Tag Archives: Stanford

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.

[/private]

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.

 

Duke has offered top TE Evan Baylis

TE Evan Baylis has a Duke offer, along with several west coast schools

Duke has offered top TE Evan Baylis

Tight end is a position that Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Middleton hope to develop into a consistent strength within the Duke offense. In the past few seasons, Duke has featured a dynamic group of tight ends, including Brett Huffman, Brandon King, and Cooper Helfet. The Blue Devils will add freshman David Reeves to the depth chart this fall, and are looking at several prospects in the class of 2012. Along with verbal commit Erich Schneider, Duke has offered top TE Evan Baylis. Baylis is a 6’6” 225 pound prospect from Aurora, Colorado. 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?

I guess I’d have to say my footwork and feet for how tall I am. And my aggressiveness, maybe.

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

Putting on some weight, I’ve actually gained 20 pounds and just adding some strength and speed.

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

I want to go as far as we can in the playoffs, maybe win state if we can. For myself, I want to try and get All-State, I got honorable mention last year.

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

I’m looking at the tradition of the school, how well I get along with the coaches and the coaching staff, the campus, and how they use the tight ends in their offense.

BDN: Do you have a preference for a specific type of offense?

No, not really.

BDN: Which schools have you been in contact with the longest or most often?

Probably CU, Boise State, Michigan, Oregon, and Stanford.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools this spring?

I’ve been able to get out to CU, CSU, Boise State, Michigan, Oregon, and Stanford.

BDN: Do you have any other visits planned for this spring or summer?

None are planned, but I’m definitely going to try and see some other colleges, I’m not quite sure yet.

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 definitely am going to want to make it before my senior year, probably sometime in the summer.

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

On all my visits, I’ve gotten along with the coaches really well with everything they’ve shown me is great. They’re all good choices and the coaches are all really nice, so it’s tough to choose.

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

Alright, thank you.

 

Dontonio Jordan says that running back is his natural position

Texas RB prospect Dontonio Jordan has offers from Duke and Stanford

Dontonio Jordan says that running back is his natural position

When Head Coach David Cutcliffe came to Durham, he vowed that he would transform the Blue Devils into a faster and more athletic team. In his first few recruiting classes, he has added several elite athletes, including Isaac Blakeney in 2010 and Jamison Crowder in 2011. The coaching staff is looking to continue that trend in the class of 2012, and Duke is one of the first two schools to offer a top athlete from Texas. Dontonio Jordan is a 5’11” 183 pound athlete from Corinth, Texas. His great speed and quickness have allowed him to play both receiver and running back for Lake Dallas High School. 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?

Running back, that’s really my natural position. That’s where I played until I was a freshman, and then we had like 4 or 5 good running backs my sophomore year in high school, so they decided that playing receiver would be the best position for me at that time, for sophomore year. Junior year – last year – I got a little bit more running back carries, averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and about the same amount or receptions, but a lot more yards and I had 10 more touchdowns than I did the year before, so that was a good improvement.

BDN: You said you feel like running back is your natural position, is that where you want to play in college and what position have college coaches been talking to you about playing?

College are considering me as an inside receiver, because that’s all they’re really seen me as, as of right now. But after this year, because I think running back is more my natural position, I think I’m going to have a big year at running back this year and more colleges will be looking at me for that also.

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

Me and my dad, my dad helps me out a lot. We go to the track probably every Sunday, we’re probably going out there later today. We go every Sunday and work on footwork drills and lateral movement. I still work on my route running and stuff, too, and I’m also lifting a lot of weights, when I can lift on weekends, on Saturdays with my dad also. I do push-ups at home, and stuff like that. I go to a camp every Tuesday and Thursday, I go to this thing called Velocity, where we do a lot of core training to get your core stronger, balance, 40 [yard dash] times, all types of stuff like that.

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

Last year we had kind of a disappointment. We should have won easily to at least the fourth round of the playoffs, but we lost in the first round, just a couple of muffed punts and stuff like that. Next year, for me personally, I think I should have a 1,000 yard rushing season and about 700 yards receiving at least. I think our team, we have a lot of returning starters – we have 9 on offense and probably about 5 or 6 on defense – so we have a lot of experience and we have a lot more depth, so I think we should be able to go to at least the 4th round and face [defending state champion] Aledo [High School].

