Tag Archives: Patrick Cacchio

It's time for Football Friday the 13th!

BDN Premium Football Friday the 13th

It's time for Football Friday the 13th!

Things are picking up at BDN Premium with exclusive interviews from the AAU circuit, Duke basketball team news, and Duke football recruiting. In addition to those perks, you also get Football Friday, so without further ado… Football Friday the 13th!  [private]

Condolences

Blue Devil Nation sends their condolences to the Alabama Crimson Tide and the family of OL Aaron Douglas, who passed away on Thursday in Florida. Needless to say, it has been a difficult offseason in Tuscaloosa, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the April storms and the tragic passing of this young man.

NFL lockout continues

With the NFL Draft now behind us, dozens of college seniors have been forced to put their future on hold while the NFL labor dispute continues. In past years, undrafted free agents typically receive contract offers or camp invites in the days immediately after the draft. This year, due to the lockout, undrafted players have been unable to contact teams, leaving their futures uncertain. This is a difficult time for Duke’s group of seniors who are hoping to make good on their NFL dreams. Abraham Kromah recently tweeted some of his frustration: “Notice it’s only the vets with money and job security saying they are enjoying this lockout.” It’s in everyone’s best interest for the owners and players to reach an agreement; a cancelled or shortened season would be a huge mistake. For the sake of Duke’s seniors and others who are left with uncertain futures, we hope the two sides come together sooner rather than later.

First 3 kickoff times announced

There's nothing like the atmosphere of a home opener under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium.

The Blue Devils will open their season on Saturday, September 3rd with a 7PM kickoff against Richmond. Duke fans remember all too well the last time Duke and Richmond met under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium, and a similar outcome would be a huge blow to the 2011 season. Under Coach Cutcliffe, Duke has hosted four straight night game home openers, with great crowds at the first three as part of Duke’s Annual Employee Appreciation Night. One of the defining moments early in the Cutcliffe era was the lightning-delayed home opener against James Madison, where much of the crowd of 32,561 waited out the storms to witness the program’s first win under Coach Cutcliffe. The Blue Devils will need that kind of support and enthusiasm in Wallace Wade Stadium this year as they take on another tough home schedule, highlighted by the September 10th game against Andrew Luck and Stanford, which is slated to kickoff at 3:30 PM and will be televised on ESPNU. After an early season conference road loss to Wake Forest in 2010, Duke will need to reverse their fortunes with a tough early season matchup with Boston College in Chestnut Hill on September 17, which will kickoff at 12:30 PM on the ACC Network.

September 3            Richmond                        7:00 PM            espn3.com

September 10          Stanford                           3:30 PM            ESPNU

September 17          @ Boston College          12:30 PM            ACC

 

Recruiting moving along

Stanford has thrown their hat into the ring for DE Torey Agee

The Blue Devils have secured two commitments early this recruiting season in TE Erich Schneider and DE Allen Jackson. For comparison, by the end of May in 2010, Duke had already received 5 verbal commitments and by the end of May in 2009, Duke had already received 4 verbal commitments. In both previous years, the majority of commitments were made in June and July, and the Blue Devils hope that will be the case again this year. The staff has been on the recruiting trail hard this spring, checking in with current recruits and scouting potential new prospects. With many high schools now in the middle of spring football practices, prospects are given an opportunity to showcase their offseason improvement to coaches in hopes of earning new scholarship offers. After spring practices wrap up, the next opportunity to impress college coaches will be the summer camp circuit. Duke will host its one-day camps on June 11th and 18th this year, with the David Cutcliffe QB College on June 16th and 17th.

It will be interesting to see how this recruiting season unravels, with written scholarship offers not sent out until August. Also, coming off a 3-win season, the Blue Devils have a lot to prove to prospective recruits, who want to play for a winning program. With a relatively small number of available scholarships this year, the Duke staff has been a little more selective than in previous years, focusing their efforts on several high-level prospects. All of these factors will come into play as Duke puts together the class of 2011. The Blue Devils are close to having the facilities, staff, and education to compete with any program in the country, but still need to improve in wins, fan support, and NFL alumni.

