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Duke will host a top-10 Stanford team in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 10

BDN previews Duke’s week 2 showdown with Andrew Luck and Stanford

Duke will host a top-10 Stanford team in Wallace Wade Stadium on September 10

Are you ready for some football, Blue Devil Nation? Ok, you’re fully immersed in our coverage of the Lebron James Skills Academy and Adidas Invitational. Or maybe you’re on your summer vacation. Either way, football season is fast approaching, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. So get on board! Season tickets are on sale now at GoDuke.com, or through the Duke Ticket Office at (919) 681-BLUE.

Over the next several weeks, BDN will team up with other college football insiders to preview the 2011 Duke schedule. We kicked off our series earlier this week with help from David Weissman of The Collegian to help with our Richmond preview. There’s no question that the season opener is a must-win game for the Blue Devils, and that game deserves the full attention of the players and staff. But as fans, we have the luxury of being able to look ahead to the marquee week 2 matchup with the Stanford Cardinal. We’ll have lots more to say about this game between now and September 10th, but let’s take a quick look at some of the story lines.

Duke and Stanford last met on the gridiron in 1972, and obviously a lot has changed with the two programs since that last meeting in Durham. Head Coach David Cutcliffe enters his fourth year at Duke in pursuit of the Blue Devils’ first bowl game since 1994, having infused energy and optimism into a long-dormant program. It wasn’t that long ago that the Cardinal found themselves in a similar position, coming off a 1-11 season in 2006. After Jim Harbaugh’s arrival in 2007, well, as they say, the rest is history. Stanford is now a consensus top 10 team, having dismantled ACC Champion Virginia Tech 40-12 in last year’s Orange Bowl. After Harbaugh’s departure for the NFL, the 2011 Cardinal team will be led by first year Head Coach David Shaw, and he’ll have Heisman favorite Andrew Luck leading the offense. In all, eleven starters return for Stanford, and they will open the season against former Duke Defensive Coordinator Mike Macintyre (and Simon Connette, younger brother of Duke QB Brandon Connette) and the San Jose State Spartans.

In 2010, Duke hosted a top-ranked Alabama team in September, which featured a defending Heisman trophy winner in Mark Ingram and had easily defeated San Jose State in their season opener. It’s easy to see the potential parallels between that matchup and the 2011 non-conference clash with Stanford, but Blue Devil fans are hopeful for a much better outcome. With this game against a ranked opponent being nationally televised on ESPNU, it could be a golden opportunity for Sean Renfree and the Blue Devils to announce themselves on the national scene. Though Luck and the Cardinal will be a formidable opponent, it should be an exciting game in a packed Wallace Wade Stadium between two of the nation’s most prestigious academic institutions.

To give us additional insight into the Stanford program, we are fortunate to have the help of Hank Waddles of GoMightyCard.com.

BDN: Many Duke fans point to Stanford’s success as proof that top academic schools can produce championship football programs. It’s hard to believe that the Cardinal were 1-11 just five seasons ago; to what do you attribute Stanford’s meteoric rise and success? How much confidence do fans have in new Head Coach David Shaw’s ability to continue that success?

I remember reading an article from a Duke perspective that made this same point some time around the Orange Bowl last January. The funny thing is that twenty years ago Stanford fans looked at Duke as proof that a university with a strong academic reputation could also field a competitive basketball team. When the Stanford football program was lost in the darkness of Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris, there were many who followed the team who felt as if the University had given up on the idea of fielding a winning football team. Even Bill Walsh felt that the stiff admissions requirements were too much to overcome. The arrival of Jim Harbaugh changed all that. That’s no deep analysis, but I don’t think it can be understated. Harbaugh took the job in 2006 because he believed he could win, and then he convinced everyone around him — the players, the coaches, the fans, and the athletic department — that it was possible. Belief is fine, but Harbaugh and his staff also did a great job bringing in players that could compete — and dominate — in the Pac-10. Harbaugh’s departure was a disappointment, but it wasn’t unexpected. David Shaw, I think, is the perfect man to replace him. A Stanford graduate himself, Shaw actually sees the University’s academic reputation as an advantage in recruiting, and the football department recently send a letter to all recruits detailing the financial returns of a Stanford degree as compared to other schools whose football teams are in the top 25. The media has made much of the idea that Stanford won’t be able to win without Harbaugh’s personality to drive the bus, but what they’re forgetting is that the 2011 roster is clearly — clearly — more talented than the team that we last saw running roughshod over Virginia Tech. Confidence is high.

