Blue Devil Nation welcomes back its loyal readers to another edition of Friday Night Lights. With the last Friday night of September in the books, gridiron action has kicked into high gear across the United States. This week, in addition to checking in on many of Duke's 2013 verbal commits, BDN expands its coverage to include reports on several prospects in the high school class of 2014.
Starting with the 2013 commits:
Over in Charlotte, NC, Statesville routed Carson 56-13 as the Greyhounds improved to 6-1 on the season. Cornerback Breon Borders commented afterwards, "It went okay! We crushed them by 40. I always can play better though. Overall, it was an easy win." Borders was credited with six solo tackles in the win.
Ft. Myers (FL) quarterback T.J. Douglas summed up his performance in his team's victory over Charlotte High, "I had 218 yards rushing, two TDs rushing, two TDs passing, and 270 all purpose yards." Fort Myers defeated Charlotte 36-31 to stay undefeated at 5-0.
Staying in Ft. Myers, FL, Johnell Barnes caught a 5 yard touchdown pass in the 1st quarter as Dunbar defeated LaBelle 39-6. After the game, Barnes commented, "It went well. I had seven catches for about 100 yards and two touchdowns." Dunbar improves to 4-2 for the season.
Parker Boehme and Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood defeated Parker 7-6. Boehme passed for 128 yards including a 36 yard touchdown, while rushing 14 times for 70 yards in the victory. Sandalwood's record is now 3-2.
In Texas, Mansfield faced crosstown rival Timberview and ended up on the short end of a 36-20 score. Offensive lineman Austin Davis commented, "It was a tough game. I did really good and shoved my guy around."
Jake Kite and Hidden Valley High School of Roanoke, VA ran to a 35-12 victory over Bassett to run their record to 2-3.
Going into this week's game, Kite's statistics included 12 receptions for 198 yards and four touchdowns, but Hidden Valley only attempted two passes in this game. On defense, coming into the Bassett game, Kite had recorded 36.5 tackles, including 28 solo takedowns.
Also in Virginia, Evrett Edwards and Woodbridge defeated Osbourne 27-7 to improve to 4-1.
Welcome back to another edition of Friday Night Lights as Blue Devil Nation takes you on a tour around the United States, checking on gridiron performances of future Blue Devils. This edition starts in Northern Virginia as we check in with Defensive Back Evrett Edwards.
Edwards had three receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown as Woodbridge defeated Gar-Field 48-20. After the game, Edwards stated, "It went well. We had almost 500 yards rushing, a great rivalry game." On the defensive side of the ball, Edwards was credited with four tackles.
In North Carolina, after Statesville defeated North Iredell 42-0, cornerback Breon Borders exclaimed, "We dominated the whole game...but me individually, there isn't really much to say. I didn't let my receiver off the line the whole game. They didn't pass to my side one time!" Borders recorded four solo tackles in the win.
In California, running back Joseph Ajeigbe rushed for 127 yards in Norco's 39-16 victory over previously undefeated La Serna. La Serna built a 16-6 lead in the first quarter, but Norco responded by reeling off 33 straight points. Discussing his role in the victory, Ajeigbe declared, "I was more a decoy this game. They were loading eight in the box in preparation for the run."
Looking toward next week, Ajeigbe stated, "This week we have a big game coming up. We're playing nationally ranked Mission Hills Alemany. It should be a good test for us as a team as we prepare to go into league play."
In Georgia, defensive tackle Mike Ramsay described The Walker School's victory, "We won a tough one 21-14 over Mt. Zion. We are now 4-0 for the first time in Walker School history."
Heading to Texas, offensive lineman Austin Davis commented on Mansfield's loss to South Grand Prairie, "We lost on a game-winning field goal 21-23. We rushed for 200 yards and had an average game. I did a good job and handled my opponent."
This week's edition closes out by checking in with three prospects in Florida.
T.J. Douglas ran for 94 yards on 12 carries, including a 69-yard touchdown and tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass as Fort Myers defeated Riverdale 15-0 to improve to 4-0 on the season. Douglas is number 10 in green in the video clip.
This week's Blue Devil Nation review of high school gridiron action starts with in-state verbal commit Quay Mann, who scored two touchdowns, on runs of 10 and 15 yards. Mann rushed nine times for 65 yards overall. Unfortunately, Tarboro defeated Mann's Northern Nash team 47-35. When asked for his thoughts on the game, Mann told Blue Devil Nation, "It was a good game. We kept trading leads until the very end."
Evrett Edwards' Woodbridge (Va.) Vikings defeated the Franklin County Eagles 27-7. After the game, Edwards told Blue Devil Nation, "We played extremely well. I had a 46 yard kick return, four catches for 51 yards and three tackles."
