Tag Archives: Duke Defense

Georgia DT Jay Woods already holds 15 scholarship offers

Georgia star DT Jay Woods plans to visit Duke

Georgia DT Jay Woods already holds 15 scholarship offers

Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe has stated publicly that the quickest way to improve a football team is to find a dominant defensive tackle to man the inside of a defense. Out on the recruiting trail, the Blue Devils have found just that type of player in big Georgia DT Jay Woods. Woods is a 6’3″ 275 pound prospect from Jackson HS. As a junior, Woods starred on both sides of the ball, earning a selection in the AT&T Risingseniors.com Georgia Junior Bowl. In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Woods also gets it done in the classroom, boasting a 3.9 GPA and memberships in the National Honor Society and Health Occupation Students of America. His combination of talents might make him an ideal fit in Duke blue, but the Blue Devils have plenty of competition for the Georgia star, who already holds 15 scholarship offers. BDN caught up with Jay for an update on his recruiting process. [private]

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

My strength as a player is that I feel like I have a good pass rush on the quarterback and I’m a downhill, get off the line kind of player.

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

Things I’m working on - my body weight and everything. My weaknesses I feel I need to improve on is against the double teams and the run block.

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

The major thing is the education, this is my first priority, I tell all the coaches, wherever I’m going I have to have a good education.

BDN: That’s great that you’re emphasizing your education; is there a particular field you want to study?

Yes, my major is pharmacy and my minor is physical therapy.

BDN: Where do you stand with offers and interest from schools now?

I have 15 offers right now. The schools that are recruiting me the hardest is in between Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, even though all colleges contact me, I feel like they send me email every day of the week.

BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit or do you have plans to take any visits later this spring or summer?

Right now the schools that I’ve visited are Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, South Florida, and I’m planning on visiting the colleges that have offered me like Missouri, Duke, Vandy, Ole Miss, and I’m trying to get out to USC for like an official visit.

BDN: Living in the Southeast, are there any schools or conferences that you are particularly interested in, or followed closely growing up?

Right now I’m open to trying to go anywhere. Growing up, I loved Georgia and everything, but right now I’m open to everywhere. All the colleges that have offered me, I want to go through the process and see the pros and cons of each school.

BDN: Are there any schools that have stood out to you at this point, either on your visits or your conversations with coaches?

Right at this point, no sir, all the schools are neutral in my mind. I don’t have a favorite. I don’t have a top 5. I’m thinking of making my top 5 during the summer and picking a school during my football season.

BDN: You have several ACC schools that are interested in you and you’ve had a chance to visit Georgia Tech already. Can you talk a little bit about your interest in the ACC schools that have offered you, like Georgia Tech, Duke, and Virginia?

The ACC is close by, it’s close to home and everything, it’s not that far it’s just down the East Coast and everything. Each team that’s recruiting me from the ACC, I love the defense they run. Each team I looked at their defense that they run and I think that they would fit me. Duke, Virginia, Georgia Tech, and there’s more that I can’t remember right now. But, the ACC is a big possibility, I feel like they have some of the top schools in the country going into next year, that’s how I feel right now.

BDN: You mentioned you hope to have a top 5 over the summer; where would you say you are in the recruiting process right now and what is the timeline for making your final decision?

Right now in my recruiting process I’m talking to coaches, making my visits to schools and everything. In summertime, mid-summer, I’m going to come up with my top 5 and then in the season I’ll take my official visits to schools and by the end of the season, or signing day, I’ll make my decision.

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

Thank you.

[/private]

Ross Cockrell is developing into a shutdown corner for the Blue Devils -BDN Photo

BDN interview with Defensive MVP Ross Cockrell after Duke Spring Game

DURHAM- Ross Cockrell had a strong day on Saturday for the white team defense, helping to hold the blue team offense to just 17 points. Cockrell helped to keep starting QB Sean Renfree uneasy all afternoon, finishing with 4 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 bass break-ups, and 1 quarterback pressure. His efforts earned him Defensive MVP for the game, and BDN caught up with him for his thoughts on his performance and the close of spring practice.

 

Duke-football

BDN Football Friday: Spring Game Preview

 

Coach Cutcliffe and the team will kickoff the festivities with the Blue Devil Walk at 11AM Saturday- BDN Photo

Are you ready for some football, Blue Devil Nation? Saturday afternoon will be your last chance until September 1st to see some Duke Football, so get your fill. The Blue Devils will take to the field on Saturday at 1PM in Wallace Wade Stadium for their annual spring game. BDN’s Football Friday is here for your preview.