BDN: Despite the departure of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and with only 11 starters returning, expectations are still high for the Cardinal in 2011. What are the biggest question marks for this team as they head into training camp?

Any time a team loses a head coach — and loses quality coaches from the staff — that has to be a question, but as stated above, I think it’s a question the Cardinal will answer. As far as what we’ll see on the field, I’d say there are three main areas of concern. The defensive line will have to survive the loss of nose tackle Sione Fua, who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers. Behind the line, though, the linebacking corps is developing into one of the best units in the conference, if not the entire country, and the secondary is also a strength. On the offensive side of the ball, the biggest question is the offensive line, which lost three starters. The good news, though, is that the two who are returning were both All-Pac-10 selections. I think the line will be fine by the end of the season, but it will be interesting to see how well things will have come together for this matchup in the second week of the season. Finally, there are the wide receivers, which have been a question mark since last year. Chris Owusu could solve all this just by staying healthy, but it’s been quite a while since he’s played at full strength. Even if he is healthy, there is no true front runner for the second receiver. Hopefully someone will assert himself during training camp.

 

 

The Duke defense will have to find a way to slow Heisman favorite Andrew Luck and the Cardinal offense

 

BDN: QB Andrew Luck made the laudable decision to return to school for his senior year and obtain his degree. How much has Luck meant to the Stanford program? Do you think he can play much better than his 3338 yards, 70.7% completions, and 32 touchdowns from a year ago (in other words, does he have a weakness)?

The thing about Andrew Luck is that I actually don’t think people talk enough about how great he is. Even the very best college quarterbacks struggle at times. They miss wide open receivers, they throw head-scratching interceptions, they make terrible decisions, but Luck doesn’t do any of those things. (There is a weakness, though. As much as the coaching staff drills it into his head, he stubbornly refuses to step out of bounds on his scrambles, preferring to seek out the contact.) He really is the perfect quarterback, but his value to the team extends far beyond the numbers, and it will extend far beyond his time at Stanford. He accepted a scholarship offer to play for what at the time was a mediocre football team because he wanted a great education and because he believed that the team could eventually become a winner. What he’s done during his two years at quarterback is win twenty games, elevate Stanford football to a level never before seen, and stun the world by passing up the NFL’s millions. His next year will bring a Stanford degree, possibly a Heisman trophy, possibly a national championship, and… the NFL’s millions. I’m not sure whether or not Luck’s numbers can improve this year, but offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton issued a tongue-in-cheek challenge during Stanford’s spring workouts. He hoped that Luck would complete 100% of his passes this season. We’ll see.

BDN: Duke and Stanford last met in 1972 and have split the historical series 1-1. With the cross-country road trip and a relatively unknown opponent, what are your expectations or concerns for the week two match-up with the Blue Devils?

This isn’t new. In 2009 Stanford opened the season with a cupcake at home (Washington State) and then traveled across the country to play an ACC team in Week 2. That year it was Wake Forest, and it was kind of a disaster. The Cardinal looked good in the first half, but then everything went wrong in the second half, and the Demon Deacons rallied for a 24-17 victory. This year Stanford opens with the San Jose State Cupcakes, then travels east for the Duke game. The Cardinal should definitely win, but it’s never easy for a college team take a trip like this and come away with a victory. (This is why even teams from the powerful SEC rarely venture more than a hundred miles from home for non-conference games.) My biggest concern will be the offensive line. I’ll be interested to see how well they’re playing as a unit early in the season. If they’ve meshed, look out.

BDN: After watching Andrew Luck pick apart ACC Champion Virginia Tech in the BCS Orange Bowl, there’s no question Duke will have a tall task in trying to knock off the Cardinal. If you were an opposing coach, how would you try to contain Luck and the Cardinal offense? How would you attack the Stanford defense?

