Tag Archives: Jim Collins

Peter-Kalambayi-3-12-12

ESPNU150 Watch List LB Peter Kalambayi recaps recent visit to Duke

Butler HS LB Peter Kalambayi registered 80 tackles and 6 sacks as a junior

Duke Assistant Coach Jim Collins is quietly building a tradition of quality linebackers in Durham. The Blue Devil linebacker alumni are headlined by recent standouts such as Mike Tauiliili (All-ACC), Vincent Rey of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Abraham Kromah of the CFL. Over the past two seasons, the Blue Devil linebackers have been led by standout freshmen in Freshman All-American Kelby Brown in 2010 and All-ACC Academic selection David Helton in 2011. With the recent signing day addition of talented in-state LB Keilin Rayner, the Blue Devils hope that trend will continue in 2012 and beyond. In the class of 2013, one elite LB has quickly risen to the top of Duke’s wish list. Peter Kalambayi is a 6’2″ 230 pound prospect from Butler High School in Matthews, NC. A member of the ESPNU150 Watch List, Kalambayi has already amassed over 20 scholarship offers. With 80 tackles and 6 sacks as a junior, Kalambayi has established himself as one of the top players in the class of 2013 in the state, and with a 4.3 GPA, he’s also the star student that could excel in Durham. BDN caught up with the elite student-athlete after his visit to Duke for the UNC basketball game on March 4. [private]

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

I have really good speed and pass-rushing ability.

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

My hands and my quickness, overall quickness.

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

A school with a consistently good football program and a great academic school as well.

BDN: Do you have any ideas for what you might want to study in college?

No, not yet.

BDN: Where do you stand with offers and which schools are you hearing from the most?

I think I have 21 [offers]. Clemson, UNC, Stanford, Duke, UVA, they’re recruiting me pretty hard right now.

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

Duke, UNC, and UVA.

BDN: What stood out to you on your visits to those schools?

All 3 are good schools. UVA, I only went once. UNC, I went multiple times. Duke, I went multiple times. They’re all just great schools. Duke’s football program is developing, but UVA and UNC have great football programs and I like them all.

BDN: Are there any coaches you have started to develop a close relationship with?

Coach Brown from UVA, Coach Brewer from UNC, and Coach Cutcliffe from Duke.

BDN: Are there any other schools you plan to visit or would like to hear from?

I have no plans, but I want to visit Clemson and Stanford sometime before next year.

BDN: Do you have a timeline in mind for when you plan to narrow things down or make your final decision?

Probably after football season. I don’t know, I guess I’ll start narrowing it down before my season.

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

Thanks.

[/private]

The Duke staff believes star student-athlete Marcus Allen would be a great fit at LB in Durham

Duke aggressively recruiting star Florida athlete Marcus Allen for class of 2012

Star student-athlete Marcus Allen would be a great fit at LB in Durham

With thirteen verbal commitments received in the class of 2012, Duke has only a few remaining scholarships available and are looking to fill a few outstanding needs. With California LB Deion Williams already committed, Duke still has a spot to add another athletic linebacker with one of their remaining scholarships. Though the staff has long been in aggressive pursuit of in-state star Keilin Rayner, another athlete out of the Jacksonville, FL area has caught their attention. Marcus Allen is a 6’2” 210 pound athlete from Hilliard HS in Hilliard, FL. A star in basketball and track, Marcus played just his first year of football last fall as a junior and his natural ability earned him plenty of playing time for the Flashes on both sides of the ball. Primarily a running back and linebacker, Allen has earned over 20 scholarship offers this spring and summer, and has recently been busy taking unofficial visits across the Southeast. Duke Assistant Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Jim Collins has produced several All-ACC linebackers during his time in Durham, including recent stars Mike Tauiliili and Vincent Rey (now with the Cincinnati Bengals). As a standout both on the field and in the classroom (he boasts a 4.0 GPA), Allen could become another star student-athlete for Coach Collins and the Blue Devils, if he chooses to join fellow Jacksonville-area natives Dwayne Norman, Erich Schneider, and Thomas Sirk in the Blue Devils’ class of 2012. [private]

BDN: Can you start out by describing your strengths as a player?