Just a few updates on the recruiting front:

DL Matt Godin committed to Michigan on Thursday. He visited Duke earlier this year and the Blue Devils were initially high on his list. Unfortunately, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin ended up offering the Michigan native, and it became nearly impossible for any school to lure him out of his home state.

TE Evan Baylis committed to Oregon recently. After originally planning to make his decision over the summer, he decided the offer from the Ducks was too good to pass up.

DE Torey Agee received an offer from Stanford this week. Duke and South Alabama were the first to offer the Opelika, AL native, who plans to visit Durham this summer. With Stanford now in the mix, this recruitment has immediately become more competitive. Duke and Stanford are battling for a few prospects already (Dontonio Jordan, Albert Reid), so it will be interesting to see if the Cardinal can continue their success in the post-Harbaugh era.

 

Next week

Prospect interviews will start up again next week. Please feel free to chime in on the message board on any prospects you’d like to hear from. We’ll start to check back in with several of the prospects we spoke with earlier this year to see how their spring has gone and where they are in their recruiting process. Here’s to a great week! WE ARE DUKE.

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The Oompa Loompas will escort you out now if you don't have BDN Premium!

Football Friday assigns homework

The Oompa Loompas will escort you out now if you don't have BDN Premium!

We hope you all had a great Cinco de Mayo. We certainly did. Anyway, with the surprising retirement of Gary Williams and the spring signing period wrapping up, we understand that you’ve been distracted this week, but that’s no excuse for not joining BDN Premium so that you can get your inside look at Duke athletics. Also, if you don’t have BDN Premium, then you can’t read Football Friday, which means that this is the end of the ride for you. Cue the Oompa Loompas! [private]

Reading Assignments

You didn’t know you were going to be assigned homework when you started reading this article, did you? Too bad. I’ll keep this week’s article short so that you will have time to complete the following assigned reading.

No excuses will be accepted for this week's homework assignment

When I first started writing this column, I intended to include a section of noteworthy links each week, and to this point, I haven’t really followed through on that idea, mostly because there hasn’t been much to read this offseason. This week, however, I came across two important articles to read. As most of you know, Al Featherston is a great friend to BDN and also one of the most knowledgeable Duke writers around. This spring, we’ve touched briefly on some of the hopes and concerns for the new Duke defense, but not nearly to the depth of Al’s recent article for GoDuke. It’s a must read for Duke football fans, and gives some insight into the strategy Duke will apply this fall, straight from the mouth of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. The 4-2-5 defense is an interesting strategy that is based on the concept that speed will be a strength for the Blue Devils. It also should be noted that TCU is one of the more successful programs to implement a 4-2-5 defensive scheme.

The second development this week is the letter sent from the Justice Department to the NCAA regarding the BCS system. While there may not be a formal investigation into the BCS at this time, the letter clearly outlines the potential antitrust issues. The questions raised by the letter should be thought-provoking to the NCAA and college football fans. What are the advantages of the BCS for schools, student-athletes, and fans? What are its disadvantages? And of course, what might an alternative system look like, and how would that affect a program like Duke? Sounds like great material for the message board.

 

Duke recruiting genetics?

Has the Duke staff unlocked the genetic code for football stardom?

 

 

In recent years, the Duke men’s basketball program has enjoyed the benefits of genetics – Gerald Henderson, Nolan Smith, Seth Curry, and Austin Rivers are all the sons of former NBA stars. In the class of 2012, the Duke football program is targeting a group of football legacies, hoping that at least part of NFL stardom is genetic.

Patrick DeStefano: the 6’4” 275 pound offensive lineman from Roebuck, South Carolina is the son of former Blue Devil and NFL offensive lineman Frank DeStefano. The versatile prospect is one of the hardest workers in the class of 2012 and plans to lead Dorman back to the state championship this fall. With over a dozen scholarship offers, DeStefano has his choice of ACC and SEC schools, and plans to narrow his list down later this spring.

Max McCaffery: the 6’2” 180 pound wide receiver prospect from Highlands Ranch, Colorado is the son of former NFL and Stanford WR Ed McCaffrey, Max is also the nephew of former Duke men’s basketball player Billy McCaffrey, who transferred to Vanderbilt after the 1991 National Championship. Max and his younger brother, Christian (a rising sophomore running back) will look to lead Valor Christian to their third state championship this fall. Max currently has scholarship offers from Duke, Wake Forest, and Arizona State.

