Tag Archives: Tennessee

Duke and Arizona are the first to offer Norco RB Joseph Ajeigbe

Duke among the first to offer Norco RB Joseph Ajeigbe

Duke and Arizona are the first to offer Norco RB Joseph Ajeigbe

Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe has built a reputation of producing NFL quarterbacks throughout his career. In truth, his offenses have produced nearly as many NFL running backs, including players like Jamal Lewis, Deuce McAllister and Arian Foster. This fall, the Blue Devils should feature one of their deepest backfields in recent years, headlined by senior Desmond Scott along with last year’s leading rusher Juwan Thompson and speedy redshirt-sophomore Josh Snead. They will be joined by two outstanding freshmen in Jela Duncan and Shaquille Powell. Duke’s running backs are utilized in all areas of their offense – rushing, receiving, and blocking.

Looking ahead to the class of 2013, the Blue Devils are looking to add to their running back stable, and were among the first to offer a scholarship to Joseph Ajeigbe. Ajeigbe is a 5’9″ 195 pound prospect from Norco High School in California, the same program that has produced incoming Duke safety Corbin McCarthy. In addition to McCarthy, the Norco program is known for producing hard-nosed running backs, including former Stanford star Toby Gerhart and current Stanford sophomore Kelsey Young. As a junior, Ajeigbe took over the starting running back job and flourished, finishing with 20 touchdowns and 1,673 yards rushing.

The powerful rising senior spoke with BDN about his recruitment and his interest in Duke. [private]

BDN: How would you describe your strengths as a player?

Some of my strengths are probably my speed through the hole, and my strength, and I run with a lot of power. Maybe some areas that I need to improve on would be my break-away speed, but other than that, I have pretty good vision and pretty good balance.

BDN: What are you working on this offseason as you prepare for your senior year?

I just want to be able to pull away from defenders in the secondary, just have that speed to be able to make big plays. I have good speed now, but I just want to get to that next level so I can be ready for college football, because everybody’s fast in college football so I just want to try and get to that next level. My senior year, just break a lot of records down here that are set by Toby Gerhart. I’ve been running on those overspeed treadmills, we have those incline treadmills and everything, so I’ve been running those and working with the running back coach running hills and stuff, just trying to get to that next level of speed to get ready for college.

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

First and foremost for me is probably education, looking at what the school can offer me other than athletics. In case football doesn’t work out and I don’t end up in the NFL, I need something that I Can fall back on. Education is really important to me. Then I’ll be looking at the football program, how good the football program is, what I can contribute to the football program, if I can go in there and help them out, if I can fit in the offense, the coaching staff, if I feel comfortable with the coaching staff, that’s a lot of the things to take into consideration when considering a school.

BDN: Where do you stand with offers and interest from schools now?

I got offered by Arizona, that was my first offer, University of Arizona, and then a couple days after that, Duke offered me. Now, yesterday, or two days ago, I was talking to Coach Jerry Brown from Northwestern, We had like an hour-long conversation on the phone, they sound pretty interested, I think they’re going to offer me pretty soon. Around here, I’ve been talking to UCLA a lot, earlier I was hearing a lot from USC, I’m hearing from Boise State, Tennessee has been sending me a lot of letters and everything, talking to my coach. And then Cal – I’ve heard a lot from Berkeley, I’m pretty interested in Berkeley.

BDN: Which schools have you had a chance to visit or do you have plans to take any visits later this spring or summer?

UCLA and USC, they’ve been in contact with me a lot, so I went out to USC’s Junior Day, I think it was in February. I went out there and got to meet all the coaches and everything, and I like USC. A couple weeks ago, I went over to UCLA’s Junior Day, got to check that out, got to meet running backs coach Steve Broussard, we went over the offense and everything, he said he was interested in me as a player and said the next couple weeks they’d be in contact about maybe an offer or something. Other than that, I haven’t really been out to check out any other schools. I plan, probably in the summer, get on the East Coast and check out the schools that have been recruiting me like Duke, maybe get over to Tennessee, and then check out Northwestern.

BDN: You’ve obviously got schools all over the country that are recruiting you. How much of a factor will location be when you make your decision?

You know, I kind of want to keep all my options open, but I guess I would say location does play a pretty big part in it, UCLA and USC do catch my interest a lot, but I’m kind of open to anything at this point, so I’d be willing to go almost anywhere, but the closest schools, UCLA and USC, kind of do have my preference.

BDN: I know you have a teammate that will be heading to North Carolina to play at Duke this fall. How familiar are you with the program and what are your thoughts on Duke?