 

Logistics

First of all, highs in the upper 70s, with a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms. Should be a perfect spring day for some football if the rains miss the Methodist Flats. That also means a perfect day for some tailgating. Get there early, as the team will conduct the Blue Devil Walk at 11:00 AM. Team BDN will be there in full force, so be sure to say hi. Here’s the information on the parking situation. Bring your wallets, even though admission is free (stadium gates open at 11:15), as there will be plenty of opportunities to get your Blue Devil gear, as well as stuff your face with Chick-fil-a, Domino’s, and Blue Devil Concessions. Oh, and the most important reason to bring your wallet is to purchase your 2012 season tickets. Ticket office reps will be on hand and help you pick your exact seats. Try before you buy. The game kicks off at 1PM and Coach Cutcliffe will address the crowd during halftime of the scrimmage. Spring practice awards will also be announced at halftime.

TE Issac Blakeney has had a big spring for the Blue Devils

Scouting the Blue Devil Offense

The Duke offense will feature a number of familiar faces, but it’s likely to be the unfamiliar ones who will make an impression on Saturday. We all know what Conner Vernon is capable of at wide receiver, but as he’s been limited due to injury this spring, expect to see a lot of Blair Holliday and Jamison Crowder, both of whom have had very strong spring performances. Nick Hill is another young face who appears ready to contribute, and Corey Gattis and Tyree Watkins add a veteran presence to the receiving corps. With Jack Farrell and Braxton Deaver sidelined with injuries, the Blue Devils had concerns at wide receiver heading into spring practice. Coming out of spring practice, tight end is no longer a concern, and you’ll likely see why as Issac Blakeney and David Reeves are sure to impress.

Up front, the Duke offensive line returns all but graduating senior Kyle Hill, and that continuity should benefit the Blue Devil offense. This group has improved each year under Coach Cutcliffe, and they’re looking to take a big step forward this fall under new OL Coach John Latina. Expect to see a few holes opened for the likes of the now healthy Josh Snead and last year’s leading rusher Juwan Thompson, who have seen the majority of carries with senior Desmond Scott nursing injury. If that trio isn’t impressive enough for you, the Blue Devils will add two more big-time running backs in just a few months, as Jela Duncan and Shaquille Powell will push for early playing time.

Am I forgetting something? Ah, yes, quarterback. While Peyton Manning had been a fixture in the Duke practice facilities this offseason, he will not be taking snaps under center for the Blue Devils on Saturday. Sean Renfree remains entrenched as the starter, and he’s had yet another good spring running the Duke offense. While much of spring practice is situational, Renfree has shown the ability to get the ball downfield, averaging 15.7 yards per completion in the last scrimmage. But Renfree’s old news, right? Coach Cutcliffe and the Duke staff have been looking at ways to get guys like Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone more involved in the offense, and they’ve done well with running the ball and catching the ball in some unique schemes. But don’t get too excited. Knowing the Duke coaching staff, the Blue Devils are unlikely to show off anything particularly new or exciting on Saturday, so we’ll all just have to wait until the fall. Expect to see Connette, Boone, and freshman Thomas Sirk take several snaps under center in relief of Renfree; all have taken big steps forward in their command of the offense this spring.

Ross Cockrell has developed into a shutdown corner for the Blue Devils

Scouting the Blue Devil Defense

Somehow, it seems that Duke has had a perpetually young defense the past few years, and that remain the case this spring, though they are overall more experienced. The losses of Matt Daniels and Charlie Hatcher will be the biggest voids to fill, and there are a number of candidates looking to contribute. Up front, Duke will be without their top pass-rushers Saturday in Kenny Anunike and Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo, but will feature much of the same group of athletic ends we saw a year ago, led by Justin Foxx, Dezmond Johnson, and Jamal Wallace. Sydney Sarmiento, Jamal Bruce, and Nick Sink are likely to see the majority of time on the inside up front. The defensive line continues to improve under Coach Petri and has the benefit of going up against a big and experienced offensive line in practice.

At linebacker, the Blue Devils will be without Kelby Brown for the foreseeable future, but expect sophomore David Helton to continue to impress. The redshirt is off for Kelby’s younger, but bigger, brother Kyler, and it appears that a nose for the football is in their genes. Austin Gamble is the lone upperclassman, though sophomores C.J. France and Jon Woodruff have some experience. And before you get down on the Blue Devil linebackers, keep in mind that stud recruits Keilin Rayner and Deion Williams will be on campus in just a few months.