Woody Baron: the 6’3” 250 pound defensive end prospect from Brentwood, Tennessee is the nephew of former Virginia Tech defensive tackle James Baron, who later played briefly in the NFL and for several years in the AFL. A 2011 Finalist for Mr. Football in Tennessee, Woody finished his junior year with 50 tackles and 17 sacks at Brentwood Academy. With family ties to Virginia Tech, the Hokies may be tough to beat in this recruitment, but Duke was one of the first schools to offer the top prospect.

Torey Agee: the 6’4” 247 pound defensive end prospect from Opelika, Alabama is the son of former Auburn star fullback Tommie Agee. A talented run-stopper, Torey hopes to work on his pass rush this fall at Opelika. The Blue Devils joined South Alabama as the first to offer the talented junior, who now has 5 scholarship offers and interest from Auburn and Georgia Tech.

Nick Davidson: the 6’7” 270 pound offensive lineman from Eden Prarie, Minnesota is the son of former Ohio State and NFL lineman Jeff Davidson. Nick moved to Minnesota this spring from Charlotte, North Carolina, after his father left the Carolina Panthers to become the offensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings. With 14 scholarship offers already, Nick will have his choice of schools throughout the country, though he’s still waiting for an Ohio State offer.

Next week

With high school spring practices kicking off across the country, the Duke staff has been busy on the recruiting trail. We’ll have lots of recruiting coverage coming up next week, so be sure to check back in with Blue Devil Nation. As for the current Blue Devil team, we wish them best of luck as they wrap up their finals and take a well-deserved break. Of course, we also with the seniors well as they prepare to graduate on May 15. Duke’s first summer session begins on May 18 and several members of the class of 2011 will be on campus for the first time.

We promised a short column so that you could get to your assigned reading. Have a great week and be sure to chime in on the 4-2-5 defense or the BCS on the BDN premium message board. WE ARE DUKE.

 

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Lutheran (CA) LB Deion Williams is the fourth member of Duke's class of 2012

Duke leads for California LB Deion Williams

Lutheran (CA) LB Deion Williams visited Durham for Duke's spring game

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. Deion Williams is a 6’0” 215 pound linebacker prospect from Orange, California. The Blue Devils have had recruiting success on the west coast, bringing QB Brandon Connette, TE Cooper Helfet and WR Blair Holliday to Durham in recent classes. They hope that trend continues with Williams, who has already received a verbal scholarship offer from Duke and visited Durham this spring. As a junior, Williams was named 2nd Team All-Trinity League and is getting ready to [private] start spring football and make his college decision.

 

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

I only got to go out to North Carolina to visit Duke.

BDN: How did your visit to Duke go?

It went really well. The campus is beautiful and it just felt really good.

BDN: Which other schools do you hope to visit this spring or summer?

We’re going into spring ball right now so I don’t know if I can do a whole lot of traveling, but I’m hoping to get upstate to see Cal and even further up to see Washington.

BDN: Have any coaches spoken to you about coming to watch you play this spring?

I’m not sure, no. My coach will tell me that soon, though.

BDN: Have any new schools been in contact with your recently?

Some coaches from Northwestern have tried to get in contact with me through Facebook and…I can’t remember off the top of my head right now.

BDN: Which schools stand out to you at this point, based on your relationship with the coaching staff or your visits?

Duke really stands out to me. The coaching staff is great. I really felt at home there.

BDN: When you do plan to make your decision?

I hope to make my decision pretty soon. I want to just go on a couple more visits just to check around.

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

Thank you, sir.

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Colorado WR Max McCaffrey, son of former NFL WR Ed McCaffrey and nephew of 1991 Duke National Champion Billy McCaffrey, was in Durham recently.

Football Friday: Mythbusters

You still haven’t joined BDN Premium? Man, you’re missing out!

collapsing the distinction between the exasperatingly silly and the charmingly naughty

…delivers plenty of wit, verve and surreal mayhem to entice…

A piece of fluff as artificially sweetened as a fuchsia Peep…

Thanks to its fondness for smushing together seemingly incongruous elements…is just demented enough to deliver a fleeting sugar rush… [private]

Surprisingly, those were the reviews for the movie Hop, not Football Friday, but I sure would have been honored. Oh well, I don’t let the critics read my column, anyway. We start on two down notes today, but we’ll rally down the home stretch.

