Coach Cutcliffe added his first commitments in the Duke class of 2013 today as Monroe QB Quay Chambers and Texas OL Austin Davis committed to the Blue Devils.
Chambers is a 6'3" 190 pound dual-threat prospect from Monroe High School, the same program that has produced current Duke players Issac Blakeney and Jamison Crowder. The Blue Devils were the first program to offer Chambers a scholarship back in February, and hosted the speedy athlete on an unofficial visit on March 3. After missing most of his sophomore year with an ankle injury, Chambers finished his junior season at Monroe with 1,776 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air and 1,221 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. His efforts earned him All-Conference honors for his junior season. The Blue Devils will likely bring Chambers in as an athlete, as they have with Crowder and Blakeney. "It wasn't a hard decision because Duke was my favorite school growing up and I always wanted to go there, so when they offered me, I had to take advantage of it," Chambers told BDN Saturday afternoon. "Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Lubick have been recruiting me and talking about playing QB or WR." Chambers was also receiving interest from UNC, NC State, and ECU.
Davis is a 6'5" 295 pound offensive lineman who projects as a center at the college level, but can also play guard and tackle. Davis received his first scholarship offer from Duke and had been receiving interest from Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Georgia Tech. The big prospect gave his pledge to Coach Cutcliffe during his unofficial visit on Saturday to take in the Blue Devils' spring scrimmage. A two-time 1st Team All-District selection, his highlight video can be seen here.
Check back with BDN for more on the newest Blue Devils.
DURHAM, N.C. – Quarterback Sean Renfree completed 15-of-19 passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns while wideout Blair Holliday caught eight passes for 84 yards to highlight Duke’s 60-play scrimmage Saturday morning at Wallace Wade Stadium.
“We really got what we wanted out of it,” said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. “We wanted to extend play. We’ve done a lot of fundamental work. This is practice nine. Probably more fundamental work and less team work than we’ve had in any time since we’ve been here. But we’ve worked on some of the ‘how’ before we were doing the ‘what’. I think it’s paid off. It’s paid off with players like Blair Holliday, who you can just see has jumped leaps and bounds from where he was. It’s paid off in a lot of our offensive and defensive linemen – first team and second team.”
Renfree’s two scoring throws covered eight and 15 yards, respectively, to Jamison Crowder and Holliday. Crowder finished the day with six grabs for 67 yards. Running back Josh Snead spearheaded the ground attack with 61 yards on eight attempts, including a one-yard touchdown plunge, while quarterback Brandon Connette rushed five times for 29 yards with a nine-yard touchdown.
“The coaches have shown great trust in all our receivers,” Holliday said. “We changed our offense around a bit where every receiver needs to know the positions; every receiver needs to come up and make big plays. It really just shows how much trust they have in us to put us out there and make plays.”
The final scoring play of the morning came on a 40-yard strike from Connette to tight end Issac Blakeney.
“Issac Blakeney and David Reeves are two very young tight ends that I can see now all of the work they’ve put in,” Cutcliffe noted. “If I had to probably pick one thing that the naked eye caught was Sean Renfree. He was a senior quarterback today. He was really sharp, and not just in the scrimmaging parts. From the first part of practice on -- I watched him through seven-on-seven -- everything was at a very high level. A lot of encouragement today.”
Safety Walt Canty registered the lone turnover of the day with an interception. Kicker Will Monday booted a 26-yard field goal along with a pair of PATs.
Duke will host the annual Spring Game presented by PNC Bank on Saturday, March 31 in Wallace Wade Stadium. Kick-off is set for 1 p.m. and admission is free of charge.
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.
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.
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.
ACC Coastal Division
The last four ACC Champions have come from the Coastal Division, and for that reason, we start here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
DURHAM, N.C. - Anthony Boone's 32-yard touchdown pass to Tyree Watkins with 11:15 remaining in the fourth period lifted the White squad to a come-from-behind victory over the Blue unit in Duke's annual Spring Game on Saturday afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Saturday's event brought spring practice to a close for the Blue Devils.
The Blue team opened the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown run by Patrick Kurunwune at the 8:51 mark of the first period. Just over four minutes later, Brandon Connette found the end zone from 14 yards out on the ground to push the lead to 14-0. The White team managed to pull within seven prior to halftime when Sean Renfree hooked up with Conner Vernon on a six-yard touchdown pass.
