Tag Archives: Cutcliffe

Dakota Jackson was impressed by Duke's academics

2012 TE prospect Dakota Jackson takes a 2nd trip to Duke

Dakota Jackson was impressed by Duke's academics

With national signing day wrapping up, football recruiting will officially transition from the class of 2011 to the class of 2012. Duke kicked off the 2012 recruiting season this past weekend with the first of two Junior Days in Durham. Over 100 prospects made the trip to campus and most came away impressed with the Blue Devil program. BDN kicks off our coverage of the class of 2012 with a series of interviews with this weekend’s visitors.

Dakota Jackson is a 6’4” 245 pound tight end prospect from Roanoke, VA. He already has been contacted by an impressive list of schools, and recently made his second trip to Durham for Duke’s Junior Day. Highlights from his junior year, during which he helped Northside High School to a state championship, can be viewed here.

BDN: Can you start off by describing the strengths and weaknesses of your game for someone who hasn’t had a chance to see you play?

Hard nosed football. That’s how I base everything I do. Just getting after it until the whistle blows, basically.

 

BDN: What are some of the things you’ve been working on this offseason?

After last season, my goal is to get up to about 240-245, and I’ve already gained all that and it’s not fat at all, it’s all muscle. I’m gonna stay in the weight room, try to get my 40 time to about 4.6 flat, around in there. Just keep working with the team and everything, try to get better and try to win another state championship next year.

 

BDN: You mentioned winning another state championship this fall. What are some of your other goals for yourself individually and your team?

We do like a line, like grading, because we run the ball a lot, and I want to grade out above 95% for the whole year. I want to have at least like 4 or 5 pancakes each game. Catching-wise, probably like about 10, 15, or even 20 touchdowns this year.

 

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

Whether I fit in there, if it’s a program that uses the tight end, that isn’t just a glorified tackle, that use them in their scheme. It’s all about just finding the right home and that kind of stuff. It all fits in. Just if it fits for me and everything clicks. I mean all the campuses I’ve been to so far, they were all nice so it would be tough to say which one sticks out the most because I like them all so far.

 

BDN: What schools have you recently heard from? Who was the first school to contact you?

First ones to contact were area schools like VMI, Liberty, Richmond, and then [Virginia] Tech and UVA followed. Penn State, UCLA, Maryland, ECU, Duke, and Tennessee a little bit. I’ve been to Duke twice now, their Junior Day this weekend and I went to a game back in the fall. I’ve been to [Virginia] Tech twice – I went to see two of their games. I go there the 26th of February for their Junior Day. UVA – I went to watch one of their games and I went to a couple other games up there with a couple of my friends. Haven’t been able to go up to Penn State yet, but I’m planning on it either this offseason or next year. I go to Richmond the 20th of February for a visit.

 

BDN: I know you said earlier that you liked all the schools you have visited so far. Were there any schools you came away particularly impressed with?

I was impressed with Duke’s academics. They spend just thousands and thousands on just the academics alone and making sure that once you graduate you’re not only going to have a degree, but you’re going to have an education behind that degree. If football doesn’t work out for you, then you’re going to have something to fall back on. I mean I’m looking for that too, because it doesn’t always work out and you’re going to have to have that education to back it up. But all the football programs, they’ve all been great, so I couldn’t really put one ahead of the other right now.

 

BDN: It’s still very early in the process, but ideally, when would you like to make your college decision?

I’m not sure, I’m probably just going to have to play it by ear. If it happens soon, then that’s good. Just whenever the offer comes and whether or not it’s a fit for me. I’ll have to make that decision then, because I’m not sure, to tell you really right now.

 

BDN: Is there anything else you think is important for ACC football fans to know about you?

Off the field, I’m like a book guy. I just try and keep my grades as high as they can get and that kind of stuff. But on the field, I just play with tenacity, I just get after it every play and I hate to lose. I do everything I can and in the offseason, I work my butt off with my teammates and everything just so that we don’t lose. We just keep doing better and better and better.

 

BDN: Thanks a lot, Dakota and best of luck to you.

Thanks, you too.

Highly-touted freshman punter Will Monday will challenge senior Alex King

BDN’s Duke Signing Day Coverage

Will Monday signs his NLI at the USA U-19 game in Austin, TX

National Signing Day has arrived, and Duke fans are wondering who will be the impact players in the class of 2011. The Blue Devils received a signing day surprise as Alabama TE David Reeves committed to Duke this morning. Blue Devil Nation’s Mark Watson will have coverage today from Head Coach David Cutcliffe’s press conference introducing the Duke Football Class of 2011.