I bet that opposing coaches will initially think that the offensive line is a weakness, so they’ll drop extra guys into coverage and dare the Cardinal to run. There are two big problems with this. David Shaw has made it clear that Stanford will be a running team. (“We’ll get off the bus running power,” he has said.) Also, not too many teams in the country have a better running back tandem than junior Stepfan Taylor and sophomore Anthony Wilkerson. The second problem is that even if you drop extra men and only rush three or four, Luck will still pick you apart. If he has time, he’ll find the open receiver, even if you drop ten into coverage. He’s better than any college quarterback I’ve ever seen at looking to his second and third targets. I think you have to treat Andrew Luck like an NFL quarterback. If he’s comfortable in the pocket, he will destroy you, plain and simple. You have to blitz him on every single passing down and just hope that you’re able to get to him before he finds the open receiver. The problem with this, of course, is that he’s better than any college quarterback I’ve ever seen at reading defenses before the snap and identifying hot receivers, so the blitz better get there, and it better get there quickly. As for attacking the defense, the bad news is that San Jose State probably won’t give the Duke staff much to work off of. Because the line will be a potential weakness, I’d say the Blue Devils will have to try to run early and run often. If they can gain yardage on the ground, they’ll force the Cardinal defense to put away some of their usual blitzing schemes, simplifying things a bit for the offense, and the secret bonus will be that Luck will spend more time on the sideline than on the field, and that’s never a bad thing.

BDN: Thank you for your helpful insight, Hank!

Previous week: September 3, Richmond at Duke
Next week: September 17, Duke at Boston College
Duke was among the first schools to offer Alabama DE Torey Agee

Run-stopping DE Torey Agee says Duke has “everything I’m looking for”

Duke was among the first schools to offer Alabama DE Torey Agee

With the addition of veteran Defensive Line Coach Rick Petri this offseason, expectations are high for the Blue Devils’ defensive line in 2011 and beyond. Prior to his arrival in Durham, Coach Petri has tutored some of the top units in the country at Miami, Kentucky, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. Throughout his career, Coach Petri has mentored numerous All-SEC and All-ACC defensive linemen, including NFL stars such as Warren Sapp and John Abraham. With a young group of athletic defensive linemen already in Durham, Coach Petri and the Duke coaching staff are looking to bring in potential impact players in the class of 2012. With three talented prospects already verbally committed, Duke is focusing their recruiting efforts on a handful of top recruits, including a big-time run-stopper from Alabama. Torey Agee is a 6’4” 250 pound defensive end from Opelika, AL and the son of former Auburn star Tommie Agee. Since we last spoke with Torey, he’s earned scholarship offers from several top schools, including Stanford and Vanderbilt. The star student-athlete was in Durham this past weekend and caught up with BDN to give his thoughts on his visit. [private]

 

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you the hardest this spring and summer?

At this point, the schools that have really be in contact with me besides Duke have been Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Southern Miss, and Auburn.

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

So far I’ve only had a chance to visit Georgia Tech and Duke, but I have plans for other visits later on this summer.

BDN: Do you know which schools you are planning to visit, or is that still up in the air?

I know I’m going to Vanderbilt and I’m probably going to go to camps at Auburn and Troy.

BDN: How did your visits to Duke and Georgia Tech go?

Both those schools are great, they have exactly what I’m looking for and that’s a strong academic program, so it’s right up my alley. Both campuses are beautiful, the football teams are good, the coaches are great, it was just a wonderful trip.

BDN: Since it’s fresh in your mind, can you talk a little about your visit to Duke this weekend?

The Duke visit was great. We toured the whole campus and met some of the coaches and some of the players and they told me what it would be like in a typical day if I became a Blue Devil. It was great, you know, I’m still kind of taking it all in.

BDN: Last time we spoke, you were taking your time with the process. Now that you’ve taken a few visits, do you know how or when you want to start to narrow things down?

No, I’m still pretty much taking my time, like I said,  I don’t really want to rush into anything, so I’m just taking it slow this summer, visiting a bunch of places and trying to get my thoughts together before I pick a school to go to.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Torey, and we look forward to hearing from you again soon.

Alright, thank you.

