be sure to get your season tickets now. With spring practice having wrapped up in March, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Blue Devils on the field in Wallace Wade Stadium. For the Duke Football faithful, we share your pain, and hope that these last few weeks fly by. We’ve kicked off our opponent preview series this week to help speed things up for you. Be sure to check out the Richmond preview, and check back on Sunday for our Stanford preview. In the meantime, if anyone happens to see me camped outside of Wallace Wade like Eric Cartman waiting for the Nintendo Wii, can you bring me a sandwich?

Duke and Richmond will kickoff the 2011 under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 3

Please make sure you have all your belongings…

…as you exit Football Friday. While we love to share with the whole class, we also like to reward our Premium Members. We have the latest recruiting information for Duke’s class of 2012, and well, you’ll just have to join to find out…[private]

A slow recruiting week!

We’re all for the fast-paced summer recruiting season, but it is nice to be able to catch your breath every once in awhile. While it’s impossible to predict things in recruiting, it seems like things may slow down a little bit as we head into training camp. Duke has 13 commitments in the class of 2012, with an absolute maximum of 18 scholarships available. The coaching staff would like to add 4 more players to this class, and will hold a spot for a potential program-changer, should he decide to be a Blue Devil late in the recruiting season. Here are the staff’s remaining targets.:

Running backs

Jela Duncan 5’10” 190 pounds, Charlotte, NC

Todd Gurley 6’1” 195 pounds, Tarboro, NC

Linebackers

Marcus Allen 6’2” 210 pounds, Hilliard, FL

Keilin Rayner 6’3” 220 pounds, Leland, NC

Wide Receivers

Drae Bowles 6’1” 198 pounds, Jackson, TN

Anthony Nash 6’5” 185 pounds, West Chester, PA

Defensive linemen

Torey Agee 6’3” 250 pounds, Opelika, AL

Woody Baron 6’3” 252 pounds, Brentwood, TN

Korren Kirven 6’4” 272 pounds, Lynchburg, VA

David Reader 6’2” 340 pounds, Greensboro, NC

Nigel Williams 6’3” 260 pounds, Richmond, VA

Courtnye Wynn 6’6” 240 pounds, Norfolk, VA

A couple notes on this group: Todd Gurley has been in France, running track for Team USA, which has led him to miss “The Opening” in Oregon this week. Korren Kirven is the only member of this group that is in Oregon, and while Duke has made a good impression, the reality is that he may be a long-shot for the Blue Devils. Woody Baron, as we reported awhile ago, appears to be down to Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt, but if Duke could get a visit, you never know.

Do you like surprises? Well, I actually am not a big fan, so I’ll just give you the update. Once the dust settles on the LBJ and Adidas coverage, we’ll have new interviews with Marcus Allen, Keilin Rayner, Anthony Nash, and David Reader. We’ll be getting in touch with the other remaining targets, too, but we have to pace ourselves!

Thanks for being a member and a loyal Football Friday patron. We hope you enjoy our coverage and always would love to hear more from you on the message boards.

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WE ARE DUKE.

 

Mallard Creek's Jela Duncan is Duke's top remaining target in the class of 2012

Duke targets star in-state running back Jela Duncan

The Duke staff believes Mallard Creek's Jela Duncan could be an impact player in Durham

With fall training camp just one month away, the Duke coaching staff is hoping to close out their July by adding the final pieces to the class of 2012. The Blue Devils have already had a busy summer, securing 13 verbal commitments before Independence Day. Looking at the projected Duke roster, however, there are a few noticeable missing pieces. With four upperclassmen projected at the position, running back appears to be one of the Blue Devils’ biggest remaining needs. The Duke coaching staff has demonstrated a willingness to play true freshmen in the backfield, with in-state stars Desmond Scott and Josh Snead both receiving carries in their first year in Durham. In the class of 2012, it’s no secret that the Blue Devils have two more in-state running backs at the top of their wish list, hoping to continue the trend. [private]

Jela Duncan is a 5’10″ 190 pound running back from Mallard Creek HS in Charlotte, NC. In his first full season at running back, Duncan helped Mallard Creek to a 13-1 record, rushing for 1,375 yards on 101 carries with 17 touchdowns, despite missing three games. His junior year performance earned 1st Team I-Meck Conference and plenty of attention from college coaches. Now that he is approaching double digit scholarship offers, including Pittsburgh, Purdue, and Wake Forest, it’s safe to say his recruitment is in full swing. Duke hopes that Duncan will join a growing pipeline of young players from the Greater Charlotte area, including OL Casey Blaser, LB Kelby Brown, LB Kyler Brown, WR Jamison Crowder, DL Carson Ginn, LB Britton Grier and DL Carlos Wray. After an impressive performance at Duke’s camp in June, Duncan could be the next impact freshman running back in Durham.