Visit our Duke Football section to read recent interviews with the members of Duke’s class of 2011.

DUKE FOOTBALL CLASS OF 2011

OL Matt Skura 6’3″ 265 pounds Columbus, Ohio

DL Sam Marshall 6’8″ 250 pounds – Fredericksburg, Virginia

DL Lucas Fisher 6’3″ 245 pounds – Monroe, North Carolina

LB Britton Grier 6’2″ 190 pounds – Charlotte, North Carolina

DL Mario Sanders 6’4″ 220 pounds – Greer, South Carolina

LB David Helton 6’3″ 225 pounds – Chattanooga, Tennessee

OL Lucas Patrick 6’3″ 280 pounds – Brentwood, Tennessee

ATH Jamison Crowder 5’8″ 180 pounds – Monroe, North Carolina

OL Carson Ginn 6’5″ 255 pounds – Belmont, North Carolina

K Will Monday 6’4″ 176 pounds – Flowery Branch, Georgia

DL Kyler Brown 6’4″ 210 pounds – Charlotte, North Carolina

OL Marcus Aprahamian 6’3″ 300 pounds – Brookfield, Wisconsin

DB Tim Burton 5’8″ 155 pounds – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

DB Jared Boyd 5’9″ 170 pounds – Stone Mountain, Georgia

OL Cody Robinson 6’2″ 305 pounds – McMinnville, Tennessee

WR Nick Hill 6’2″ 200 pounds – Nashville, Tennessee

DB Chris Tavarez 5’10″ 195 pounds  - Atlanta, Georgia

TE David Reeves 6’5″ 245 pounds – Greensboro, Alabama

WR Blair Holliday 6’3″ 195 pounds – Westlake Village, California

WR Jaleel Dukes was in Durham for Duke's Junior Day

2012 WR Jaleel Dukes is high on ACC schools early

Jaleel Dukes breaks a tackle

With national signing day approaching, football recruiting will officially transition from the class of 2011 to the class of 2012. Duke kicked off the 2012 recruiting season this past weekend with the first of two Junior Days in Durham. Over 100 prospects made the trip to campus and most came away impressed with the Blue Devil program. BDN kicks off our coverage of the class of 2012 with a series of interviews with this weekend’s visitors.

Jaleel Dukes is a 6’2” 190 pound receiver from Woodbridge, VA. After missing most of his sophomore year with an injury, Jaleel is now considered to be one of the top receivers in the state. Though it’s still early in his recruitment, Duke made a good impression during his recent visit to Durham.

BDN: Can you start off by describing the strengths and weaknesses of your game for someone who hasn’t had a chance to see you play?

My strengths are my size because I’m a bigger type of person, I’ve always been bigger. I used to play basketball so going up for the ball, I can block other people off. My weaknesses sometimes I tend to slack a little bit sometimes when I’m tired, you know, stamina issues. I’m a good route runner. I work on my routes everyday. I’m just a hard worker.

 

BDN: As you work this spring and summer, what are some of the goals you have for yourself individually and your team next fall?

Become a better leader on offense and defense. I want to get the most catches and the most yards in a season, that’s a really big one for me and my family. They’ve always wanted me to do that. That’s really about it. Just becoming a leader not just for my team, but for younger kids, like JV and freshmen. Becoming a role model for them since they’re new to the school.

 

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

Atmosphere and family. That’s a really big thing. I really enjoy having a family there because coming in as a freshman, you don’t really know the college style and the college life and that’d be a good place to go. Somewhere like Duke, Duke would be a really good place.

 

BDN: What schools have you recently heard from? Who was the first school to contact you?

 

WR Jaleel Dukes was in Durham for Duke's Junior Day

Clemson was the first, and Virginia Tech.

 

BDN: What are your plans for visits and camps?

I want to visit Duke again. I want to visit there. I want to visit North Carolina, Clemson, and Virginia Tech.

 

BDN: It’s still very early in the process, but ideally, when would you like to make your college decision?

I’m going to make the decision when the time is right. I’m not going to really worry about it, I’m just going to let things fall into place. I’m not going to rush anything. I don’t want to stress about it. I just want to play football and get this state title.

 

BDN: Is there anything else you think is important for ACC football fans to know about you?

I’m a good person. I don’t involve myself with anybody that’s going to mess my future up. I go to church, I’m a church boy, grown up in the church, so that’s a good thing.

 

BDN: Thanks a lot, Jaleel and best of luck to you.

No problem.