Well, this is my first year playing high school football, so my strengths are just my natural ability to play the game of football and my quick ability to learn, catch onto things quickly, and just being able to use my athleticism.

BDN: You played all over the field in your first year at Hilliard; is there a position you prefer, or a position that college coaches are recruiting you for?

At running back and at linebacker.

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

Just working on more agility and fundamentals.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year?

My first goal is to have a winning season, I think we’ve made a lot of progress over the spring and the summer. That’s the main goal to have a winning season and make it to the playoffs.

BDN: What are the most important factors you’re looking for in a college?

I’m looking for the best combination of academics and athletics. Just a place that fits me, a program to help me become a better person for my future, teach me how to do finances and stuff like that.

BDN: You mentioned academics as important to you; is there a particular field you are interested in studying?

I’m still undecided.

BDN: What schools would you say have been recruiting you the hardest?

I’d say Tennessee, Duke, Vanderbilt…Kentucky…Arkansas, Boston College.

BDN: Sounds like a good mix of ACC and SEC programs; is there a school or conference that you’ve grown up following?

Not really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hilliard's Marcus Allen made a stop in historic Cameron Indoor Stadium during his visit to Duke

 

 

 

 

 

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

Well I’ve been able to visit Florida, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and I think that’s it.

BDN: Did any of those schools seem to have the combination of academics and athletics that you’re looking for?

They’re all pretty similar, they all have a lot of great things to offer, I didn’t have any stand out just from my visits.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how or when you want to narrow things down and make your decision?

I’m trying to narrow things down some, but I still want to take my official visits, and make sure I have all the information I need to make my final decision.

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

I’m just a guy from a small town that’s trying to make a big impact. For the kids that come from small towns, just show that anybody can make it in college football if you work at it enough.

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

Alright, you too.

[/private]

 

Let's get this season started!

It’s always football season at BDN’s Football Friday

Happy Independence Day, Blue Devil Nation!

Even on a holiday weekend, it’s still time for BDN’s Football Friday, a weekly look inside the world of Duke Football. If you enjoy this weekly column, please consider becoming a BDN Premium Member and joining our growing community of Duke Football fans. As we say goodbye to the month of June, it’s time to look back at an eventful month in Duke Football, and look ahead to the 2011 season, which kicks off in just 63 days!!! Of course, it’s always football season at Football Friday.

It’s finally here!

Next week kicks off the release of college football’s preseason award lists. What, you thought I was talking about Harry Potter? Oh, please. Starting on Tuesday, the College Football Awards Association will release their preseason award watch lists. While Duke still has a long way to go in regards to earning the respect of the national college football community, there are a few Duke players who should be nominated. On Wednesday, the Biletnikoff (top WR) and Mackey Award (top TE) watch lists will be announced, and Duke’s Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner, and Cooper Helfet are certainly deserving of consideration. As a 2010 semi-finalist, Duke’s Will Snyderwine should be named to the Lou Groza Award watch list on Thursday. Of course, the awards will ultimately be earned on the field, but it’s important for Duke players to receive the preseason recognition they deserve.

Changing of the guard

Head Coach David Cutcliffe announced a few changes to his football staff today. “We are very excited with our recent hires and adjustments to the staff,” Cutcliffe stated.  “I have either coached or fostered long term relationships with each of these young people and their families.  It is great to surround yourself with people you deeply care for and know are winners on and off the field.  We approach the 2011 season with great enthusiasm.” Among the changes, the staff welcomes back former Blue Devil All-American defensive lineman Vince Oghobaase as a staff assistant. John Russell, a former NFL and Wake Forest linebacker, joins the staff as a graduate assistant, and current recruiting assistant Ben Loebner has been promoted to a graduate assistant. Former Duke All-ACC cornerback Leon Wright has been named a Defensive Operations assistant and Jomar Wright switches his title from graduate assistant to recruiting assistant. Marcus Johnson, a former NFL and All-SEC offensive lineman, joins the Duke strength and conditioning staff. Welcome to all the new coaches, and good luck this fall!