Also in Virginia, Jake Kite caught two passes for 41 yards as Hidden Valley shut out William Byrd 10-0.
Moving on to action from Florida, quarterback T.J. Douglas of Ft. Myers High racked up some impressive statistics in a 29-12 victory over Lehigh. Douglas completed eight of 14 passes for 135 yards, while scoring twice on one-yard runs. Douglas's eight completions went to seven different receivers.
Also in the Ft. Myers area, Dunbar defeated East Lee County 45-0. Cornerback Johnell Barnes commented, "We started off a little slow, but in the second half we came out and dominated."
In Jacksonville, quarterback Parker Boehme and Sandalwood defeated Baldwin 48-20. Boehme is #12 in these video highlights. This season preview states there are great expectations for Sandalwood this season.
Ja, Part Eine. As in part eine von zwei. Go ahead, Google Translate it. It means there's even more coming, but only if you're a BDN Premium Member.
"I love Duke Football, but it's impossible to keep up with recruiting. There's just too many players, too many camps, too many rankings. Basketball recruiting is so much easier to follow."
We hear that a lot, and it's time somebody did something about it. #dukegang is off to a great start in the class of 2013, so there's no better time to start following Duke Football recruiting. Read on for the first installment of our BDN Premium Football Recruiting update.
I don't actually speak German, by the way. Maybe we'll do a Football Friday in a foreign language one day. That would be something. Ok, so football recruiting is all over the place (kind of like my writing) and impossible to follow, right? Well, let's simplify it, for all of us. Yes, there are hundreds of prospects interested in and visiting Duke; yes, there are hundreds of prospects that Duke is interested in or evaluating. The key, my friends, is to find where those two groups overlap. Since we know the Blue Devils have some work to do on the defensive side of the ball, let's start there. Here's an educated guess as to the top of Duke's defensive recruiting board:
None in the truck so far, here, but a promising start with a couple of big-time players.
Devin Washington is a 6'2" 225 pound defensive end prospect from Orlando, FL. He took a visit to Duke a few weeks ago and came away impressed. "Duke was amazing, left a lasting impression on me. It was extraordinary! So blessed to have the opportunity to be able to have this experience." One of the highlights of his trip was being able to take his father, a big Duke fan, out onto Coach K court in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The staff remains in regular contact with him, led by Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Collins. But, before you go out and start buying Washington Duke jerseys (puns are fun!), the Blue Devils have quite a bit of competition, which should come as no surprise for a player who has four stars after his name and recently took home DL MVP honors at the Nike camp in Orlando. Devin picked up his 25th offer today, from Purdue. Washington is expected to put together a list of his top schools after he wraps up spring practice, and there's a good chance that Duke will make that cut, but they're likely to be joined by several others, most likely NC State, South Carolina, and UCF.
Maurice Hurst is a 6'2" 275 pound defensive tackle prospect from Westwood, MA. He recently wrapped up a whirlwind college tour, and included a stop in Durham. In all likelihood, the Blue Devils have some ground to make up, but Hurst is a top-notch student and would fill a huge need in the middle of Duke's defensive line.
Jaylen Miller and Jay Woods are two more of the Blue Devils' top DL targets, with Miller likely projecting as a DE and Woods a DT at the college level. BDN caught up with both earlier this spring, and the Duke staff is looking forward to hosting both prospects on unofficial visits soon. For Miller, Duke will face stiff competition from Florida and in-state Clemson and South Carolina, as well as rival UNC. Coach Jones, a South Carolina native, heads up Miller's recruitment for the Blue Devils. Woods' list of suitors continues to grow and includes national powers like USC and Nebraska, but the Blue Devils will have their shot, led by Coach Middleton.
I still say Jim Collins is under appreciated for the job he has done with the linebacking corps in Durham. Year after year, he puts out All-ACC caliber players, and landed a very good one this past recruiting year in Keilin Rayner. The Blue Devils are looking to add more playmakers to their linebackers, and have targeted a few of the nation's elite so far.
Michael Deeb is a 6'2" 235 pound linebacker from Davie, Florida. Deeb played his first year at linebacker as a junior, racking up 92 tackles, after starting his career as a defensive end. He is cut from a similar mold as Duke's Kelby and Kyler Brown - a big, physical specimen with deceptive speed and great instincts. Boasting a 3.8 GPA, he's earned a host of suitors, which include programs like Penn State, Vanderbilt, and West Virginia. Deeb is planning a college tour this summer, which will hopefully include a stop in Durham.
