Entering the 2012 season, running back figures to be one of the Blue Devils’ deepest positions, but that depth will take a hit in 2013 after the expected graduation of Desmond Scott and Patrick Kurunwune. Yesterday, BDN’s Football Friday broke down the Duke recruiting class of 2013, noting the absence of a running back commitment thus far in the class. With only a handful of scholarships remaining, the coaching staff has searched far and wide for an impact rushing prospect, and one player has risen to the top of the wish list. BDN was first to introduce Duke fans to Norco RB Joseph Ajeigbe back in April, shortly after the Blue Devils offered the powerful runner a scholarship. A 5’9” 195 pound rising senior, Ajeigbe ran for 20 touchdowns and 1,673 yards as a junior for the same high school that produced current Blue Devil Corbin McCarthy and former Stanford star Toby Gerhart. Duke’s interest in Ajeigbe appears to be mutual, as the talented prospect traveled across the country with his family for an unofficial visit. BDN caught up with Joseph shortly after he wrapped up his unofficial visit in Durham, which came on the heels of a trip to Northwestern earlier this week.
BDN: How did your visit to Northwestern go?
Alright. I visited Northwestern, got there on the 18th. They took us around, we were mostly with Coach Brown, but we met the whole football staff that day. We got a tour of the football facilities and everything. And then they took us around campus and showed us all the improvements they’re making to the campus and stuff like that. After that, we went and grabbed lunch in the city and then we came back and looked at more meetings. Overall, I enjoyed my experience meeting the coaches and everything. Everybody seems real genuine there. I stayed with the players for a little bit on Thursday. On campus I was able to spend some time with the incoming freshmen, talk to them, see how they like it and get their perspective on things. That’s pretty much that experience.
BDN: And how about your visit to Duke?
Yeah, we just got to North Carolina today, to campus. As soon as you get off the plane, you could tell this place is different, the trees – really beautiful campus. We got on campus and met with Coach Lubick right away. We went to see Coach Cut because Coach Cut had to get out of town today. He took us up to see Coach Cut, we had about a 30 minute meeting with Coach Cut and you can just tell he has a good idea about where this program is going and everything, so that was pretty cool. Then we took a facility tour, they showed us the new additions, the new indoor practice facility, the new outdoor practice facility, and he also showed us an artist’s rendering of what the new stadium will look like, and it’s really impressive.
BDN: I know you have a former teammate on the Duke team now; did you get to see him or spend any time with the Duke players?
Yeah, yeah, I saw Corbin [McCarthy] when they were giving us a tour. We bumped into him when he was getting ready to go in and workout. And actually we were just text messaging back and forth because we’re going to try to hook up tonight to see a little bit of the city and hang out with some of the teammates and see how they get along and stuff like that, so I’ll do that tonight, get a chance to meet the team and stuff.
BDN: It sounds like this has been a good trip to two great schools; do you have any other visits planned for the summer?
Yeah, when we get back to California we’ll probably look into the timing to get out to Arizona to see the University of Arizona. Now that I’ve seen two schools, I know the questions to ask and the things to look for, so we’ll try to make a couple more visits. Then when the season starts, if I haven’t got to the point where I’m ready to make a decision, maybe do some official visits to try and get out.
BDN: You mentioned that you have an idea about the questions to ask now that you’ve taken a couple visits. What are some of the most important things that you’re looking for in a school now?
One of the most important things, because we’re talking about prestigious universities, no matter how smart of a kid you are, these are big name schools and one of the important things for me is to get a feel for the academic support staff, the professors, the tutors, counselors, and academic advisors to get a feel for how they do things. I know some of the questions now to ask them about how things work for student-athletes around campus. I kind of got a feel for that at Duke and at Northwestern, I got to meet with the advisors and everything. Football kind of takes care of football, you know, they show you all the facilities and everything, but the kind of thing you want to pay attention to is where they are on academics.
BDN: Thanks a lot, Joseph, and safe travels to you and your family.
Sounds good. Thanks, man.