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

My top three things that I would look for is the proximity to home, and if I’m not close to home, say if I’m in North Carolina or California or somewhere like that, then how “homey” is it? Do I feel like it’s home to me? And early playing time is one of my top three also, and good coaching. All the coaches that I’ve talked to, most of them, I get a good vibe off of, and I like that I can build a relationship with the coaches.

BDN: I know we mentioned that Duke is one of the schools that has offered you. Which schools have you in contact with the most, and which schools have extended verbal offers?

Stanford is the only other offer that I have as of right now. I’m getting a lot of calls from people saying they’re coming to see me this spring, they want to evaluate me more, but they say an offer is on the way. Some other schools are saying that if I get my transcripts to them then I’ll get an offer. Schools like Tulsa, UConn, Baylor, Iowa, and Michigan State. Those are really the ones that I talk to the most often.

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

As of right now, I think it’s almost set in stone that we’re visiting Stanford on May 14. Duke, I think we’re going to try to make a fall visit there. UConn, they’re trying to get me out there we just don’t know when. I’ve already visited Baylor, that was my first visit actually. I went to SMU yesterday. Iowa’s been trying to get me out there, but it’s really just all going to come down to my official visits, really.

BDN: So it sounds like you want to take some official visits this fall and make a decision after your season, is that right?

Yeah, yes sir.

BDN: Is there anything else that you think college football fans should know about you?

You know, I’m just a regular guy, nothing out of the normal about me.

BDN: Well it certainly sounds like you’re a hard worker and I just want to wish you best of luck with your recruitment. Thanks a lot, Dontonio.

No problem, thanks.

 

Albert Reid stars at RB and DB for Friendship Collegiate

DC athlete Albert Reid has offers from Duke and Stanford

Albert Reid has offers from Duke and Stanford

The Blue Devils’ secondary has been an area of recent concern for many Duke fans, and the coaching staff has worked hard to upgrade the depth over the past two recruiting classes. In the class of 2012, Duke has extended a scholarship offer to a top athlete from the DC area. Albert Reid is a 5’10” 195 pound athlete at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, DC. After playing running back and safety during his junior season, he has received offers from Duke and Stanford and is receiving interest from several other programs. 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?

I play both sides of the ball.  On defense I play free safety.  I think of that as my second position because I prefer playing running back, but defense could also be as one of my positions as I transfer to college football. I lead blocks a lot.  When I see a hole, I hit the hole.  And I’ve got good vision.

BDN: What are some of the things you’re working on this offseason?

Just working on my strength and conditioning, just working together trying to build my team back up.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior season?

My goal for senior season is to basically just to have an undefeated record.  That’s what we was trying to do last year, but we didn’t actually succeed at that.  But next year, have an undefeated record to get our place in college.

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

The most important thing is education.  That comes before anything else.  Basically just education is always going to come first, though.  That’s the first thing I’m going to look at when I go look at a college or something.  Second thing is how are the coaches going to be at that college if I went there.  Are they good people to be around, or what’s the atmosphere of the college?

BDN: Is there a specific academic field you are interested in?

Yeah, mechanical engineering was going to be my first choice, but if that didn’t work out, I was just going to be in something like sports medicine or some – like sports injuries, something like that.

BDN: Who are the schools you have heard from the most so far?

Well, right now, I have two verbal scholarship offers.  One is from Duke and one is from Stanford. I have been in contact with Maryland.  I talked to NC State.  There’s a couple other colleges.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools?

Yeah, I took an unofficial visit to Duke and Maryland.

BDN: How did your visits go?

They went good.  When I went up to Duke, they showed me around the campus.  I went to one of their practices, the day before their game.

BDN: Have any schools stood out to you at this point in the process?

No, I’m still open.

BDN: Have you given any thought to when you would like to make your decision or narrow things down?

No, I’m not sure when I’ll make a decision.  I would like to set out to go visit the colleges before I make a decision.

BDN: Is there anything else you think college football fans should know about you?

The main thing about me is just I have a good personality, a good person to be around, good leadership.

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

Alright, you too.