Tornadoes hit the South this week, including this massive twister just outside Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, AL.

 

Deadly storms in the South

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the strong storms and tornadoes that tore through the South on Wednesday, claiming nearly 300 lives. Neighborhoods and communities have been severely damaged and destroyed. It will take many months to piece back together the lives of the families affected, and there are many noble organizations that have quickly mobilized relief efforts. Please consider donating your time, money, goods, blood – whatever you can – to help those in need: American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Samaritan’s Purse, among many other deserving national and local groups. Head Coach David Cutcliffe, an Alabama native, will assist with a Time Warner Cable Recovery Drive today at 4 PM.

Anita Caldwell passes at age 103

There are only a select few who could honestly lay claim to the title “Duke Football’s Greatest Fan,” and Mrs. Caldwell would make the short list. The widow of former Duke Assistant Coach Herschel Caldwell, who came to Duke as an assistant one year before Wallace Wade, Mrs. Caldwell passed away this week on her 103rd birthday. A remarkable woman, Mrs. Caldwell missed only two Duke football home games in the past 77 years. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Good Samaritan Fund, c/o Duke Memorial United Methodist Church, 504 W. Chapel Hill Street, Durham, N.C., 27701 or to The Discretionary Fund, c/o Father Bert Eaton, St. Peters by the Sea, P.O. Box 337 Swansboro, N.C., 28584.

Recent visitors on campus

Colorado WR Max McCaffrey, son of former NFL WR Ed McCaffrey and nephew of 1991 Duke National Champion Billy McCaffrey, was in Durham recently.

In today’s recruiting, it’s a rarity for a prospect to commit to a school sight unseen. Thus, getting a prospect on campus for an unofficial visit, whether it’s for a game, a junior day, a summer camp or just a campus tour, is an important component of the recruiting process. In the world of emails, texting, and Facebook, there’s still no substitute for seeing coaches, players, and facilities in person. Even though spring practices are well behind us and the spring evaluation period is underway, three key prospects have been on campus over the past week.

Max McCaffrey: the 6’2” 180 pound wide receiver prospect from Highlands Ranch, Colorado made the trip to Duke with his mother recently. The son of former NFL and Stanford WR Ed McCaffrey, Max is also the nephew of former Duke men’s basketball player Billy McCaffrey, who transferred to Vanderbilt after the 1991 National Championship. Max and his younger brother, Christian (a rising sophomore running back) will look to lead Valor Christian to their third state championship this fall. Max currently has scholarship offers from Duke, Wake Forest, and Arizona State.

Eric Olson: Coach Luke would love to continue his success in recruiting talented offensive linemen, and Olson would certainly fit the bill. An athletic 6’6” 265 pound prospect from Cambridge, Massachusetts, Olson also played basketball briefly for Buckingham Browne & Nichols (per BDN’s Andrew Slater). Olson was on campus last weekend for an overnight visit, just a month after visiting for Duke’s spring game. Olson grew up a Duke basketball fan and the Blue Devils remain a major player in Olson’s recruitment, even though he is now up to 8 offers, including Boston College, Connecticut, Virginia, and Wake Forest, with interest from Northwestern and Stanford.

Dan Beilinson: If it’s good to get a prospect on campus for a visit, then it has to be very good to get a prospect on campus frequently. There are a handful of North Carolina prospects who have been frequent visitors to Wallace Wade Stadium, and the 6’5” 220 pound tight end Beilinson is one of them. Out of nearby Panther Creek in Cary, Beilinson has focused his visits so far on the three Triangle schools, and has developed a close relationship with the Duke staff. With some added weight, Beilinson has the tools to be a complete tight end that could thrive alongside current 2012 commit Erich Schneider in the Blue Devils’ prolific passing offense. The talented athlete already has five scholarship offers, including Duke, NC State, and Vanderbilt, with interest from Auburn, Florida, North Carolina, and Wake Forest.