Welcome to Duke, Thomas!

Boy, that escalated quickly…

Duke entered the month of June with four verbal commitments in the class of 2012: TE Erich Schneider, DE Allen Jackson, SAF Dwayne Norman, and LB Deion Williams. We now leave the month of June with twelve verbal commitments, capped off by a big week, in which the Blue Devils added their QB of the future in Thomas Sirk and one of the top TEs in the state in Dan Beilinson. BDN members were the first to hear about these commitments, and we’ll continue to bring you the best Duke Football recruiting coverage around.

Duke was the first to offer Tarboro RB Todd Gurley, and he remains their top target

 

 

Get ‘em while they’re hot…

With only a handful of scholarships remaining in the class of 2012, Duke is hoping to land a few impact players over the next several weeks. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Blue Devils will need to add a RB in this class, and Tarboro’s Todd Gurley, along with Charlotte’s Jela Duncan, remain the coaching staff’s top two priorities. Gurley recently won a national championship in track and will represent the US in France later this summer. The Duke staff continues to work hard on the recruiting trail, hoping to cap off the class of 2012 with a program-changer or two like WR Drae Bowles or DT Korren Kirven. A quick look at the 2011 Duke roster shows that Duke will graduate 18 players this season. Duke is certainly hopeful that the group of redshirt-juniors will stay with the program for their final year of eligibility in 2012, meaning that scholarships are getting tight in the class of 2012. For those remaining prospects considering Duke offers, the smart move would be to act quickly.

Rams' QB Thad Lewis has high expectations for the 2011 Blue Devils

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’ll go bowling…”

With the NFL lockout dragging on, Duke has been fortunate to have former QB Thad Lewis around campus for most of the summer. BDN caught up with the Blue Devil record-holder earlier this summer, and GoDuke featured an interview earlier this week. Thad has big expectations for Sean Renfree and the Blue Devils in 2011, and after leading Duke to 5 wins in his senior year, he knows what it takes to win in the ACC.

Reasons for optimism

Overall, there is tremendous optimism around the Duke Football program, and many fans (with a few outspoken exceptions) have high hopes for the 2011 season. Starting next week, BDN will take an in-depth look at each of Duke’s 2011 opponents, beginning with the Richmond Spiders. We’re fortunate to have been able to team up with some great writers from other schools to give us an inside look at Duke’s competition. In general, though, we know Duke faces a tough schedule this fall, and after a 3-win season in 2010, why all the optimism? Before we start analyzing Duke’s opponents, let’s take a brief look at some 2010 statistics, and a 2011 position group assessment.

  • In 2010, Duke lost 4 games by 6 points or less.
  • Duke had 43 trips to the redzone in 2010, but found the end zone only 22 times, barely 50% of the time. Luckily, pre-season All-ACC kicker Will Snyderwine was able to add 16 field goals to help keep the Blue Devils in games.
  • The 3rd quarter was unkind to the 2010 Blue Devils. Duke either had a lead, or were within 1 score at halftime in 8 of their 12 games, but only won 3 games.
  • Finishing games was also difficult for the 2010 Duke team, as they had a lead or were within 1 score entering the 4th quarter in 6 of their 12 games, but again, only won 3 games.
  • Turnover margin may have been the key statistic to Duke’s 2010 season, but there is reason for optimism. Over the first 7 games, Duke had a turnover margin of -12 (21 to 9), but a turnover margin of +1 in their final 5 games (7 to 8).
  • The much-maligned Duke defense had difficult pressuring the quarterback all season, but again, there was subtle improvement. With just 4 sacks through their first 6 games, Duke finished with 8 sacks in their final 6 games. Five of Duke’s final six opponents were bowl teams.