Oren Burks, a Virginia native, is the other top target at linebacker, a player the Blue Devils offered a couple weeks ago on his unofficial visit to Durham. At 6'3" and 200 pounds, Burks delivers a punishing hit and is being courted by a number of programs. His HS, South County, recently produced a pair of Virginia Tech LBs, and the Hokies are among the schools to have offered the standout junior.
With three of the five CBs on campus as upperclassmen, the Blue Devils will need to reload at cornerback in the class of 2013, and reloading they are. With two cornerbacks committed, Duke is still looking for more.
Evrett Edwards is a stud. Sure, the Blue Devils have brought in some athletic cornerbacks in recent classes, but none have the potential to become an All-ACC shutdown cornerback like Edwards. While Duke was one of the first to discover this diamond in the rough, playing for a 6-4 Woodbridge team, they are certainly not the last. Edwards recently cracked the double-digit offer threshold and shows no signs of slowing down. Several schools have stopped by to take in his spring practice, including ACC power Florida State. After his commitment to Duke, Edwards took unofficial visits to Illinois and Northwestern, which he had scheduled prior to his decision. Luckily for Blue Devils' fans, Edwards appears to be a man of his word, and his commitment to Duke remains solid.
Dequavais Mann is a hard first name to spell, but a very nice in-state sleeper prospect (another player on a not-so-great HS team). A player with good natural speed and athleticism, he's impressed on the spring circuit and is one of #dukegang's most vocal supporters on Twitter. He's a solid addition to the program and a firm commitment at this point.
Malik Rucker is another impressive athlete who projects at either the cornerback or safety position, and a player that the Duke staff has been in on early. At 5'11" and 175 pounds from Minneapolis, MN, Rucker comes from the heart of Big 10 country, but has interest in the ACC. His cousin played wide receiver at Boston College, and another cousin played running back at Iowa State; but, with 16 scholarship offers, he's wide open at this point. Expect Rucker to take some weekend visits over the next few months and look to make a decision in the fall.
Godwin Igwebuike is another athlete from Big 10 country (Pickerington, Ohio) near the top of the Blue Devils' recruiting board. With the potential to play on either side of the ball, Igwebuike has amassed over a dozen scholarship offers and is drawing interest from regional powers Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. Duke was on Igwebuike early, as Derek Jones extended an offer on a recruiting visit last December. The Blue Devils hope to get the powerful athlete on campus later this year.
With one commitment already on board at safety, Duke is looking to find another player or two to help fill the void left by now departed All-ACC safety Matt Daniels. With several upperclassmen poised to graduate in 2013, the Blue Devils can offer early playing time for impact players at the safety position in their 4-2-5 scheme.
Jake Kite is as good as his highlight film, by all accounts. He plays smart, he plays mean, and he hits hard. This was a very good pickup early in the recruiting season for the Blue Devils, and he's a solid commitment, though plenty of other schools will come calling.
Speaking of poaching recruits, two can play that game. Duke remains in pursuit of Durham's own Korrin Wiggins, a safety from Hillside HS, alma mater of Duke's Desmond Scott, Corey Gattis, and Brandon Watkins. Wiggins, of course, committed to the boys in Columbia blue in February after watching Austin Rivers bury the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. It may be too little, too late, but Coach Middleton is leading the charge to try and persuade Wiggins to a different shade of blue.
Austin Logan is a good-looking safety prospect from Tallahassee, Florida. An outstanding student-athlete, his list includes the usual suspects for a player of his caliber - Stanford, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Duke. Of course, there are plenty of others, but expect those four schools to be in the running for 6'1" 180 pound prospect.
For the superstitious among you, that's the lucky 13 at the top of Duke's defensive recruiting board in the class of 2013. Now, I ask, was that still too overwhelming? Can't you spare a few of those brain cells you use to memorize Bachelorette contestants? Ugh, well, we tried. More to come, as we break down the top of the offensive recruiting board sometime soon. And yes, I'll work on a Football Friday, too. Spoiled rotten, all of you.
Head Coach David Cutcliffe and the Duke coaching staff received their 3rd verbal commitment in the class of 2013 on Wednesday from Virginia CB Evrett Edwards. Edwards is a 5’11″ 175 pound cornerback prospect from Woodbridge HS in Woodbridge, VA. Though he didn’t start playing football until 8th grade, Edwards was a quick study, learning from his uncle, Benny Guilbeaux, a former safety at Notre Dame. By his junior year in 2011, Edwards earned 1st Team All-District honors, totaling 38 tackles, 6 interceptions, 4 pass break-ups, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 blocked field goals, and 1 blocked punt. The speedy prospect has seen his recruitment take off in recent weeks, and he chose the Blue Devils over scholarship offers from Boston College, Illinois, Ohio, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. He picked up his Duke scholarship offer on a March 17th visit to Durham and caught up with BDN shortly afterwards. He updated BDN today on his decision to commit to Duke.