BDN: What are some of your strengths as a running back?

I would have to say I’m a power back, but I have great speed, too.. I’m more cut and go, I can catch it out of the backfield, I have really good hands, and I just like to make plays for my team.

BDN: What have you been working on this summer?

Footwoork and speed, speed training. I’ve been in the weight room, so mostly all-around.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year?

State championship, first of all. And I’m hoping to go over 2,000 yards this year.

BDN: As you approach your college decision, what are you looking for in a school?

I want it to feel like it’s home, like all the players are just one, the coaches are one, they’re real with me. They like hard work just like I like hard work, and it’s just a family football environment.

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you the hardest this summer?

Duke, first of all. And then Purdue started to come into the picture, and Pittsburgh.

BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit so far?

I went up to Duke for their football camp about three weeks ago. And I’ve been to NC State two weeks ago, and I’ve been up to Virginia and Virginia Tech.

BDN: What were some of the things that stood out on your visits?

Well, the Virginia Tech visit, it was really exciting. The fans are just crazy. When we first pulled up, they were all out there tailgating for their spring game. It was almost full, it was amazing how loyal those fans are up there.

Duke, it was really good. The players were bonded together. They seemed like they were one family. There was one guy, he left his iPod on the charger, and it was just sitting there, nobody touched it, then he came back and it was still there. It was great to see.

The Virginia visit, it was pretty cool. It was a pretty cool visit. I went up there for a spring basketball game, so I didn’t get to chill with the players very much, but they seemed pretty cool though.

NC State – that went pretty good. I got to met the head coach. He seemed like a really cool guy, he seemed like he wanted to win some ball games.

BDN: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Well, we’ve got a national 7-on-7 to go to this Thursday, so we’ll be training for that the next two days. I probably won’t go on any more visits or camps, well I might go to the Wake Forest camp, that will probably be my last one.

BDN: Do you have an idea for when or how you would like to narrow things down?

It’s just going to have to come to me, because I’m not planning on making the decision anytime soon, really.

BDN: Is there anything else you want college football fans to know about you?

I’m a hard worker, I love hard work, I love it, that’s what drives me and my team.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Jela, and best of luck.

Yes sir, thank you. You have a good day.

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The Blue Devils will open the 2011 football season at home against Richmond September 3

BDN takes an in-depth look at the Duke Football opener vs. Richmond

The Blue Devils will open the 2011 football season at home against Richmond September 3

Is it September 3rd yet? Well, not quite, Duke Football faithful, but we know the feeling. With 60 days until kickoff, it’s no longer too early to take an in-depth look at Duke’s 2011 opponents. Over the next several weeks, BDN will team up with other college football insiders to preview the 2011 Duke schedule. Season tickets are on sale now at GoDuke.com, or through the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-BLUE.

For the Blue Devils, there is no game more important than the first one, which is a September 3rd matchup with the Richmond Spiders under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke has opened with home games against the Spiders twice in recent years, and Richmond has emerged victorious in both contests. The last meeting occurred in 2009; the Spiders were the aggressors from the start, spoiling the opening to Duke QB Thad Lewis’ record-setting senior year with a 24-16 victory. Though the Blue Devils outgained the Spiders overall, Richmond was able to control the line of scrimmage, stifling the Duke running game and scoring two touchdowns on the ground. Mike London has since left the program for Charlottesville, and in 2010, the Spiders finished 6-5 under first year Head Coach Latrell Scott. Though many of the coaches and players have changed, the Spiders are still expected to be among the top programs in the FCS in 2011, and their strengths continue to be along the line of scrimmage. In 2010, Duke struggled to consistently run the ball effectively and was among the worst FBS defenses against the run, making the 2011 opener with Richmond an intriguing early season test for the Blue Devils.