It's no secret that Duke's 2011 hopes rest on the shoulders of QB Sean Renfree

 

 

QB: Duke returns their top two quarterbacks in 2011 in starting redshirt-junior Sean Renfree and sophomore backup Brandon Connette. With a year of starting experience under his belt, the expectations are sky-high for Renfree, who Coach Cutcliffe described as having a “great” spring. Anthony Boone will add depth to the position after redshirting in 2010.

RB: Duke returns all five of their running backs from 2010, led by junior Desmond Scott, who has paced the Blue Devils in rushing as both a freshman and a sophomore. Duke improved their rushing yards by 46.5 yards per game from 2009 to 2010, and scored 13 more touchdowns on the ground. With all of their top rushers and blockers returning, there is no reason not to expect similar improvement in 2011.

WR: Duke loses Austin Kelly, who had been a solid receiver for the program in his four years in Durham, but brings back All-ACC receivers Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon. Sophomore Brandon Braxton, after catching 14 passes in 2010, is expected to see an increased role as he fills in for Kelly. Tyree Watkins and Corey Gattis are two more underclassmen expected to fill out the depth chart at receiver in 2011.

TE: By the end of the 2011 season, junior college transfer Cooper Helfet established himself as one of Renfree’s favorite targets, and one of the top tight ends in the ACC. After a slow start and a nagging ankle injury, Helfet finished with at least 4 catches in his final 5 games, including a 122-yard game against Virginia. Redshirt-senior Danny Parker rejoins the tight end corps after the graduation of Brett Huffman and Brandon King. Redshirt-freshman Braxton Deaver is expected to compete for a starting spot this fall, and true freshman David Reeves is one of the top prospects in Duke’s class of 2011.

OL: Duke will return four of five starters in 2011, the lone loss being center Bryan Morgan. With Brian Moore sliding over to center from right guard, Duke’s entire offensive line should weigh in at 275 pounds or greater; redshirt-freshman Takoby Cofield and Laken Tomlinson both eclipse 300 pounds and are expected to compete for snaps.

DL: This position is the big question mark on the 2011 Duke team, but there are plenty of reasons to expect improvement over 2010. Despite losing starters Patrick Egboh and Wes Oglesby, Duke will add seven (7!) redshirt-freshmen to the depth chart along the defensive line in 2011. The Blue Devils return redshirt-senior Charlie Hatcher, along with redshirt-junior Kenny Anunike, redshirt-sophomore Justin Foxx, and redshirt-sophomore Sydney Sarmiento. This spring, however, it was the redshirt-freshmen who earned the highest accolades from the Duke coaching staff, led by DE Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo and DT Jamal Bruce. With the coaching of Rick Petri, athleticism of the young redshirt-freshmen, and overall increased depth, this is a unit that should improve week-to-week in 2011 and give the Blue Devils a chance to win ball games.

LB: While most fans are concerned about the Blue Devils’ defensive line, the linebackers are another area that needs to improve from 2010, but has significant losses. Leading tackler Abraham Kromah has graduated along with Damian Thornton and Adam Banks. Standout freshman Kelby Brown returns after knee surgery, but is expected to be a full participant in fall camp. Duke has to hope that junior Austin Gamble and redshirt-sophomore Kevin Rojas, who have shown flashes of potential in the past, are ready for a breakout season in 2011. Coach Jim Collins has developed some great linebackers at Duke, and he will need to work his magic this year, as outside of those top three, the depth chart will be filled with first-year players in redshirt-freshman C.J. France, freshman Kyler Brown, freshman Britton Grier, freshman David Helton, and freshman Jon Woodruff.

CB: The loss of senior Chris Rwabukamba will be sorely missed within the Duke secondary, but the coaching staff believes the Blue Devils have several athletes ready to step up at cornerback, led by redshirt-sophomore Ross Cockrell. Despite an inconsistent freshman year as a starter, Cockrell finished 6th on the team with 60 tackles, and led the Blue Devils with 3 interceptions and was 2nd with 7 pass break-ups. Cockrell should take a step forward, as will senior Johnny Williams, in his second full year at cornerback. Zach Greene, Tony Foster, and Lex Butler will fill out the depth chart, but they may be pushed by freshmen Jared Boyd and Tim Burton.