Photo copyright CosbyTitans.com

2012 athlete C.J. Stancil is impressed with what Duke has to offer

Photo copyright CosbyTitans.com

With national signing day just a few days away, football recruiting will officially transition from the class of 2011 to the class of 2012. Duke kicked off the 2012 recruiting season this past weekend with the first of two Junior Days in Durham. Over 100 prospects made the trip to campus and most came away impressed with the Blue Devil program. BDN kicks off our coverage of the class of 2012 with a series of interviews with this weekend’s visitors.

C.J. Stancil is a 5’11” 185 pound athlete from Chesterfield, VA. As a junior, C.J. was named 2nd-team All District at running back. The speedy prospect visited Durham for Junior Day and came away impressed with what the program has to offer. Highlights of C.J.’s junior season can be viewed here.

BDN: Can you start off by describing the strengths and weaknesses of your game for someone who hasn’t had a chance to see you play?

Well, on defense, on the defensive side of the ball, I’m a ball-hawk. I’m always near the ball, flying to the ball and I go 100% every play. I’m very physical and I have good feet. On offense, I just like contact, also I play running back, so I like to get the ball and get in the end zone.

 

BDN: As you work this spring and summer, what are some of the goals you have for yourself individually and your team next fall?

My #1 goal is to make the playoffs this year. That would be a great achievement for our school because we’ve only been open for 5 or 6 years and our football team has never made the playoffs, so that would be my main goal. Individual-wise, I would like to make the All-Dominion District Team and possibly All-State. I want to win Districts too, of course, for our team. That would be good.

 

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

I’m just looking for an environment that fits me well. I’m looking for the coaches to be – to seem like they actually care about you and want the best for you, and to really know what they’re doing. I just really want the coaches – I’m not really sure exactly what I’m trying to say, but I just want an environment that fits me and feels at home to me. I could actually see that at Duke the other day. I really liked the vibe I was getting from the whole campus and the coaches and everything.

 

BDN: What schools have you recently heard from? Who was the first school to contact you?

Duke has contacted me, UVA and Rutgers were some of the first one. U of R [Richmond] came by the school, Virginia Tech also came by the school, and Liberty, a 1-AA school. That’s about it. Those are pretty much the schools I’m considering. I’ve also heard from Wake Forest through the mail, and Tulsa and Missouri, but those were only through the mail.

 

BDN: What are your plans for visits and camps?

No doubt. I’m trying to get out to a lot of the junior days. I’m going to UVA’s junior day, I’m going to U of R’s junior day. Those are coming up pretty soon. I’m looking to go to Wake Forest too, maybe.

 

BDN: It’s still very early in the process, but ideally, when would you like to make your college decision?

I would definitely like to take my time in my decision. Probably towards the end of the season. I don’t want to be too quick in my decision.

 

BDN: Is there anything else you think is important for ACC football fans to know about you?

My grades are very good in school. I take pride in my grades and try to keep those up because I know that’s important. I haven’t decided what I want to study yet, I just want to keep my options open.

 

BDN: Thanks a lot, C.J. and best of luck.

No problem.

WR Blair Holliday is "100% on Duke"

Oaks Christian WR Blair Holliday is “100% on Duke”

WR Blair Holliday is "100% on Duke"

As signing day approaches, Head Coach David Cutcliffe and the Duke coaching staff are looking to hold onto each of their 20 current verbal commitments and hoping to add another impact player or two to the class of 2011. This past weekend, the Blue Devils hosted four of their current verbal commitments in Lucas Patrick, Blair Holliday, David Helton, and Jamison Crowder. BDN checked in with the visitors to get their thoughts on the visit to Durham and the Duke program.

In recent years, Duke has had a lot of success in recruiting and developing talented wide receivers in Durham, most notably All-ACC performers Eron Riley, Donovan Varner, and Conner Vernon. Current wide receivers coach Matt Lubick hopes to continue that trend, and secured a commitment back in August from Blair Holliday, a 6’3” wide receiver from Westlake Village, California. We last spoke with Blair just before his California sectional championship game in early December, and since that time, several PAC-10 programs have come calling, including UCLA.

BDN: I think since we last talked you played in a pretty exciting football game. Can you tell us a little about the game and the wild finish?

I guess it just lived up to all the hype. With them [Westlake] being so close, with them beating us the first game, the bragging rights that they thought that they had, and we got that redemption to play them again a second time for the championship. We were fired up and I’ll probably say that was the most exciting game of my life, biggest play I’ve ever made, biggest thing I’ve ever really done in my life was making that play. It was actually supposed to be a pass, but our guy was covered up so I just decided to take off and run it, and I got in. I guess the rest is history.

