Tag Archives: Virginia Tech

Recruiting heating up for NC LB Keilin Rayner

Duke would love for Keilin Rayner to join Deion Williams at LB in the class of 2012

The Duke coaching staff has been scouting the country in search of players to help improve the Blue Devil defense, but they have been focused on an in-state linebacker for several months now. Keilin Rayner is a 6’3” 220 pound linebacker prospect from Leland, North Carolina. As a junior, Keilin played primarily defensive end, helping North Brunswick HS to the state playoffs and a 5-7 overall record. The Duke coaching staff would love to add Rayner to the class of 2012 at linebacker, where he could make an early impact for the Blue Devils. Highlights from Keilin's junior year can be viewed here. Duke and ECU were the first two programs to offer a scholarship to Rayner, whose recruitment has taken off this spring. When BDN last spoke with Keilin, Duke was a program that had impressed him, but with over half a dozen offers now, where do the Blue Devils stand?


BDN: What coaches have stopped by to see you this spring?

Pretty much all of them, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia Tech, [NC] State, [North] Carolina, ECU, and Wake Forest came by.

BDN: When we last spoke Duke and ECU were the first two schools to offer you; what other schools have offered you this spring?

[North] Carolina, [NC] State, Duke, ECU, Wake, Clemson, South Carolina, Florida International, I think that’s about it.

BDN: Which schools have you visited so far?

I didn’t get to visit any this spring, but previously I visited ECU, [NC] State, and Duke. I’m hoping to visit [North] Carolina maybe next week.

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

Maybe some camps, but other than that I don’t know yet.

BDN: With recruiting picking up for you, what are your thoughts for when you want to narrow things down and make your decision?

I would like to visit all the schools that have offered me and some other schools that haven’t, probably make my decision later after I’ve visited.

BDN: Which schools or coaches do you feel like you have the best relationship with?

Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Luke from Duke.

BDN: What are your plans for the summer?

Just work out, pretty much.

BDN: That’s great, I know you mentioned you would be playing more linebacker this fall, what kind of things have you been working on?

A lot of coaches said to work on my hip flexibility and getting off the ball, working on that.

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

Thank you.


BDN takes an early look at ACC Football

Summer is a time when ACC fans start to think of their teams college football prospects for the upcoming season.  Back in the day, fans would anxiously await the many college football preview magazines which hit newsstands in early June.  Now, we have the web to keep us company as well.  BDN takes an early look ahead and shares some early thoughts.

ACC partners with ESPN, ACC Network, ABC

Several early season listings were made today and  ESPN will air five Thursday night games during the season featuring ACC teams, all with 8 pm kickoffs,  beginning with NC State at Cincinnati (Sept. 22) and including Virginia at Miami (Oct.; 22), Florida State at Boston College (Nov. 3), Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech (Nov. 10) and North Carolina at Virginia Tech (Nov. 17).  The ESPN schedule features a minimum of 16 televised games in the first three weeks of the season.  The ACC will have two syndicated packages produced by the ACC Network this fall. As in the past, the ACC Network will produce a game of the week which will actually expand to the opening week of the season, debuting with Appalachian State at Virginia Tech on Sept. 3.New to this year will be the addition of a second ACC Network production which will air on the Regional Sports Networks throughout the ACC footprint. This package will debut with James Madison at North Carolina on Sept. 3 and features a doubleheader on Sept. 17 beginning with Kansas at Georgia Tech (12:30 pm), and concluding with Arkansas State at Virginia Tech (4 pm). Additionally, ESPNU, which is available in 73 million homes nationwide, will televise four ACC games in the first three weeks of the season, including Northwestern at Boston College (Sept. 3, Noon); Louisiana Monroe at Florida State (Sept. 3, 3:30 pm); Stanford at Duke (Sept. 10, 3:30 pm); and Virginia at North Carolina (Sept. 17, 3:30 pm). Finally, nine ACC games will be video streamed over ESPN’s web-streaming platform of ESPN3.com which is now available in 70 million homes, making telecasts of all of the Conference’s home games in the first three weeks of the season available to a national audience.

Seminoles return to the top

It's already clear that Florida State appears to be the ACC's best, at lease on paper where they return a good 16 starters from a team that showed signs of the glory years.  The Noles must replace departed quarterback Christian Ponder, but EJ Manuel should be able to step into the role.  The once proud program will rank in the pre season national top ten but bare in mind that they have won 10 or more games just one time since 2001.

Hokie rebuilding aided by easier schedule

With 14 starters back, the word rebuilding may seem odd, but the Hokies must replace several key starters.  Virginia Tech has been the ACC's most consistent program where they average 10 wins this decade.  Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall make up their out of league schedule and it is manageable and designed for a quick start while they seek replacements at said key positions.