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DT Korren Kirven has a busy summer planned

ESPNU150 DT Korren Kirven is staying in contact with Duke

DT Korren Kirven has a busy summer planned

Under new defensive line coach Rick Petri, the Blue Devils have targeted some of the top defensive line prospects in the class of 2012. One of the first linemen to visit Durham and pick up a verbal scholarship offer was Korren Kirven, a 6’5” 275 pound prospect from Lynchburg, Virginia. The recently-named ESPNU150 defensive tackle is now up to over 20 scholarship offers from many of the top programs in the ACC and SEC. Kirven visited Durham again for the Nike camp on May 23 and came away with All-Camp Team honors. When BDN last spoke with Kirven, he had come away impressed with the Duke program: “Duke – their whole academic thing down there is really good…it was a good visit.” With his recruitment picking up, Korren checked back in with BDN to update his summer plans.

BDN: How has your spring been going?

We had 7-on-7 stuff, that’s almost over. We have one more event, that’s at  UVA and we’re going to be traveling up there to play. That’s it with spring ball, but we’re going to be starting weight lifting, our weight-lifting program on Monday.

BDN: How has your 7-on-7 season gone?

We’ve been doing good, I think we only lost one time. Other than that, I think we’ve been pretty good.

BDN: What schools have you visited this spring?

I’m going down to UNC soon. The schools that I’ve visited, though, have been Virginia Tech, Duke, Tennessee, and Virginia. I think that’s about it, but I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling this summer.

BDN: Which coaches have had a chance to stop by to see you this spring?

Virginia Tech’s coaches, UVA, Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Marshall, Colorado, Texas Tech, UCF, it’s quite a few of them. There’s a lot of them, I can’t really name all of them right now, but it was quite a few of them.

BDN: Which schools have you been in contact with the most so far?

My Virginia schools I always stay in contact with, but other than that, Alabama, Tennessee, Duke, Rutgers, Stanford, Notre Dame, Colorado, and Florida have been the schools that I’ve stayed in touch with, and Maryland.

BDN: You mentioned taking a lot of visits this summer, which schools are you definitely planning to visit?

Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, Colorado, and possibly Oregon.

BDN: Obviously you’ve got a lot of great choices in front of you, how you do plan to start to narrow things down at this point?

Yeah, I’m going to take all my visits and slowly narrow down my list and go from there. I’ll take all my officials and then I guess I’ll have a school.

BDN: That sounds like a long way off right now, doesn’t it?

[Laughs] Yeah, yeah.

BDN: Which schools do you feel like you have the best relationship with right now?

Always the Virginia schools stand out, but like I said, Florida and Alabama, and Tennessee.

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

Okay, thank you man.


 

Pinecrest OL Bryce Kennedy is looking for a school with great academics

Pinecrest OL Bryce Kennedy likes Duke

Pinecrest OL Bryce Kennedy is looking for a school with good academics

Many consider the strength of Duke’s last recruiting class to be the offensive line, led by Cody Robinson, Marcus Aprahamian, Lucas Patrick, and Matt Skura. Coach Luke and the staff would love to add a few more impact linemen to the roster in the class of 2012, but it’s been a slow start at the position so far. With camp season in full swing, recruiting has picked up quickly, and Duke has extended offers to a number of top offensive linemen across the country, and some close to Durham. One of the top linemen in the state of North Carolina resides in Southern Pines, and 6’3″ 285 pound prospect Bryce Kennedy added a Blue Devil offer to his list a few weeks ago.

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

My biggest thing is I’m fast for my size, I get off the ball pretty quick, so I think that’s my biggest strength.

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

Trying to get stronger, I’m in the weight room a lot, doing a lot of weights. I’ve started the speed process, I’m doing less weights, a lot of reps, trying to get faster for the season.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year?

My senior year I plan on giving my all, making plays, helping my team out, and I hope my team takes after me and gives it their all.

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

Main thing I’m looking for is if they have a good program in academics. I’m big on academics and my mom is too, so I know she’s going to want me to go to a school that’s big on academics.

BDN: Is there a particular academic program you’re interested in studying?

Not right now, I’m still looking around, but I mean schools like Duke and [North] Carolina, top academic schools.

BDN: What schools have you been in contact with the most?

South Carolina, East Carolina, NC State has been by. Clemson has been by, North Carolina by, and Duke has been by. I think that’s been about it. Wake Forest has been by. The schools I’ve been to already has been South Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina and I’m going to NC State this weekend or next weekend. Oh yeah, Stanford came by, too.

BDN: That was going to be my next question. How did your visits go to South Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina?