BDN: Can you talk a little bit about how your official visit went to Duke and let us hear your thoughts on your trip to Durham?

It was great. Like I said, when I first went there I felt like I belonged there and like it was home. That was just from – I wouldn’t say an outsider’s perspective on the school, but that’s the closest thing I can say to it. But going there and taking the official, meeting the guys on the team, going out with them – it just clicked that that was where I needed to be. I found the guy I want to room with when I go out there. It was a really great time, like I said, I talked to the guys, told me how it is being there, how practices go, how school life goes, just how everything goes. I just felt like I fit perfectly in that situation, that place, that environment.

BDN: Who were some of the players that you were able to spend time with?

My host was Brandon Braxton. I don’t know many of the last names. Dezmond Johnson, I hung out with him. Again I don’t know last names, but I remember Isaac [Blakeney], Braxton [Deaver], and a lot of different guys. When I was there, David Helton was on the trip too and we hung out. He’s a fun guy so we talked about rooming and by the end of the trip we felt like we wanted to room together when school started or when we get out there and practice started.

BDN: I know some other schools have been recruiting you and with signing day coming up, can you clarify what your plans are?

I’m 100% on Duke. As soon as the letter is sent, I’ll be signing it.

BDN: That’s great. I really appreciate your call and getting to catch up with you. Best of luck with basketball season and the rest of your senior year.

Yeah, I appreciate it. Thanks a lot.

Blair’s game-winning two-point conversion in the final minute of the championship game was awarded the 2010 Play of the Year by calihighsports.com.

Click here for a recap of the play.

Click here for a video highlight of the championship game.

Nick Hill is a 6'2" WR from Nashville

Tennessee All-State WR Nick Hill ready to help Duke win ball games

Nick Hill is a 6'2" WR from Nashville

Since Head Coach David Cutcliffe’s arrival in Durham, there are two areas where Duke has performed particularly well. First, the Blue Devils’ prolific passing offenses have featured a group of All-ACC caliber receivers, led by players like Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon. Second, Duke has started to recruit well in Tennessee, signing players such as Conor Irwin and Dez Johnson. The Blue Devils hope these trends continue in 2011, and 6’2” Nick Hill, a 2010 TSWA All-State receiver from Nashville, TN seems to fit the bill. A physical receiver who runs a 4.5 second 40-yard dash, Hill has the speed and skills that should thrive in Cutcliffe’s pass-oriented offense. Hill committed to Duke in July after attending several college camps and receiving interest from multiple FBS programs. With signing day quickly approaching, BDN checked in with the talented receiver to get his thoughts on his senior season and the Duke program.

BDN: Can you give us a brief recap of your senior season?

This year, my senior year, it went pretty good. We made it to the quarterfinals. I think we had a lot shorter, well we probably should have made it to state, but we kind of got robbed. As far as an individual standpoint, I feel I did the best I could for the team. I had maybe 26 catches for about 600 or 650 yards and 7 touchdowns. I helped develop the other receiver, helped him get a lot better this year. I was receiving a lot of double and triple coverage and that helped him get on his road so hopefully he can do his thing next year. And that’s about it for this year.

BDN: What were some of the things you worked on this season to help prepare you for college?

Well, really, going hard in practice, we as receivers, because my junior year, a friend of mine that played on the football team with us passed away. Really now in practice we just go all out because you never know when it’s going to be your last play. We just tried to work hard every day in practice and give it all we had.

BDN: I know you’ve had a chance to visit Duke a couple times now. What are your thoughts on the Duke program and the season they had?

I think the coaching staff – well I really like them, that’s the first thing that stood out to me was the coaching staff. They’re real down to earth and family oriented. When I first met Coach Cutcliffe, I felt like he was a straightforward guy. He wasn’t just trying to feed me what I wanted to hear, but he was telling me the truth about how he felt about things and I really admire him for that.

Duke WR prospect Nick Hill makes a catch

BDN: You mentioned that Coach Roper recently visited you; what have you talked about with the coaching staff and what do you expect your role to be at Duke?

They see me as a big addition. They said that I’ll be able to help them win ball games. That’s the main thing. I want to help Duke win ball games and help out the passing game a little bit. Basically, I want to do whatever I can, whatever they need me to do to help the team win.

BDN: What are your plans between now and when you enroll at Duke next summer?

I’ll probably run track. We’re two-time state champions in that, so I’ll probably run track again this year.

BDN: That sounds great. Thanks a lot for your time, Nick. Enjoy the rest of your senior year and good luck in Durham.

Thanks a lot, you too.

Nick’s highlight video can be viewed here.