Coach Knowles’ 4-2-5 scheme relies heavily on the secondary, and the emergence of Ross Cockrell as a shutdown corner is key. He’ll be joined by senior Lee Butler at cornerback, though youngsters Jared Boyd and Tim Burton will see time. The leader of the secondary this year is most likely to be leading returning tackler Walt Canty, though hard-hitting Jordon Byas has also turned some heads with August Campbell sidelined this spring. Newcomers to look for at safety include the hard-working Chris Tavarez, Britton Grier, transfer Jeremy Cash, and former WR Brandon Braxton. All should see snaps on Saturday and overall, this group has some of the best playmakers on the defensive side.

Scouting the Blue Devil Special Teams

Will Monday. That’s about all you need to know. With Will Snyderwine and Alex King now graduated, Monday has handled all of the punting and kicking duties this spring, and handled them well. By the fall, incoming freshman Ross Martin may challenge him for the placekicking duties, but expect to see Monday handle the punting for the next four years in Durham. On the return side, Jamison Crowder remains the Blue Devils’ top threat, but he’ll be joined by incoming freshman DeVon Edwards this fall, who took more than a few kicks to the house during his high school career. In all likelihood, getting to see Monday punt and kick should be a refreshing sight for Blue Devil fans and the only real highlight on special teams Saturday.

Recruiting still sizzling

Who are all those people with lanyards and nametags? That would be the dozens of high school prospects and their families who will be on campus this weekend to take in the Blue Devil program. Several members of the Duke class of 2012 will be on hand Saturday, and they’ll be joined by a huge group of future prospects. With 3 commitments already on board in 2013, the coaching staff is flying high on the trail and will have in some of their top targets in this class, including a handful considered among the nation’s elite. Coach Cutcliffe and his staff work on recruiting every single day, and this weekend will be no exception. And just like the staff, we follow the recruiting trail here at BDN, so be sure to check out some of our recent interviews with the likes of TE Nathan Marcus, and OL Sterling Korona, and of course lots more to come. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Devils hear more good news by the end of this weekend.

In case you haven’t figured it out already, Blue Devil Nation is the place to be for Duke Football fans. We cover the team year-round, and would love to have you join our growing BDN Premium community. We can’t wait to see you all in Wallace Wade Stadium this Saturday. WE ARE DUKE.

Duke-football

Duke Football Signing Day 2012

 

It’s Signing Day for Duke Football! Coach Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils officially will welcome the class of 2012 into the Duke family today. BDN has all the coverage, including Mark Watson live at Coach Cutcliffe’s afternoon press conference.

National Letters of Intent Received

TE Erich Schneider
Height: 6’7″
Weight: 220 pounds
High School: Episcopal
Hometown: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #151 WR

TE Dan Beilinson
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 240 pounds
High School: Panther Creek
Hometown: Cary, North Carolina
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #22 TE

OL Casey Blaser
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 255 pounds
High School: South Mecklenburg
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #105 OT

K Ross Martin
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 190 pounds
High School: Walsh Jesuit
Hometown: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #2 K

DL A.J. Wolf
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 245 pounds
High School: Hackley
Hometown: Tarrytown, New York
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #167 DE

DL Allen Jackson
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 235 pounds
High School: McDonough
Hometown: Owings Mills, Maryland
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #86 DE

DL Carlos Wray
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 280 pounds
High School: Shelby
Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #94 DE

WR Anthony Nash
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 180 pounds
High School: Bayard Rustin
Hometown: West Chester, Pennsylvania
ESPN ranking: 2 stars, #187 WR

ATH DeVon Edwards
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 170 pounds
High School: Alcovy
Hometown: Covington, Georgia
ESPN ranking: Not Available

OL Tanner Stone
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 280 pounds
High School: Highland Park
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
ESPN ranking: 2 stars, #163 OG

SAF Michael Westray
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 195 pounds
High School: Westlake
Hometown: Waldorf, Maryland
ESPN ranking: 2 stars, #168 SAF

WR Max McCaffrey
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 190 pounds
High School: Valor Christian
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
ESPN ranking: 2 stars, #232 WR

DL Michael Mann
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 220 pounds
High School: Valor Christian
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #122 DE

SAF Dwayne Norman
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 195 pounds
High School: University Christian
Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #50 SAF

RB Jela Duncan
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 190 pounds
High School: Mallard Creek
Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #40 RB