Deconstructing some myths about Duke Football

Have you ever seen that show “Myth Busters?” I haven’t. I don’t even know what channel it’s on. If it’s any good, let me know. Anyway, most of us here at BDN, myself included, like to keep our fingers on the pulse of all things Duke athletics. Though happily entrenched here at BDN, I will admit that I occasionally do lurk on other free message boards to try to obtain some insight into the hearts and minds of Duke fans, especially when it comes to Duke football. As a self-admitted eternal optimist when it comes to Duke, it can be tough to read some of the unfounded criticism that is out there. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of room for criticism – when your last bowl game was in 1994, there’s obviously a lot of things wrong with the program. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. For those who have followed the program through the bad times, it’s hard not to see that things are heading in the right direction. I apologize in advance for my ranting, but I have to vent about some of the things I’ve heard and read recently about Duke football. Let’s take a look at some of the less-than-factual criticism from some of the more impatient Duke football fans:

Coach Cutcliffe has senior Donovan Varner and the Blue Devils expecting to win in 2011-GoDuke, Duke Photography

 

1. Coach Cutcliffe always speaks in hyperbole, creating unrealistic expectations.

First of all, what college head coach doesn’t? It’s basically in the job description. In Coach Cutcliffe’s case, he inherited a program defined by its culture of losing. Before you can succeed, you have to believe you can succeed, and that mentality has to be embraced throughout the program – from the administration to the coaching staff to the players to the fans. There’s no question that Coach Cutcliffe has done a remarkable job of changing the culture at Duke, to the point that coaches, players, and fans expect Duke to win games. Perhaps the best indicator of this is the incoming recruiting class of 2011 – several players have told BDN that they’re coming to Duke not just for the education or the chance to play football, but they plan on winning an ACC Championship. As for this year’s squad, when asked about the Blue Devils’ 2011 bowl chances, Cutcliffe said, “I don’t think there’s any question we’re at that level. We don’t have a huge margin of error just yet, but not anybody does, for the most part.” With a potent, veteran offense and a young, athletic defense, that sounds like a pretty fair assessment.

2. Duke has not been recruiting 4- and 5-star talent.

The correct criticism here is that Duke has not been bringing in 4- and 5-star talent, but it isn’t from a lack of effort. In the class of 2010, the Blue Devils offered at least 3 5-star prospects and 38 4-star prospects (and secured an initial commitment from LB Aramide Olaniyan). In 2011, Duke offered at least 4 5-star prospects and 51 4-star prospects (and nearly landed TE Cam Clear). While the class of 2012 rankings have yet to be released, Duke is going up against national powers for some of the top recruits and appears to be holding their own in at least a few cases so far. There’s no question that Duke needs to land some of these commits, and winning games will go a long way to helping that cause.

3. Duke has focused too much on regional recruiting.

There are two things wrong with this presumption. First, focusing on regional recruiting is probably the right thing to do. The majority of football players don’t go to school far from home, so it makes sense to spend a significant amount of time building relationships and recruiting within a home region. Let’s look at the number of in-state players on the rosters of four private schools that many love to compare Duke to:

Duke: 28%

Northwestern: 27%

Stanford: 37%

Vanderbilt: 12%

Wake Forest: 29%

If you expand those percentages to within a region (Midwest, Southeast, West Coast), they grow even larger, but it’s clear that Duke is not over-emphasizing in-state players relative to other schools. The in-state numbers are also similar when comparing the incoming class of 2011:

Duke 25%

Northwestern: 29%

Stanford 26%

Vanderbilt 24%

Wake Forest 19%

The second problem with the presumption is that it’s simply wrong. Less than one-third of the roster is from in-state, and with regards to recruiting, let’s look at the top states represented on the recruiting board, which contains only the players Duke actively recruited, from the past two years:

2011: AL (10), FL (37), GA (19), NC (50), NJ (7), OH (20), PA (8), SC (11), TN (11), TX (15), VA (14)

2012: CA (11), CO (5), FL (22), GA (16), MA (5), MD (10), NC (39), OH (23), PA (5), SC (12), TN (12), TX (6), VA (6)

Those numbers indicate to me that Duke is recruiting where the talent is, but by all means, please check my math.