They’re all great, they’re all great schools. From what I saw, they’re all just great schools and would be great places to go to school.

BDN: Do you have any visits planned for this summer other than NC State?

I plan on going to Stanford this summer and Wake Forest and probably East Carolina. I’ll probably go back to South Carolina, Duke, and UNC too.

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

They’re all new to me, so they’ve all really, really, really surprised me. South Carolina, I know the coaches a lot, I know the OLine coach since I’ve been a freshman he’s been there and what type of guy he is. I like Duke and [North] Carolina a lot because of the campuses and I know how the academics are. I’ve talked to the coaches a lot and they seem like good coaches to have, like they’d be there for me and everything.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how you would like to narrow things down and make your decision?

Yeah, I’m going to talk to my parents about and see what schools are at the top.

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

The only thing that’s really important to me is that I’m going to give my all on every play, I’m going to be there to support my team, and I’m a player that they can count on.

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

Alright, thank you sir.

 

Dorsey LB Jeremiah Allison has a Duke offer

Duke targets top California LB Jeremiah Allison

Dorsey LB Jeremiah Allison has a Duke offer

This spring, the Duke coaching staff has been scouting the country for the best defensive talent in the class of 2012, and they found an outstanding linebacker prospect in the state of California. Jeremiah Allison is a 6’1” 210 pound linebacker prospect from Dorsey High School in Los Angeles. The Blue Devils have had recruiting success on the west coast, bringing QB Brandon Connette, TE Cooper Helfet, WR Blair Holliday, and current 2012 LB commit Deion Williams to Durham in recent years. They hope that trend continues with Allison, who has received a verbal scholarship offer from Duke, along with Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada, SMU, and UCLA. As a junior, Allison was first team all-state, all-city, and all-league, totaling 88 tackles and 24 sacks. A standout both on the field and in the classroom, Allison is the prototypical play-making defender the Blue Devils are looking for in the class of 2012.

 

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

Some of my strengths are that I’m a student of the game, I always want to learn more about the game. I’m very competitive and I’m able to get to the quarterback quite well. I’m always going one hundred miles per hour, and I never dwell on a bad play, I just try to move on to the next play.

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

I’m playing outside linebacker and I’m working on a lot of coverage, that’s a big key that I’ve been working on. Of course, you know, I can get around the corner and get to the quarterback, but the main priority is covering, so I’ve been working on that a lot.

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

Of course a championship, I want to bring a championship back to Dorsey. I want to break the sack record, which is 26. I came 6 short, well actually 2 because I had half-sacks. I want to make sure my teammates around me are able to get into colleges, so I just want to make sure we have an all-around great season.

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

Of course academics, with me being a 4.25 [GPA] student, I really stress the importance of education. The name of the player is a student-athlete, so being a student is a really big priority, and the college education is really big as well. So I’m really going to focus on education when I pick a college.

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

Right now I’m thinking of two. Either going into law, because I love to debate and I feel that no one can beat me in a debate, or also anesthesiology. I really became fond of science so I’m thinking of going into medicine.

BDN: What schools have you had the most contact with this spring?

They’re all basically the same. They all contact me around the same amount. All the schools have really reached out to me.

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

I took two unofficial visits – I took three actually. I took one to Stanford, one to Cal, one to UCLA…and one to USC. I went to Stanford for a Nike camp, but we ended up going up the day before for their Junior Day. And I went to UC Berkeley with one of my friends for their Junior Day, and of course UCLA and USC are right in my backyard so they’re easy campuses to reach.

BDN: Do you have any plans to visit some of the schools that are farther away?

Most definitely, I do have plans to visit schools away from California just so I can get a feel for the other aspects of America.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how you want to narrow things down and make a final decision?

Right now I just want to get the season started and see how we progress as a team. If our season is running smoothly, and I don’t have a lot of things on my plate, I’ll be able to get more into the college recruiting process and sitting down and thinking about where I want to go. But if the team depends on me to help them out with anything, I’m going to really focus on the team because for us seniors, this is our last shot.

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

One thing, the people who are going to be helping me make my decision are my Coach Lonnie Pumphrey and Coach Knox and my mother and my grandmother. And I just cherish the game of football, every time I go out there I’m trying to get better and I’m always trying to uplift my teammates and do the right thing.

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

Alright, thanks.


 

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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