SAF Corbin McCarthy
Height: 5’10″
Weight: 200 pounds
High School: Norco
Hometown: Norco, California
ESPN ranking: 2 stars, #143 SAF

LB Deion Williams
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 225 pounds
High School: Lutheran
Hometown: Orange, California
ESPN ranking: 2 stars, #7 FB

LB Keilin Rayner
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 215 pounds
High School: North Brunswick
Hometown: Leland, North Carolina
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #74 OLB

RB Shaquille Powell
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 196 pounds
High School: Bishop Gorman
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
ESPN ranking: 3 stars, #56 RB

Dwayne Norman signs his NLI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jela Duncan picks Duke on National Signing Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casey Blaser signs his NLI
Duke safety Matt Daniels is poised for an All-ACC senior season

BDN Football Friday previews the 2011 Duke defense

This is it, baby. The last Football Friday before training camp opens. Get excited, Blue Devil Nation! Football season is here. This week, BDN’s Bob Green looks at the 2011 Blue Devils’ bowl hopes, and we also previewed the October matchup with ACC favorite Florida State. As promised, we’ve got an in-depth look at the 2011 Blue Devil defense this week, so without further ado…

BDN Duke Football 2011 Team Preview: Defense

It’s no secret that the Duke defense struggled mightily in 2010. Simply put, the Blue Devils were unable to stop opposing offenses, placing nearly impossible pressure on the offense and first-year starting QB Sean Renfree to outscore opponents. The experiment with a 3-4 defense was short-lived and essentially doomed the Blue Devil defense. Without a clear defensive scheme or identity, Duke’s defenders often appeared out of position or overmatched. On the whole, the effort was there, but the execution was inconsistent. Jim Knowles takes over as Defensive Coordinator in 2011, and Rick Petri joins the staff as Defensive Line coach.

Defensive Line

Losses: Patrick Egboh, Wesley Oglesby, Eriks Reks

Key returners: Charlie Hatcher (R-Sr.), Kenny Anunike (R-Jr.), Curtis Hazelton (R-Jr.), Justin Foxx (R-So.), Syndey Sarmiento (R-So.)

Newcomers: Jamal Bruce (R-Fr.),Will Bryant (F-Fr.), Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo (R-Fr.), Steven Ingram (R-Fr.), Dezmond Johnson (R-Fr.), Nick Sink (R-Fr.), Jamal Wallace (R-Fr.), Lucas Fisher (Fr.), Carson Ginn (Fr.), Sam Marshall (Fr.), Mario Sanders (Fr.)

2010 Review: Simply put, the Duke defensive line was unable to stop the run and failed to pressure opposing quarterbacks. After showing improvements between 2006 and 2008, the defensive line began a two-year slide in 2009. The line came up with just 19 sacks in 2009, allowing 153 yards per game rushing (4.0 average yards per carry). The numbers declined again in 2010, finishing with just 12 sacks and giving up 208 rushing yards per game (4.8 average yards per game). Those numbers finished last in the ACC and 113th in the country. Overall, the group battled through injuries and midseason schematic changes, but failed to find consistent success.

2011 Outlook: With seven redshirt-freshmen, along with four true freshmen, entering the depth chart this fall, this will be the deepest line Coach Cutcliffe has had at Duke, at least in numbers. With a preponderance of youth and inexperience, the hope is that Coach Petri, who is known as a great teacher, can accelerate the growth of this group. Overall, the unit should have improved size and speed relative to recent years, but significantly less experience. While projected starters Hatcher, Foxx, Sarmiento, and Anunike are expected to play the majority of snaps, they will be frequently rotated with several of the first-year players. Much like the Duke running game, the Blue Devil defensive linemen have to find ways to improve over their 2009 and 2010 numbers. Reports indicate that the talent is there to improve and compete, and now the players will have to go out and execute if Duke hopes to become bowl-eligible in 2011.

 

Duke hopes that Kelby (left) and Kyler (right) Brown will anchor the 2011 linebackers

Linebackers

Losses: Adam Banks, Abraham Kromah, Damian Thornton

Key returners: Austin Gamble (Jr.), Kevin Rojas (R-So.), Kelby Brown (So.)

Newcomers: C.J. France (R-Fr.), Kyler Brown (Fr.), Britton Grier (Fr.), David Helton (Fr.), Jon Woodruff (Fr.)

