The Blue Devils have had a lot of success passing the ball utilizing Coach Cutcliffe’s spread offense over the past few seasons, including throwing to the tight ends. With the departure of Cooper Helfet to the Seattle Seahawks, Duke hopes that young tight ends Issac Blakeney and David Reeves will be able to help fill the void this fall, but the coaching staff continues to look towards the future on the recruiting trail.
One prospect who has caught the attention of the Blue Devil staff is Johnny Mundt, a 6’5” 235 pound tight end from Central Catholic HS in Modesto, California. The athletic junior hauled in 17 balls, including 5 for touchdowns, while leading Central Catholic to a 10-3 overall record and the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinals. His junior year performance at both tight end and linebacker earned him a spot on the 2011 Cal-Hi Sports All-State 2nd Team, as well as All-League and All-District honors. For fans and coaches who like measurables, Mundt is your ideal prospect. At a Nike combine earlier this year, Mundt posted the top SPARQ rating (a sport-specific athletic assessment) for tight ends in the country. As you might expect, interest in Mundt has soared, and he now boasts nine scholarship offers, picking up his most recent from Oregon shortly after speaking with BDN. This past week, the Blue Devils hosted the talented rising senior on an unofficial visit, hoping that the student-athlete might be an ideal fit at Duke.
BDN: What do you think are your strengths as a tight end and as a football player in general?
Well I am 6’5” 235 pounds, I run a 4.76  so I can let you pretty well for my size. Basically my specialty as a tight end is I’m physical and I play like an athlete, but I try not to brag a lot.
BDN: Offenses use tight ends differently; how have you been utilized in your offense in high school?
Definitely. My high school is basically a run-first team so I do a lot of blocking, but I do have some special plays because my coach has started to realize that I’m more of a pass-catching tight end. They like to get me off the ball and go out and run a route, but basically I’ll do whatever it takes to win, whether it’s putting a guy out down the sideline or making a catch over a couple guys, I’ll get it done.
BDN: What are some of the things you’re working on as you prepare for your senior season?
I am working on playing more out in space, even at X, that’s where they’re going to have me play a little bit, just trying to create some mismatches because you know in high school they aren’t going to have a big corner out there, so just trying to create a mismatch, so I’m just trying to get out there and get it done.
BDN: I’m sure you’ll still be able to create some mismatches at the college level as well.
Definitely. That’s what Coach Middleton and I have talked a lot about and we’re pretty excited about doing.
BDN: As you approach your recruiting process, what are the most important things you are looking for in a school?
Obviously I’m going to go to a school that is challenging academically but is pushing me to be the best student-athlete I can be. Duke is obviously prestigious in academics and also football, and that’s why I went to visit there and just loved it. Aside from just being academics and the depth chart, I’m looking for a school that I can really call my home and spend four years here and not being as homesick as a normal kid would, but be excited to wake up and get to practice and get back in the classroom and just enjoy being at college.
BDN: How is your recruiting process going? How many scholarship offers do you have?
I think I might have been a little under-recruited at the beginning just because I wasn’t used a lot as a pass-catching tight end my junior year, but I had 17 catches and 5 touchdowns. After I went to the Nike Combine, I’m currently the #1 TE in SPARQ scores and that’s what kind of got my name out, that I’m a kid at my size who can run and jump and do all that stuff. As of now, I have 8 offers. I’ve just visited Colorado and Duke, loved them both. Next week I’m going to head out to Oregon and see Oregon State, and probably see Stanford in the near future.
BDN: Since it’s fresh in your mind, let’s talk about your recent visit to Duke. How did that go?
I can honestly say there was not one part of the school that I didn’t like. I was extremely surprised going in, because I did not know that an unofficial visit would be that fun and that interesting. Meeting with all the coaches, we had a great tour guide, just seeing the school, the beautiful campus, you could just feel the kind of people that are there are pushing for you to be the best that you can be when you come to their school. That’s what I’m looking for – a community of people who are pushing you to be the best – and Duke was definitely meeting those expectations.
BDN: It sounds like you were able to see a lot. At this point, it’s still a long time before Signing Day, but where would you say you are in the recruiting process?
Sooner than later. I do not want to wait until the end of the season and wear a hat. I’m against that. I think that’s not very fair to the schools. I want to know before my high school season who I’m committed to so that I can show them the dedication that they’ve shown me. It’s just business. I’m going to be spending four years here, it’s a big part of my life, and I can’t wait to find out what school I’m going to. I want to go through my junior season not worrying about what school’s going to be here, or who do I have to impress. I want to play pretty loose and confident in the school I’m going to.
BDN: Thanks a lot, Johnny, and best of luck.
Alright, thank you, Patrick.
Mundt has demonstrated this spring that he is one of the most athletic tight ends in the country. Coach Cutcliffe has emphasized recruiting speed and athletes across the board during his time at Duke, and Mundt certainly fits that mold. He would be a strong addition to the Blue Devils’ tight end depth chart, filling in behind David Reeves and Issac Blakeney. Duke clearly hit a home run on his unofficial visit, but will have plenty of competition for Mundt’s services before the summer is out. The next week will be critical, as Mundt plans visits to Oregon, Oregon State, and Stanford. Duke sits in a good place, but the race is far from over.