Tag Archives: Johnell Barnes

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Football Friday: Wide Receiver Competition

DSC_0050-001Duke's primary offensive formation features a single running back, a tight end and three wide receivers. Max McCaffrey is the lone returning starter at the wide receiver position resulting in two open starting slots.

A balanced offensive attack has been key to Duke's success over the past several seasons. In 2014, the Blue Devils scored 47 touchdowns from scrimmage with 23 coming through the air and 24 on the ground. On plays from scrimmage, Duke passed the ball 49 percent and ran 51 percent of the time. Duke gained 2,814 yards through the air, while rushing for 2,364.

While an increased emphasis on the running game is expected in 2015, maintaining offensive balance via the passing game will be a prime objective for Head Coach David Cutcliffe and Offensive Coordinator Scottie Montgomery. When the running game is clicking, the play action pass becomes a valuable weapon.

Max McCaffrey has 65 career receptions for 698 yards and seven touchdowns. He is a sure handed receiver capable of working in minimum space over the middle of the field. McCaffrey recorded a career best seven receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns in Duke's 41-3 victory over Kansas. He has started 25 games over his first three seasons as a Blue Devil.

The receiving corps will be young so McCaffrey leveraging his experience to provide on field and locker room leadership will be vital to ensuring the receivers maximize their productivity.

Johnell Barnes' bio at GoDuke.com lists him as a starting wide receiver and he is the odds on favorite to be a top receiver in 2015. Barnes has shown flashes of brilliance over his first two years so a break out season as a junior would not be a surprise. Barnes is a strong runner who can gain significant yards after catching the ball.

As a true freshman, in 2013, Barnes averages 14.5 yards per reception with a long of 50 yards. His yards per reception decreased to 10.3 during the 2014 season, but his total number of catches increased. Barnes has caught 38 passes for 454 yards and one touchdown over the first two seasons of his career.

Chris Taylor is a redshirt freshmen who has impressed the staff since his arrival on campus prior to the 2014 season. His bio at GoDuke.com lists him as a starting wide receiver. Taylor has good size at 6'1" with all reports leaking out of practice indicating he is an excellent route runner who possesses all the requisite physical skills to develop into a special player.

When practice opens in August; McCaffrey, Barnes and Taylor will be designated as the starters. Will they be the starters in New Orleans on September 3? The question this article seeks to explore: who steps up and challenges for one of those starting spots?

Here are the candidates wide receivers coach Jeffrey Farris has to work with:

Anthony Nash is 6'5" and fast. Those are tremendous physical skill sets, which set him up to compete to become an impact player. He is currently listed as a second string wide receiver. Nash, a rising redshirt junior, has caught five passes for 47 yards in 16 career games. He has the tools to be a deep threat, which can stretch defenses vertically, if he can take the next developmental step. Nash is definitely a player to keep an eye on in 2015.

Trevon Lee is a highly thought of redshirt freshman currently listed as a second string wide receiver. He was considered a leading candidate to play as a true freshmen last season but remained on the sidelines due to Duke being deep and talented at wide receiver. Lee will see the field and produce results in 2015.

Ryan Smith is currently listed as the second string slot receiver. He played as a true freshman and has caught three passes for 41 yards. He has returned four punts for 90 yards. Smith struggled with an ankle injury for part of 2013. In the victory over Georgia Tech in Atlanta, he recovered two Yellow Jackets onside kicks to help preserve Duke's lead.

Quay Chambers is another big receiver at 6'3" 220. He spent his redshirt freshman year at quarterback before transitioning to wide receiver in the Spring of 2014. Coach Cutcliffe described him as an exceptional athlete back in August 2013 after Chambers ran 63 yards for a touchdown in a team scrimmage. Chambers possesses explosive big play potential and seems tailor made to see action as the motion receiver, a position where his running abilities could be utilized via the jet sweep or end around.

Terrence Alls had a terrific spring practice highlighted by his being named most improved offensive player. Unfortunately, he was subsequently suspended from game competition for a violation of team rules so his status for the 2015 season is currently unknown. His status is expected to be updated prior to the season commencing, but there is no guarantee.

And there are two true freshmen on the roster who will head to practice in August intent on jumping over the competition to earn immediate playing time:

T.J. Rahming shined at the U.S. Army All American Bowl scoring two touchdowns against top level talent. He is dimunitive at 5'10" 165 so adding strength will have to be a priority for his development. Rahming is an interesting situation as his size definitely singles him out as a redshirt candidate; however, his talent level indicates he could make an immediate impact.