Yeah, Corbin [McCarthy]’s committed to Duke, so a couple months after that Duke started showing me some interest. I started looking into Duke as a football program, because I already know, well everybody knows that Duke is a good educational school, so I started looking at their football program. They’re doing some good thing in their conference and they’re trying to build a new program. I think it’s really cool to be a part of a growing program. The coaches, I’ve talked to Coach Lubick and Coach Loebner, they both seem pretty cool, they seem really interested to me as a player, and academics seem really big to them. Duke seems like a good program and I’ll have to look into that.

BDN: Do you have a timeline in mind for when you plan to narrow things down or make your final decision?

I kind of want to keep my options as open as possible, see how many scholarships I can get and keep considering and looking into schools that offer me. I might want to make a decision by sometime close to the beginning or the middle of my senior season just so I can know where I will be going by the end of my season. But for now I just want to kind of keep my options open.

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

Thank you, you too.

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QB Thomas Sirk committed to David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils on Wednesday morning

Baker County (FL) athlete Thomas Sirk earns a coveted Duke QB scholarship offer

Baker County athlete Thomas Sirk is attracting interest from top programs this summer

Though he admittedly dislikes the label, Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe is known in football circles as a quarterback guru. Having mentored both Peyton and Eli Manning (who worked out at Duke on Wednesday), along with several other top collegiate signal-callers, Coach Cut’s reputation is well-deserved. At Duke, he has continued to develop outstanding quarterbacks, starting with two record-setting years for Thaddeus Lewis and an impressive sophomore year for Sean Renfree, along with freshman Brandon Connette. When it comes to quarterback recruiting, Coach Cutcliffe is understandably selective, carefully evaluating hundreds of high school quarterbacks each year, but only offering a scholarship to a select few. Thomas Sirk, a 6’6” 212 pound athlete from Baker County HS in Florida, is one of those select few. Remarkably, Sirk has never played a full year at quarterback in high school, but impressed the Duke coaching staff in person last Saturday in Durham. With interest from schools like Florida, Florida State, and Tennessee, Sirk’s recruitment has officially taken off this summer. His highlight film, which has piqued the interest of several college coaches, can be viewed here. [private]

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 say I’m versatile, I play all over the field, and quarterback. I’m a big guy, I guess, I’m 6’5” 212 right now and I move pretty good for my size.

BDN: You mentioned playing quarterback, is that the position you want to play in college?

That’s what I want to play in college, I’ve been offered by Duke at quarterback.

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

Right now I’m in conditioning. I’ve been working with my receivers on throwing, working on my steps a lot this summer. This is my first year at quarterback really, coming into my senior season, I’m not an original quarterback, last year I played wide receiver, so I just need to work on timing with my receivers and trying to get in touch with them.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year and your first year under center?

I’m looking to take our team to be the first team to be undefeated in our county. I want to pass for over 1500-2000 yards this season, that’s definitely one of my goals to have high passing yards and I want to have a completion percentage above 65% this year, too.

BDN: What are the most important things you are looking for in a college?

Right now I’m looking at what’s the best place for me, where I‘m going to start earlier, going in, looking at their depth chart. I want to be somewhere where I’m going to get a chance to play for the most years.

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you this summer?

I’ve been offered by Iowa State as well as Duke. I’ve been recruited by Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, University of Miami, Georgia Tech, Troy, and Vanderbilt.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools, and what schools are you planning to visit this summer?

I’ve visited Florida State, Florida, Duke, Vanderbilt, I visited Vanderbilt last year during the season. I have Tennessee and Vanderbilt coming up the 17th and 18th of July for camps. I’ve got Florida State coming up again, it’ll be my second time visiting Florida State, July 23rd.

BDN: Are you planning to work out at quarterback at those camps?

Yeah, yeah, I’m planning to work out at quarterback at all those schools. I’ve been in contact with Tennessee’s quarterback coach, we talked on the phone last Friday morning, I’ve been recruited by Tennessee but that’s the first time I actually got to talk to their quarterback coach. I recently made a film at quarterback and it’s on YouTube now, and if you get a chance you can look at that, but it’s on YouTube and some of these coaches are starting to see that and that’s where I’m getting contacts from schools at, by seeing that video. I work with a quarterback coach in Alabama named David Morris.

BDN: Sure, he played in college, didn’t he?

Yeah, yeah, he played at Ole Miss, he played behind Eli Manning.

BDN: Well that’s definitely a great mentor to have.

Yeah, definitely.

QB Thomas Sirk says that Duke definitely stands out as a great opportunity for him

BDN: Do any schools stand out to you, that you have a good relationship with and you feel like there’s a good opportunity for you to play early?

Well Tennessee and Duke. I mean definitely Duke, when I went up to Duke and visited them this past weekend, their coaching staff, I came in there and they treated me very good, worked me out at the camp. I got to sit down in person and talk to Coach Cutcliffe and that’s when he offered me. I’ve been in touch with them all week after the camp. And Tennessee, I’m liking Tennessee right now, they’ve got a new facility going up and I like the town of Knoxville, too.