Midway through the third quarter, Desmond Scott brought the White unit even on the scoreboard with a 16-yard touchdown run.
On the day, Renfree connected on eight-of-14 passes for 105 yards and one touchdowns while Boone was seven-of-15 through the air for 94 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Scott paced the White team with 56 rushing yards on 13 carries while Juwan Thompson gained 35 yards on nine rushes. For the Blue unit, Connette completed 10-of-16 throws for 102 yards while rushing for 34 yards on eight attempts whileJosh Snead picked up 54 yards on six carries.
Watkins finished with six receptions for 67 yards while Brandon Braxton (21 yards), Cooper Helfet (64 yards) and Vernon (19 yards) had three catches apiece.
Defensively, Jamal Wallace carded a game-high seven tackles while Austin Gamble had six total stops. Issac Blakeney, Walt Canty, Matt Daniels, C.J. France, Tyree Glover and Jonathan Woodruff logged five tackles each, with Blakeney also contributing two tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, one caused fumble, one quarterback pressure and one pass breakup. Charlie Hatcher, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo and Tony Foster each recorded one quarterback sack while Garrett Rider's interception in the fourth quarter was the game's lone turnover.
Cutcliffe also announced the program's award winners for spring practice award winners with Thompson (Most Improved Offensive Player), Ross Cockrell (Most Improved Defensive Player) and Preston Scott (Blue Devil Heart Award) claiming honors.
Duke opens the 2011 season at home on September 3 against Richmond. Season tickets are available online at GoDuke.com or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 1-877-631-3853.
White 21, Blue 14
1st - 8:51 - Blue - Patrick Kurunwune 14 run (Jeffrey Ijjas kick)
1st - 4:15 - Blue - Brandon Connette 14 run (Paul Asack kick)
2nd - 7:05 - White - Conner Vernon 6 pass from Sean Renfree (Will Snyderwine kick)
3rd - 7:30 - White - Desmond Scott 16 run (Will Snyderwine kick)
4th - 11:15 - White - Tyree Watkins 32 pass from Anthony Boone (Will Snyderwine kick)
RUSHING: Desmond Scott 13-56, Josh Snead 6-54, Juwan Thompson 9-35, Brandon Connette 8-34, Anthony Boone 5-31, Sean Renfree 2-25, Patrick Kurunwune 4-23, Sean Schroeder 3-7, Team 1-(-1) PASSING: Sean Renfree 8-14-0-105, Brandon Connette 10-16-0-102, Anthony Boone 7-15-1-94, Sean Schroeder 3-8-0-13 RECEIVING: Tyree Watkins 6-67, Cooper Helfet 3-64, Brandon Braxton 3-21, Conner Vernon 3-19, Juwan Thompson 2-43, Josh Trezvant 2-31, Desmond Scott 2-16, Braxton Deaver 2-13, Josh Snead 1-20, Preston Scott 1-12, Danny Parker 1-4, Jack Farrell 1-3, Patrick Kurunwune 1-1 PUNTING: Alex King 5-204-40.8 FIELD GOALS: Jeffrey Ijjas - 44 (no good) TACKLES: Jamal Wallace 7, Austin Gamble 6, Issac Blakeney 5, Walt Canty 5, Matt Daniels 5, C.J. France 5, Tyree Glover 5, Jonathan Woodruff 5, Charlie Hatcher 4, Kevin Rojas 4, August Campbell 3, Nick Sink 3, Jordan Byas 2, Ross Cockrell 2, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo 2, Anthony Young-Wiseman 2, Garrett Rider 2, Tony Foster 2, Jamal Bruce 2, Zach Greene 1, Garett Patterson 1, Curtis Hazelton 1, Steven Ingram 1, Will Boeckman 1, Sydney Sarmiento 1 TACKLES FOR LOSS: Issac Blakeney 2, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo 1, Tony Foster 1, Charlie Hatcher 1 QUARTERBACK SACKS: Issac Blakeney 1, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo 1, Tony Foster 1, Charlie Hatcher 1 PASS BREAKUPS: Issac Blakeney 1, Jordan Byas 1, C.J. France 1, Ned Smith 1, Johnny Williams 1, Anthony Young-Wiseman 1 QB PRESSURES: Issac Blakeney 1, Kevin Rojas 1, Jamal Wallace 1, Anthony Young-Wiseman 1 CAUSED FUMBLES: Issac Blakeney 1 INTERCEPTIONS: Garrett Rider 1