Aaron Young is 6'2" 200 and a redshirt candidate in 2015.

The 2015 receiving corps will be a young group, but they are a group with a great deal of unproven talent which equates to unlimited potential or a high ceiling. It will be important for the group to take advantage of the favorable early season schedule, four home games in a row after the opener at Tulane, to work out the kinks in order to be firing on all eight cylinders when the calendar turns to October and the conference schedule starts in earnest.

Football Friday: Wide Receiver Competition

Friday Night Lights – Playoff Report

This week's coverage starts with the 2013 in-state commits and 2014 prospects as the North Carolina High School Athletics Association (NCHSAA) playoffs kicked off on Friday night. The North Carolina section looks at three verbal commits and two recruiting targets.[private]

Breon Borders [Statesville (10-1) versus Enka (5-6)]: Cornerback Borders intercepted a pass in the third quarter as Statesville advanced to the second round with a 65 - 12 rout of Enka. "We won big. They didn't throw to me at all, but I expected that," said Borders. "The one time they did throw it I intercepted it."

Quay Chambers [Monroe (8-3) versus Bishop McGuinness (5-6)]: Chambers threw two touchdown passes as Monroe blitzed McGuinness 69 - 0.

Bryon Fields [Charlotte Providence Day (7-4) at Country Day (9-1)]: Providence Day won 24 - 14, and cornerback Bryon Fields described his game performance as follows: "I had 200 plus yards of total offense with 190 on 13 carries, mostly out of Wildcat. And I had several tackles and a pass break-up on defense. We play Charlotte Christian next week for the private school State Championship."

Josh Cabrera [Jacksonville Northside (11-0) versus Croatan (6-4)]: Wide Receiver Cabrera caught two touchdown passes as Northside defeated Croatan 47 - 10. Overall, he had three receptions for 64 yards with the touchdowns covering 12 and 10 yards. Cabrera also caught a 2-point conversion pass after Northside's fourth touchdown.

Kendall Hinton [Southern Durham (6-4) versus Wilmington Hoggard (8-2)]:  Quarterback Hinton threw two interceptions in Southern's Durham's 28-26 defeat at the hands of Hoggard.  When added to a fumble and a missed PAT, there were just too many mistakes for Southern Durham to overcome. Their season ends at 6-5.

Back to your regular scheduled coverage:

In Virginia, Jake Kite and Evrett Edwards were in action attempting to help their teams secure spots in the upcoming VHSL playoffs.

Kite had a big game as Hidden Valley defeated Cave Spring 21 -12. He ran for a 20 yard touchdown on a reverse. "We earned a first round bye for getting the win last night," said Kite. "I had two rushes for 62 yards and nine tackles."

Woodbridge knocked off previously unbeaten Stonewall Jackson 17 - 7. "We beat the ninth ranked team in the state to clinch a playoff berth," commented Edwards. "I had an interception and three tackles."

Moving south to Florida, Johnell Barnes and his Dunbar teammates improved to 8-1 with a 35 - 0 victory over Booker, while T.J. Douglas led Fort Myers to a 48 - 7 win over Bishop Verot.

"It went well," Wide Receiver Barnes said. "We won 35 - 0. I had two catches for about 65 yards and a touchdown. I played quarterback mostly the whole fourth quarter. District champs."

Douglas and his Fort Myers teammates failed to qualify for the post season.

In Georgia, Walker improved to 9-0 on the season with a 20 - 3 win over Mount Paran Christian. Defensive Tackle Mike Ramsay was ejected from the game for a late hit out of bounds. He describes the play, "I had a couple of really nice tackles, but I got tossed...I ran the kid out and we were both falling - it was an awful call in the middle of the fourth quarter, but an amazing game."

Down in Texas, offensive lineman Sterling Korona and his Reagan (San Antonio) teammates defeated Churchill 37 - 24. "Our offensive line had a monster night," Korona said. "Our running back, Elijah Ball, had 330 yards and three touchdowns, and our quarterback had two touchdowns on the three or four passes he threw."

Also in Texas, offensive lineman Austin Davis and Mansfield prevailed 27 - 20 over Cedar Hills. Davis commented, "We have won four straight and are doing great as a team!"

Out west in California, wide receiver Darren Andrews and Bishop Amat fell to Notre Dame 49 - 28, while running back Joseph Ajeigbe and Norco defeated King 29 - 8.

In Pennsylvania, for the second week in a row, 2014 recruiting target Shai McKenzie rushed for six touchdowns. His Washington (PA) team defeated Shady Side Academy 47-12 in WPIAL Class AA playoff action.[/private]

Friday Night Lights – Big Play Action

Welcome back for another tour around our great country as Blue Devil Nation brings you up to speed on all the high school action from North Carolina to California and back.