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

Well I’m not making any decisions right now, I’m just kind of taking it all in right now. It will probably be the middle of my season before I make my decision. Right now I’m just trying to take it all in, like I said. Not trying to rush into anything, I’m seeing what’s further to come, what offers I get, what opportunities I have.

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

Ok, I appreciate it.

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WR Drae Bowles could become a program-changer for the Blue Devils, on and off the field

Elite WR Drae Bowles is one of Duke’s top recruiting targets

Duke hopes that WR Drae Bowles will become a program-changer, on and off the field

Under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devil offense has featured some of the best receivers in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the country. This fall, Duke fans hope to watch All-ACC candidates Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon help lead the Blue Devils to a bowl game. With the impending graduation of senior Donovan Varner, however, Duke is looking for an elite wide receiver in the class of 2012, and are in the mix for a top prospect from the state of Tennessee. Drae Bowles is a 6’1” 200 pound receiver prospect from Jackson Christian HS. After an impressive junior season that included 14 touchdown catches on offense and an All-State selection at linebacker, Bowles has received countless accolades from coaches and scouts alike. With over 20 scholarship offers, the top wide receiver will have his pick of schools, and the Blue Devils hope he chooses to become an impact player for their program.

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

Definitely my hands, coaches tell me I have great hands as a physical receiver.

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

Just working on getting better at all aspects of the game of football.

BDN: What are the most important things you are looking for in a college?

The most important things is a place that feels like home. A place where I have a good relationship with the coaches and I feel comfortable. And also a place where I feel like I can contribute early. Those are probably the most important things for me.

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you the hardest, or have you had the most contact with?

Well I don’t have any favorites right now, but probably Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Duke, Ole Miss, and Maryland are recruiting me the hardest right now.

BDN: You mentioned the importance of your relationship with the coaching staff; which coaches do you feel like you have a strong relationship with so far?

Which coaches…probably the schools I mentioned. I have a good relationship with a lot of the coaches right now.

BDN: Do you have any plans for visits this summer?

I’m planning to take at least three visits in July, but I haven’t been able to visit any schools this month.

BDN: You mentioned Duke as one of the schools that is recruiting you the hardest; can you talk a little bit about what you like about Duke?

Well Duke is definitely a school I am considering. It obviously is a great school academically and that appeals to me, but I also like their coaches. Coach Cutcliffe seems like a real honest, genuine man and I also really like Coach Loebner and Coach Lubick. I really like their coaches.

BDN: Do you think that Duke is a place where you could contribute early in their offense?

Definitely.

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

I really haven’t thought about it yet, I don’t know, I’m just going to take it one at a time.

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

I appreciate it, thank you very much sir.

 

 

 

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.


 

OL Andrew Jelks has several offers, including Duke, Vanderbilt and Tennessee

Duke was first to offer Tennessee OL Andrew Jelks

OL Andrew Jelks has several offers, including Duke, Vanderbilt and Tennessee

In their three-plus years in Durham, Head Coach David Cutcliffe and Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke have built the Duke offensive line into a position of strength. The past two recruiting classes have brought in a very good group of offensive linemen, and the Blue Devils hope to continue that trend with the class of 2012. Andrew Jelks is a 6’6” 262 pound lineman from Paris, Tennessee. Andrew has already received half a dozen offers, including one from Duke and in-state power Tennessee. BDN caught up with Andrew after he visited Duke for a spring practice. 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 think I have very good footwork for my size, and athletic abilities, I have much more than a lot of people.  I think those are my strengths.

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

I’m focusing on putting on weight right now, that’s my biggest focus, and that’s about it.  Getting stronger.

BDN: What are some of your goals for your senior year?

You know, there’s always I want to win state, and I think we have a good enough team to do it, so that’s my goal right now.

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

Mainly, I’m looking for a good relation with the coaches.  If I like them, and how they want to use me.  And proximity to home is, it’s not a major factor, but I’m gonna be thinking about it a lot.

BDN: What schools have been in contact with you so far?

Well, Duke of course, was the first school to offer me.  I’ve been in contact with Duke, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Alabama, Missisippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas State.

BDN: How was your visit to Duke?

It was awesome, I loved it up there.  The coaches were real cool, and I love the offensive line coach, Coach Luke, he’s a real down to earth guy, and he tells you how it is, and Coach Cut, he’s just an awesome coach.

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

Yeah, I’m definitely, I’m gonna take one to Tennessee sometime here soon, I’m going to Ole Miss in April, and I’ll be at Alabama sometime in the spring.

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

I mean, I’m just – I’m smart, got a 4.0, and I love playing football.

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

Alright, thanks.