BDN: Can you tell us about the decision you made today?
I called Coach Cutcliffe around 2:30 and told him I wanted to be a Blue Devil and I wanted to play for him after I finish high school.
BDN: What did Coach Cutcliffe have to say to you?
We were both very excited. He was proud. He was glad that I called him first, he was very glad about that. He let my position coach and my recruiting coach know.
BDN: I know that your family was involved in your decision; are they excited for you as well?
Yes, very much so!
BDN: What was it that ultimately led to your decision to commit to Duke today?
The fact that - the relationships there. I did my research on the school, I didn't do what most players do and look at uniforms and what not, I looked at the endowment, what I can do for the school and what the school can do for me, and I really liked that. And just the relationships - the conversation that I had with Coach Cutcliffe, it was very big in my decision.
BDN: I'm sure Duke fans will be excited to hear from you; is there anything you want to let them know?
BDN: Alright, thanks a lot Evrett and congratulations!
During Coach Cutcliffe's revitalization of Duke football, he has maintained the program's reputation for featuring the top student-athletes in the ACC. A year ago, the program led the ACC with 19 Academic All-Conference selections, more than three times any other ACC program. The goal is to match that success in the classroom with the results on the field, and ultimately, that effort starts on the recruiting trail. This weekend, Coach Cutcliffe extended a scholarship offer to a top student-athlete from Virginia, who he hopes can help the Blue Devils continue to build their success both in the classroom and on the field.
Evrett Edwards is a 5'11" 175 pound cornerback prospect from Woodbridge HS in Woodbridge, VA. Though he didn't start playing football until 8th grade, Edwards was a quick study, learning from his uncle, Benny Guilbeaux, a former safety at Notre Dame. By his junior year in 2011, Edwards earned 1st Team All-District honors, totaling 38 tackles, 6 interceptions, 4 pass break-ups, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 blocked field goals, and 1 blocked punt. The speedy prospect has seen his recruitment take off in recent weeks, and he now holds 6 scholarship offers from Boston College, Duke, Illinois, Ohio, Wake Forest, and West Virginia. BDN caught up with Evrett shortly after his unofficial visit to Duke on March 17. [private]
BDN: How would you describe your strengths as a player?
My understanding for the game. I’ve been told that I have a very high football IQ. I use that to my advantage. I study a lot of film, I study so much film to the point where I know if they run a certain play, I know what their whole drive will consist of. My footwork, I play soccer, so at my position footwork is a big deal. My quickness and my speed, I run a 4.42 [second] 40 [yard dash] and 3.91 [second] 20-yard shuttle.
BDN: What are you working on this offseason as you prepare for your senior year?
First of all, better myself. Second of all, better the people around me, and through that, obtain a state championship.
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 will last with me for 40 years. I understand that football is going to be finished at some point, and whenever football is done with me and I’m done with football, I need a degree from a school that is going to mean something in the business world. So, a 40-year, not a 4-year school.
BDN: Is business something you want to study in college?
BDN: Where do you stand with offers and visits now?
I have 6 offers, most recent came from Duke yesterday. Earlier this week, on Tuesday, I got one from Wake Forest. On Friday, last week, was West Virginia. Thursday last week was Boston College and Wednesday last week was Ohio. Two or three weeks ago, my first offer came from Illinois.
BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit?
I’ve visited Duke and UVA thus far. I’m really trying to plan a visit to West Virginia and then April 13th I’m going to Northwestern, they’re interested and talking about a possible offer. On the 14th I’m going to the University of Illinois.
BDN: Can you talk a little bit about your visits to UVA and Duke and what stood out to you about those schools?
Virginia, I talked to Coach Poindexter and he invited me to their Junior Day so we went down and visited, sat down and went over some film with Coach West, nothing serious. Duke, I’ve been in contact with Coach Roper for quite some time now, I went to spring practice, liked what I saw, had a chance to see the position coaches, watched film with them in a meeting, and then at the end of the day, Coach Cutcliffe called me into his office along with my parents. He told me he wanted to extend me an offer and thought that I would be a perfect fit for this school with my upbringing from my parents and how it’s hard to find true student-athletes that excel both in the classroom and on the field, and he really liked that about me.
BDN: Do you have a timeline in mind for when you plan to narrow things down or make your final decision?
I had been saying November/December, but now, after the way things have been going the past couple of weeks, I really don’t have a timeframe. I’ve prayed about it with my parents and when I get that feeling, I’m going to make the phone call and drive or fly to whatever school and talk to the coach.