"Big Plays" is the theme for this week's edition of Friday Night Lights. Duke 2013 verbal commits combined to return a punt for a touchdown, recover an onsides kick, and score a number of touchdowns on receptions and runs. A couple of 2014 targets had big performances as well.

Safety Jake Kite returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown as Hidden Valley (VA)  shut out Christiansburg 28-0. Hidden Valley's record stands at 4-3 on the season. Kite commented after the game, "It went well. We played very good defensively. I had a 50 yard punt return for a touchdown."

Breon Borders recovered an onside kick to help Statesville (NC) secure a 37-27 victory over Alexander Central, and improve its record to 8-1. The Greyhounds rallied from a 27-20 deficit by scoring the game's final 17 points.

Ft. Myers (FL) Dunbar defeated Clewiston 40-30 to move to 6-1 on the season.  After being named homecoming king before the game, Dunbar wide receiver Johnell Barnes caught a 13 yard touchdown pass in the 1st quarter . Blue Devil Nation congratulates Barnes on both successes. Barnes stated afterwards, "I had one catch for a touchdown. We mainly ran the ball."

Quarterback T.J. Douglas had a tough night as Fort Myers lost to South Fort Myers 14-3. Douglas completed only 3 of 13 passes for 35 yards, and threw two interceptions, while gaining just 40 yards rushing on 20 carries. With back-to-back district losses, to Island Coast and South Fort Myers, Fort Myers' (5-2) playoff hopes are in jeopardy.

In California, wide receiver Darren Andrews caught 10 passes for 130 yards and ran for two touchdowns, but Bishop Amat suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Alemany Mission Hills 56-35. Bishop Amat is now 5-1-1 on the year.

Also in Southern California, Norco fell to Centennial 38-37 on a field goal with three seconds remaining in the game. The final margin was due to a missed extra point. Norco running back Joseph Ajeigbe explained the end of game sequence: "We led the whole game. We were on the four yard line with 1:57 to go when an illegal motion set us back 10 yards. Coach decided to go for it on 4th down and we didn't get it. They drove down and kicked the field goal to win as time expired." Norco's record fell to 3-4.

Northern Nash (Rocky Mount, NC) fell to Southern Nash 33-7. Quay Mann returned a kickoff 58 yards to the 24 yard line, but the ensuing drive sputtered due to penalties, and produced no points. Mann commented after the game, "We had a tough loss. I finished the night with 200+ all purpose yards and five tackles."

Defensive Tackle Mike Ramsay led a Walker School (Marietta, GA) defense that completely shutdown Fellowship Christian's offense in a 54-7 shellacking. Discussing the game, Ramsay stated, "It went well. We are still undefeated and I had a nice quarterback sack." Walker improved to 6-0 on the season.

Evrett Edwards ran for a 26 yard touchdown as Woodbridge (VA) upped its record to 5-2 by defeating Freedom 41-0. Edwards commented, "I had a pass broken up, three tackles, three catches for 38 yards, and four rushes for 47 yards."

Mansfield (TX) defeated previously unbeaten Midlothian 49-35. Mansfield offensive lineman Austin Davis commented, "We rushed for 375 yards and had 31 first downs. We dominated their defensive line and our defense stepped up big." Mansfield evened their record at 3-3.

In San Antonio, Texas, Reagan HIgh dropped a 24-21 decision to Madison. Reagan offensive lineman Sterling Korona explained, "We came back late...if we had two more minutes, we would have won. We were definitely the more physical team."

2014 Report:

Running Back Shai McKenzie rushed 28 times for 295 yards and three touchdowns as Washington (PA) High rolled over Mount Pleasant 34-14.

Wide Receiver Josh Cabrera caught a 15 yard touchdown pass and corralled two interceptions as Jacksonville (NC) Northside defeated Richlands 40-13.

Quarterback Kendall Hinton threw four touchdown passes in Southern Durham's 47-10 victory over East Chapel Hill. Overall, Hinton was 12-21 for 246 yards.

Tight End Avery Edwards caught a 15 yard touchdown pass, but Ravenscroft came up on the short end of a 17-14 final against North Raleigh Christian.

That is all for this week. Be sure and check back next week for another edition of Friday Night Lights here at Blue Devil Nation --  the number one site for Duke football coverage.