 

 

Top TE Justin Meredith said "Duke has probably done the best job recruiting me"

Top TE Justin Meredith says Clemson, Duke, UNC have stood out among ACC schools

Top TE Justin Meredith said "Duke has probably done the best job recruiting me"

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 is evaluating a group of versatile tight end prospects such as Justin Meredith. Meredith is Kearns is a 6’5” 224 pound prospect from Anderson, South Carolina. The athletic junior has already received an offer from Duke, and holds offers from top programs including Auburn, LSU, and Notre Dame, though Clemson may be the school to beat. Highlights of Justin’s 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?

I think the biggest thing that separates me from other people is that I’m able to do several things pretty well, not just one thing.  I’m able to, in my high school, they split me out wide almost like a receiver.  I’m able to do those things.  They’re able to put me on the line and use my strength and my size and block the ends and the LBs and whatever it is.  And at the same time, they also motion me in the back field and use me as a lead blocker, almost like a fullback type of thing.  So there’s a lot of things I do pretty well, and it makes me diverse and useful in offenses.

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

The main thing that I’m working on right now is my strength.  I’ve always been a pretty strong guy, especially in my upper body, but I’m starting to realize that really upper body’s just for looks, and the main thing I’ve been working on this year is putting some size and some thickness and some strength in my legs.  And I’ve been working out with our strength trainer four days a week before school about 6:00 and really just working on that.

BDN: What are some of your goals for your senior year?

For my team, well, to … we want to go undefeated in the regular season and then we want – I think we have the team to do that – and go win the State Championship and Region Championship.  Personal goals:  I really haven’t thought too much about it, but I’d like to be somewhere around 30 to 40 catches with … I’d like to try, my goal is to try to break 1,000 yards and have somewhere around 10 touchdowns.

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

The number 1 thing I’m looking for is a place where not only can I be a part of the football team but I can see myself being there for four to five and being a student and just a place that I can see myself living and being a part of the overall program, not just the football program.  And the second biggest thing would probably be is a player-to-coach relationship.  I’ve figured it out that once I go to college, I’m gonna be around my position coach and my offensive coordinator and my head coach, gonna be around them more than I’m around anybody else.  So I’d like to have a good relationship with them and all of them to like me, and I want to like them.

BDN: You mentioned your versatility as one of your strengths, and different programs use the tight end position differently. Is there a specific offensive system that you think you are looking for or where you might fit in best?

Yeah, that’s one thing that I’ve noticed.  There’s been a couple schools like LSU and some other ones that want me to kind of stay in that 220 to 230 range and be a big receiver pretty much.  And then there’s some schools that I’ve talked to – I can’t really think – I guess one or two that I’ve talked to – I can’t really think of who they are exactly.  But they want me to gain a bunch of weight and be in that 270 or 280 range and pretty much be a glorified tackle.  And there’s a couple schools like Clemson, Notre Dame, Tennessee, some other ones like that that want me to be in that 250 range, 250 to 260, and be a prototypical complete tight end.  And that’s really what I’m looking for because honestly that’s the players that – that’s the tight ends that get drafted, the tight ends that can be everything.

BDN: Who are the schools that you have heard the most from and which schools were the first to contact you?

Yeah, Clemson, I’ve been in contact with them a bunch so mainly because I live 15 minutes away from the campus.  And North Carolina and Duke, Duke has recruited me very heavily and also North Carolina.  And also Tennessee and LSU have and Auburn has started to here in about the last two weeks started recruiting, and I’ll actually be down there next weekend.

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

Junior Days that I’ve been on this spring, I’ve been to Tennessee, Clemson and Florida, and I’m gonna go down to Auburn next weekend.  And during the actual season, I pretty much went everywhere within about a five-hour radius.  I went to Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina, Duke, Tennessee, Alabama and those places.\

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

Yeah and there’s a couple schools that stand out.  And it’s still early on in the process, so I might have some other schools that come through, but the ones that really stand out to me right now, they probably have to be, you know, Clemson’s done a very good job.  Duke has probably done the best job.  North Carolina, Tennessee has done a good job.  I mean, some other schools like Auburn and LSU and schools like that, I really haven’t had the opportunity yet because I haven’t been to their schools, so I’m hoping that there’s … it’s still early on.  And we have a little under a year until signing day, so I’m still hoping some of these relationships continue to build.

BDN: Do you have any plans for additional visits this spring or summer?

Yeah, this year I’m going down into the Carolinas for football camps this summer, I’m going to Eastern Carolina, NC State, North Carolina, Duke, and I think we’re going to Cincinnati too.

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

Just that football is one part of this process, and there’s other parts too also like academics and stuff, and I’m trying to be an overall good person, a good football player, a good person, a good kid in school and stuff like that.  So that’s helped me out so far with some of these colleges, and that’s just one thing that I’d like people to know is that I’m trying to be good in all aspects of my life.

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

Thanks, you too.