To get an inside look at the 2011 Spiders, BDN was fortunate enough to have the help of David Weissman, Online Sports Editor for The Collegian at the University of Richmond.

Latrell Scott became the youngest HC in Division I football when he replaced Mike London after the 2009 season. Photo Credit-RichmondSpiders.com
BDN: What have been the biggest changes within the Richmond program since Latrell Scott replaced former Head Coach Mike London?
The changes are few and far between as Richmond understandably didn’t want a huge change with Coach London having as much success here as he had. Coach Scott actually coached under London for a few years and I think he realizes that he didn’t need to mix too many things up in the program to have success. I’d say the biggest change I’ve noticed is in offensive philosophy. Coach Scott’s offense proved much more run-oriented than in years prior and he seems to keep trying to establish the run throughout the game no matter how much success it is having. It’s tough to tell if the offense will continue that trend this year or if the high amount of run plays called last year was an anomaly due to the quarterback injuries Richmond had last season.

BDN: The Spiders started four different quarterbacks in 2010 due to injuries. How has USC transfer Aaron Corp recovered from midseason ACL surgery, and what are the expectations for the Spiders’ offense in 2011?
Based on all that I’ve heard coming from camp is that Corp is fully recovered and ready to go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll carry the entire load at the quarterback position. Junior John Laub, who also got injured last season, was getting snaps even when Corp was completely healthy last year and London seems to like to put him in the game to run quarterback draws on third and short situations. As for the rest of the offense, the running game should be the strength with the offensive line looking stronger than last year and a number of backs that have shown the ability to have breakout games, led by Garrett Wilkins and Kendall Gaskins. The wide receivers are also looking good, but suffered last year without a consistent starter throwing them the ball. Senior Tre Gray is the most consistent of the bunch, with sophomore speedster Ben Edwards looking like he might have a breakout season.  

BDN: Richmond will have to replace several starters from last year’s defense, including CAA Defensive Player of the Year Eric McBride. Which players are expected to step up this fall, and which positions still have question marks?

The defense as a whole will definitely determine how many games the Spiders win this year. They were really inconsistent last season, at times looking unmovable and others, like they didn’t start trying until the opponent was in the redzone. Martin Parker, Eric McBride, and Justin Rogers (who was drafted by the Bills) are going to be tough to replace as they anchored all three lines of defense for Richmond for as long as I can remember, but there is definitely no lack of talent to fill in. The major buzz coming out of camp is around safety Cooper Taylor who just transferred to Richmond from Georgia Tech. Some other guys the Spiders expect to step up are cornerback Tremayne Graham, linebacker Darius McMillan, and defensive lineman Corey Jackson. The biggest question marks look to be the linebacking corps, as the Spiders will need a couple young guys to step up into starting roles without much experience.
The Richmond Spiders have emerged victorious in their last two trips to Durham. Photo credit-The Collegian

BDN: Richmond has won both of their last two trips to Durham. Why do you think the Spiders have had success against the Blue Devils?

It’s hard to say why Richmond has been successful against Duke specifically, but I do know that as a whole, Richmond has a history of stepping up their level of play against the bigger, more well-known schools in all sports. The coaches do a good job of not letting the name on the opponent’s jersey affect the way their players prepare and play, and I think maybe sometimes schools like Duke underestimate the ability of Richmond’s athletics. A lot of the players here at Richmond were on the radar of ACC or SEC-type schools, but end up here and I think these guys like to be given the chance to show opposing coaches of these schools what they missed out on.

BDN: If you were an opposing coach, how would you plan to attack the Richmond defense and slow the Spiders’ offense?

My gameplan would be dependent on my two lines. I’d say the keys to defeating Richmond are running the ball and stopping the run. The experience that Richmond does have on defense is mostly on the back end and I think the young guys on the line and in the linebacking corps could lead to a few big plays on the ground if you keep at it. As for defensively, London loves to run the ball as I mentioned before and the quarterbacks for Richmond did throw a good number of interceptions last year when they got put in third and long situations.

BDN: Thanks again for your help and insight, David!

Next Week: September 10, Stanford at Duke.

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