Friday Night Lights – Future Blue Devils Shine

Welcome back Blue Devil faithful to another edition of Friday Night Lights, where Blue Devil Nation takes fans on a national tour from Georgia to California with stops in South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina as we cover high school action of Duke verbal commits and recruiting targets, complete with quotes from the players describing their gridiron performances.

Marietta, GA defensive tackle Mike Ramsay helped The Walker School to a 35-6 win over Mount Pisgah on Friday night. Ramsay described the game this way: "We played great. I had three sacks, three or four tackles for a loss, and a couple of other tackles. It was a good game." Walker improved to 5-0 for the first time in school history.

Wide Receiver Johnell Barnes caught a 23 yard touchdown pass as Ft. Myers (FL) Dunbar defeated North Fort Myers 34-9. Barnes stated after the game, "We were spreading the ball around a lot and I played quarterback a bit."

Defensive Back Breon Borders returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown as Charlotte Statesville defeated North Iredell 48-0. Borders commented, "I had about four tackles and took a 99 yard interception to the house."

Defensive Back Evrett Edwards of Woodbridge (VA) caught four passes for 56 yards, including a 34 yard touchdown reception, but Woodbridge fell to Potomac 18-6. Edwards stated, "I had a touchdown and too many tackles to keep track of."

Southern Nash defeated Northern Nash 35-14. Quay Mann of Northern Nash was limited to action on the defense, "I don't have many stats other than a couple of tackles. They mainly ran the ball against us."

In Columbia, SC, Heathwood Hall defeated Pinewood Prep 34-19 to improve to 3-4 on the season. Heathwood Hall offensive lineman Gabe Brandner commented, "A lot of missed extra points! But it was a good win and I am proud of how we played."

In Roanoke, VA, Hidden Valley defeated Blacksburg 13-10. Safety Jake Kite of Hidden Valley stated, "It was a lot of turnovers for both teams."

Ft. Myers (FL) Quarterback T.J. Douglas was named Player-of-the-Week last week. Here is a video interview. Fort Myers matched up against Island Coast on Friday night in a game with playoff implications. The News-Press published a game preview which focused upon Douglas and Island Coast Quarterback Kurt Benkert.

Island Coast won the game 24-21 in overtime.

Dual threat Quarterback Parker Boehme ran for three touchdowns and passed for a fourth as Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood defeated Mandarin 28-14.

In California, Norco dropped its second consecutive game, falling to Santiago 32-26. Norco running back Joseph Ajeigbe was stripped of the football at the one yard line on Norco's opening drive.

Class of 2014 action:

The Jacksonville Daily News named Josh Cabrera Player-of-the-Week and Cabrera showed why on Friday night with an 80 yard kick-off return for a touchdown to go along with an 18 yard touchdown reception as Northside blasted South Lenoir 35-3.

Kendall Hinton threw a touchdown pass as Southern Durham defeated Riverside 27-24.

Mobile, AL linebacker and verbal commit Zavier Carmichael intercepted a pass late in the 4th quarter as St. Paul's defeated Spanish Fort 31-21.

That's a wrap for the first week in October. Blue Devil Nation invites everyone back next week for another national tour of Friday night gridiron action. Until then, Rip 'em up, tear'em up! Give 'em hell, Duke!

2013 WR commit Johnell Barnes enjoyed his official visit to Durham.

Friday Night Lights – Future Blue Devils Shine

Johnell Barnes caught 2 touchdowns as Dunbar improved to 4-2 on the season.

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.

Out in California, Joseph Ajeigbe and Norco fell to nationally ranked Mission Hills Alemany 27-13. Ageigbe rushed for 174 yards and two touchdowns. Norco is 3-2 on the season.

Bishop Amat and WR/DB Darren Andrews defeated Culver City 31-7.

On to this week's expanded coverage and the Class of 2014:

Last week QB Kendall Hinton led Southern Durham to a 36-7 victory over Person. In this video clip, you can see Hinton, number 2 in red, throw a nice tight spiral for a touchdown.

Josh Cabrera caught an 84 yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 53 yards to set up another score as Northside (Jacksonville, NC) crushed Croatan 41-13.

LB Zavier Carmichael and St. Paul's (Mobile, AL) defeated Choctaw County 42-8.

Friday Night Lights – Future Duke Footballers Shine

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.

Dual threat quarterback Parker Boehme passed for 148 yards (10-18-0) and rushed for 81 more but Sandalwood came out on the short end of a 23-21 decision against Fletcher. Here is a video clip.

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.

Wide Receiver Johnell Barnes scored a touchdown on a four yard run as Ft. Myers Dunbar blasted Lake Placid 49-0.