There's excitement back in Wallace Wade Stadium - it's time to get on board the Duke Football bandwagon.

 

4. It’s still the same old Duke.

Bottom line, the talk of rebuilding our football program is getting tiresome to many fans, but progress is being made. The university has invested in the football program (check out our new indoor practice facility – sah-weet!) and fans are trickling back in to Wallace Wade Stadium, as season ticket sales have steadily increased. Even with a 3-win season in 2010, the Blue Devils have won more games under Coach Cutcliffe than they did in the previous 8 seasons (12 wins 2008-2010, 10 wins 2000-2007). No one is more tired of the talk than the players and coaches, who are ready to produce results on the field. Behind a strong offensive line, a solid stable of running backs, an All-ACC receiving corps, and arguably the best returning QB in the conference, this Blue Devil team has high hopes for the fall. There’s no question that the next step is to put together a winning season, and I can’t wait to find out if this Blue Devil team is tough enough to do it.

Seems like a good note to end on. WE ARE DUKE.

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Brookwood RB Nick Tompkins has a long list of offers, including Duke

Duke offers elite RB Nick Tompkins

Brookwood RB Nick Tompkins has a long list of offers, including Duke

After the emergence of young stars Desmond Scott, Josh Snead, and Juwan Thompson in 2010, the Blue Devils are looking for their next great back in the class of 2012. The Duke staff has been aggressive in recruiting elite running backs, including an offer to Georgia standout Nick Tompkins. Tompkins is a 5’10” 175 pound running back from Snellville, GA. After leading Brookwood to a 2010 state championship with 1,890 yards and 22 touchdowns, the speedy junior took home several postseason honors, including Offensive Player of the Year. Tompkins has stayed busy this spring with recruiting visits as offers continue to pour in for the elite athlete. Highlights from his junior year can be viewed here.

BDN: Can you start off by describing your strengths for fans who haven’t had a chance to see you play?

My strengths, well, I have a lot of speed, I’m a speed back. I run low to the ground, I have very good vision and once I break through the line, I never get brought down. Even though I’m like 175, I still break tackles, I rarely go down on first contact, I’m a hard runner too.

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

Just trying to get a little big bigger, get a little bit stronger. That’s really about it. Working on some route running because a lot of schools want to be able to use me in the slot also, they want to be able to use me as an all-purpose back.

BDN: What are some of your goals for yourself and your team in your senior season?

You know, try to win another state championship, go back-to-back, that’s all I would say.

BDN: As you look at your college decision, what are the most important factors you are looking for in a school?

First and foremost the coaches, especially the coaches that I’ll be spending the most time with there. I want them to be good people, honest, you know just nice to be around. And also I look at the players, I also like to look at the up and coming class, the 2011 class, talk to some of those guys because those are the guys you’re going to be playing with. I also look at academics, I want to major in business so I’m looking for a school that has a good business school. I also look at the campus life and I’m looking for a place that could feel like home to me.

BDN: I know there are a lot of schools who have offered you, but which schools have you been in contact with the most often?

Maryland, Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Indiana, I recently got offered by Michigan State yesterday, so I had actually been talking to them before and then they offered yesterday. Last week I kind of started talking to Florida State, they haven’t offered but they want me to come to camp.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools, or do you have any visits planned?

I went to Georgia Tech’s spring game last weekend. The weekend before that I visited Arkansas. And I’ve visited Clemson. This next week I’ll be visiting Maryland for their spring game and then I’m planning to visit Boston College, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and a few other schools, so I’m going to be really busy the next few weeks and over the summer traveling.

BDN: You mentioned the coaching staff being one of the most important things you’re looking for in a school; are there any coaches that you feel you have a particularly good relationship with at this point in the process?

Well, Georgia Tech’s staff. The only three schools that I’ve visited that have offered are Arkansas, Georgia Tech, and Virginia. Of those, I feel like Georgia Tech, I have a great relationship with their coaching staff. I’ve been up there three or four times now, know my way around quite well. I’ve built a great relationship with the coaches, I’ve talked to [Head Coach] Paul Johnson and know him personally. I’d say Georgia Tech has probably been the best in that aspect. But I’ve been getting mostly written letters from a lot of these other schools that have offered and I haven’t really got to talk to them in person because I haven’t visited them yet, so I’m going to wait and see how that goes.