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

SAF: The strongest positon group on Duke’s defense is safety, and the new 4-2-5 defense is designed to exploit that strength. Senior Matt Daniels should be poised for an All-ACC caliber year alongside fellow senior Lee Butler. The Duke staff has high expectations for redshirt-sophomore August Campbell and redshirt-freshman Issac Blakeney.

ST: Duke’s special teams has developed into a strength in recent years, and with Will Snyderwine handling the placekicking, it should remain a strength in 2011. Freshman Will Monday is expected to come in and compete with senior Alex King for the starting punter job, and it should be a good competition to watch in August.

Next week

Man, I thought it was going to be a short column this week. That never works out. If you’ve missed any of our recruiting coverage over the past month, be sure to catch up, as it is sure to be a sprint to the finish here in July. The entire class of 2011 will be on campus starting this weekend, and on behalf of all of us in the Blue Devil Nation, welcome to Duke! We have big expectations for this class, and we know they’ll have great success in Durham.

Some upcoming highlights to note – we will kickoff our 2011 previews next week with Richmond and Stanford, so be sure to check back for those. We’ll also run an in-depth interview with one of Duke’s top running back prospects this weekend, so check back in between fireworks shows. Be sure to join our Facebook group and follow us on Twitter. Have a great holiday weekend! Until next week, WE ARE DUKE.

 

Questions? Comments? Let us know!

 

Chapman LB Preston Durham was named a USAF Junior All-American

Duke is recruiting hard-hitting South Carolina LB Preston Durham

Chapman LB Preston Durham was named a USAF Junior All-American

In 2010, Duke coaches and fans were impressed by the play of freshman linebacker Kelby Brown. On the recruiting trail, the Duke coaching staff is searching for more hard-hitting linebackers to join Brown on the Blue Devil defense. Preston Durham is a 6’1” 205 pound linebacker from Inman, South Carolina. As a junior, Durham was named to the SC All-Region team, as he wrecked havoc on opposing offenses, totaling 130 tackles, 4 pass break-ups, 2½ sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and 1 blocked kick. His standout season earned him 1st team 2010 US Air Force Junior All-American honors.

BDN: Can you start out by describing your strengths as a player?

Well, I believe I have great awareness and a nose for the football, and great quickness and speed.  Can really explode through the block.

BDN: What are some of the things you have been working [private] on this offseason?

Definitely speed and size and strength.

 

BDN: What are your goals for yourself and for your team in your senior year?

I’d like to make the playoffs this year, and go as far as we can.  I’d like to eclipse my tackle record, and break all my records that I’ve set in the previous years.

BDN: What are the most important factors you’re looking for in a college?

Definitely the atmosphere of the school and the people, and the facilities is a big thing, and of course the education, and the coaching staff.

BDN: What schools have you heard the most from so far? Who were the first schools to contact you?

Duke has been contacting me, he’s come to the school a couple times, and Georgia Tech, along with – let’s see, Clemson has too.

 

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

I’ve visited Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, and out of state, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.

 

BDN: Have any schools stood out to you at this point in the process, either on your visits or your contact with coaches?

Yes, I really like Duke, the coach, I really like him a lot, he’s a nice guy.  And North Carolina, I love their campus.

BDN: Do you have plans to visit any other schools this spring or summer?

Yes sir, I plan on going to Georgia Tech Junior Day in April, and I plan on going to the Clemson football camp, along with North Carolina and Duke and Georgia Tech.

BDN: At this point in the process, do you have an idea for when you would like to make your college decision?

Well, I don’t know.  I mean, I’d have to take a lot of time to think and do some research on the school and everything, but I don’t know, I’d probably do it after my senior season.

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

I have an extremely hard work ethic, and a drive inside me that I’m not gonna stop. [/private]