2010 Review: The Blue Devils’ defense has seen their leading tackler come from the linebacking corps in seven straight seasons, and that tradition continued in 2010 with Abraham Kromah. Kromah was an unsung hero on the Duke defense, finishing with a team-best 123 tackles, which was good enough for 2nd in the ACC behind BC All-American Luke Kuechly. Even with five of the top six linebackers returning in 2010, freshman Kelby Brown proved to be too good to keep off the field. After burning his redshirt against Alabama, Brown was the biggest surprise of the year on defense, earning freshman All-American honors and leading the country in fumble recoveries per game. Injuries slowed the linebackers as a whole, and Brown saw his breakout season come to an early end with a knee injury against Georgia Tech. Departing seniors Kromah, Damian Thornton, and Adam Banks leave big openings on the depth chart heading into 2011.

2011 Outlook: Though the success of the Duke defense will begin (or end) with the defensive line, the linebackers also present question marks heading into the 2011 season. Kelby Brown is the only returning player with significant starting experience, and he is recovering from season-ending ACL surgery. The newcomers are likely to push Gamble and Rojas for playing time, and that competition should be interesting to watch starting on Monday. If Kyler Brown can replicate some of his brother’s freshman success, or if France, Grier, Helton, or Woodruff can contribute ahead of schedule, then this group again could be a pleasant surprise for the 2011 Blue Devils.

Duke safety Matt Daniels is poised for an All-ACC senior season

Safeties

Losses: none

Key returners: Lee Butler (Sr.), Matt Daniels (Sr.), Jordon Byas (R-Jr.), Walt Canty (Jr.), August Campbell (R-So.), Anthony Young-Wiseman (R-So.)

Newcomers: Chris Tavarez (Fr.)

2010 Review: It’s hard to say that any position group had a good year among the 2010 Duke defense, but the safeties probably contributed the most to the small success that was had. Daniels, Canty, and Butler all finished in the top 7 in tackles for the 2010 defense. The safeties produced some of the defenses’ biggest plays in 2010, and that play-making ability ultimately led the staff to end the season with primarily a 4-2-5 scheme. In a tight fourth quarter at Navy, Matt Daniels forced a key fumble to secure the Duke victory. In a game where the offense struggled against Boston College, August Campbell’s school record 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown ignited the Duke team.

2011 Outlook: The deepest position on the Duke defense by far, the success of the 4-2-5 scheme will rely on safeties to become key playmakers. Duke will return all of their safety playmakers from 2010, though they will be without redshirt-freshman Issac Blakeney for academic reasons. Even without Blakeney, this will be the deepest and most experienced group among the Duke defenders. Senior Matt Daniels is poised for an All-ACC campaign, along with fellow senior Lee Butler. Byas, Canty, and Campbell are all capable of significant improvements over their 2010 efforts. If the Duke cornerbacks can provide good coverage, the safeties should find themselves in position to slow oppfisher rushers and make plays all over the field.

Cornerbacks

Losses: Chris Rwabukamba

Key Returners: Johnny Williams (Sr.), Tony Foster (R-Jr.), Zach Greene (R-Jr.), Ross Cockrell (R-So.), Garrett Patterson (R-So.)

Newcomers: Jared Boyd (Fr.), Tim Burton (Fr.)

2010 Review: Cornerback seemed to be a feast or famine position for the 2010 Blue Devils. Missed coverages, poorly-read throws, and converted third-and-longs plagued the Duke corners all year. That being said, senior Chris Rwabukamba was the top coverage guy, forcing opponents to look elsewhere. Cockrell and Williams, two of the team’s top athletes, but both playing their first year of college defense, struggled mightily. Overall, Duke finished last in the ACC in pass defense. Cockerel was just the second freshman to lead the Blue Devils in interceptions, giving fans a glimpse of his potential coverage ability.

2011 Outlook: This is another group that needs to show significant improvement in 2011 for the Blue Devils to win. The inconsistencies and missed coverages seen in 2010 cannot happen if Duke is going to be able to improve on their ACC-worst pass defense. If the corners are unable to shut down opposing receivers, the Duke safeties will be unable to be aggressive against the run. Cockrell, Williams, Greene and Foster are likely to start the year at the top of the depth chart, but any struggles will give an opportunity for highly-touted freshman Jared Boyd. Collectively, Duke has some of their best athletes at cornerback, and those athletes will have to play with more confidence and poise than 2010.

Next week

Practice kicks off on Monday! The Blue Devils will practice every day next week, putting on pads for the first time on Friday morning. BDN will be your best source for coverage inside Duke’s training camp, as the Blue Devils prepare for the 2011 season. WE ARE DUKE.