BDN: You’ve obviously got a lot of great opportunities in front of you and you’ll be busy over the next few weeks and months; how and when do you plan on narrowing things down to make a decision?

Probably, definitely after I visit enough schools I’ll start narrowing it down by mid to end of June. Then I’ll try, my goal is to try and commit somewhere before my football season starts but I can’t guarantee that yet.

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

Thanks, I appreciate it.

 

Will St. John Bosco WR Justin Johnson be the next Duke commitment?

California WR Justin Johnson plans to visit Duke in June

St. John Bosco WR Justin Johnson has a good relationship with Coach Lubick

With Duke’s prolific passing offense, it’s no surprise that the Blue Devils have had success recruiting and developing talented wide receivers in Durham, most notably All-ACC performers Eron Riley, Donovan Varner, and Conner Vernon. After adding a talented California WR in the class of 2011 in Blair Holliday, the Blue Devils continue to recruit West Coast receivers in 2012. Duke is the first school to offer Justin Johnson, a 6’1” 190 pound receiver from St. John Bosco in Bellflower, CA. As a junior, Johnson formed one of the country’s top receiving tandems with Bryce Treggs, finishing with 27 catches for 365 yards. Highlights from his junior season can be viewed here.

 

BDN: Can you start off by describing your strengths for fans who haven’t had a chance to see you play?

As a receiver, my strengths are, I’m kind of a power runner, I’m not as quick as some of the smaller receivers because I’m like 190, and I get good releases when someone’s in my face. I run good routes, my catching ability is good, and I’m an excellent blocker, all of the things a receiver needs to play in a football game.

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

This offseason I’m working on getting off on bigger corners, because I know when I go to college, the corners are going to be way bigger than the corners that are in high school right now. I’m working on getting out of my breaks a little better than I already do. And I’m just working on breaking the cushion on corners, so I run track and am getting faster at doing that.

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

We plan on winning it all, going to state. I think it’s the perfect year to do because we have all the talent and the discipline we need to do it. We didn’t do it last year, last year was a shaky season and this year should be better than last year. I’m just trying to better myself so I can do better than we did last season.

BDN: As you look at your college decision, what are the most important factors you are looking for in a school?

I’m just looking for academics first, the sports will come, because when I graduate, even if I don’t make it to the NFL like I plan to, I can always have my degree to fall back on, and graduating from a place like Duke, all the doors that can be opened for me with a degree from Duke.

BDN: You stressed the importance of academics and a degree; is there a specific field that you’re interested in studying?

Right now, I’m thinking about aerospace engineering or computer science, but I’ve looked into majors, those are the two that I’m interested in, it might change, it might not change. I wanted to be business, but some schools don’t offer business as an undergraduate major, so I would have to do that postgraduate.

BDN: You mentioned you have an offer from Duke, but what are the other schools that you’ve been in contact with and have a good relationship with?

I’m developing a relationship with Northwestern, with Cal, with Stanford, San Diego State is coming, and Washington, I’m going to their spring game next week.

BDN: Ok, so you’ll be visiting Washington next week; have you had a chance to make any other visits or do you have any other visits planned?

I went to Junior Day at Stanford back in February, I believe. And that’s about it. I’m going to visit Duke the first weekend of June.

BDN: Are there any coaches in particular that you have a good relationship with at this point in the recruiting process?

As of right now, the only coach that I’m really close with is Coach [Matt] Lubick from Duke, and Coach Jerry Brown from Northwestern. Those are the only coaches that have had a lot of contact with me.

BDN: Do you have an idea for when you would like to make your final decision or how you would like to narrow your list down?

I would like to weigh all my options at the end of the summer and then probably make my decision before the season or midway through the season. If it’s a real hard decision, then I’ll probably wait until after the season.

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

As a player, when I go to college, I like to bring a bit of excitement to the team and I have a winning aspect about myself, I don’t like to lose, so I will do anything in my power when I do get to college to make the team win and put us on top of the map as far as rankings or however it goes. I just want to win.

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

Thank you, Patrick, for talking to me.