But no out of conference schedule is easier than that of the Wolfpack

Talk about a feast of so-so football teams, the Pack opens with Liberty, then face South Alabama, Central Michigan.  Their tough one is at Cincinnati.  It must be nice to have three wins before the ball is even kicked off for the 2012 season.

Mark your calendar for September 17th -- ACC redemption?

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been down in football in recent years where teams have all been just outside the national spotlight.  On September 17th, that could all change with some timely wins.  Expect Clemson to defeat the defending national champions the Auburn Tigers that weekend.  The southern most Tigers are rebuilding and the norther Tigers are primed to pull off a win at home.

The big game of the weekend will be Oklahoma at Florida State.  The pre season ACC pick will take on the likely number one ranked team in the country.  If that game is 1-A, then 1-B is Ohio State at Miami in another game where the ACC could reap the rewards of an upset.  The Sooners are loaded and the popular pick early amongst prognosticators while Miami breaks in a new coach and system?

Two early conference games the same weekend feature Virginia travelling to North Carolina and Duke to Boston College.  Both games will provde an early gauge as to the teams strength.  So, grab your favorite beverage, make sure the lawn is mowed and turn the ringer off the phone that day and enjoy the best weekend of football of the season.

Other big name teams on the slate

If Oklahoma is the best out of conference opponent, then Stanford is next and they visit Duke the second weekend of the season.  Fans get a chance to watch Andre Luck and the Blue Devils will need more than luck to knock off a top five team.  Notre Dame plays both Boston College and Maryland.


There are plenty of powder puffs coming into play your ACC teams as well.  Bethune-Cookman, Lousiana-Monroe, Wofford, Towson, Liberty, Arkansas State, Garner Webb are but a few of the pre calculated sacrificial lambs.

As always, ACC is hard to forecast

Florida State is the pick in the Atlantic Division, but the picture muddles from there.  Boston College returns 11 starters and they always finish better than most think.  They have some decent offensive weapons returning but must replace key defenders.  Maryland is going in a new direction under coach Randy Edsall but they do so with 13 starters.  Clemson is in need of a signal caller, but they have 16 starters to work with and a lot back on the offensive side of the ball.  N.C. State is a popular early pick for the second spot, along with Clemson.  The Pack must replace Russell Wilson but the cupboard is not bare with 15 starters returning.  Wake Forest hopes to bounce back from a down season with the majority of their team back.

The Coastal Division still has the Hokies at the top but they are not a clear cut choice by any means.  UNC faces some major retooling but has talent per their spring reports, while Virginia welcomes back 19 starters for the London era.  Georgia Tech generally does well when flying under the radar and that is the case going into the season.  Miami is ready to springboard to the top but it may not come in year one under Al Golden but with Jacoby Harris back, who knows for sure.  Duke is looking fo some defense in Durham, but the offense looks poised to be the best in the Cutcliffe era.

As summer rolls in, we'll take a more in depth look at ACC Football but until then, ponder your teams schedule and gear up with hope for every team is undefeated until September the 1st.

ACC schools battling for VA safety C.J. Prosise

ACC schools are battling for VA safety C.J. Prosise

While Duke worked hard to improve their defense on the field this spring, the coaching staff is also working hard to upgrade the defense with a talented group of prospects in the class of 2012. The Duke staff has targeted an elite group of defensive backs who already have received verbal scholarship offers from the Blue Devils, among several other top programs. One of the most recent prospects to pick up a verbal scholarship offer is C.J. Prosise, a 6’2’” 202 pound prospect from Woodberry Forest, Virginia. 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?

Mostly, just a ball-hawking safety, and I’m pretty fast, I would think.

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

Mostly my speed and my hips and my movement, getting my cuts back and forth.

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

Mostly I know I’ve got to make plays, because everybody will be looking to me to make the plays, so that’s really what I’m looking forward to doing. I know they’re counting on me to be a great leader out there for them.

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

Good academics would be one, and then definitely a pretty good football team, just a place that I want to be for four years, even if I wasn’t playing football.

BDN: Is there a particular academic field you are interested in studying in college?

Not right now, I haven’t really thought about it too much.

BDN: Which schools have you been in contact with the most, and which schools have extended verbal offers?

I have offers from Boston College, Maryland, UVA, Virginia Tech, Duke, and Wake Forest. Those are all the ACC offers and then I have Vanderbilt from the SEC.

BDN: Have you had a chance to take any visits this spring?

I’ve visited Maryland, UVA, Virginia Tech, and I’ve visited Duke.

Duke, Maryland, and Virginia Tech have stood out to C.J. Prosise


BDN: Have any schools impressed you or surprised you at this point in the process, either on your visits or your contact with coaches?

I mean, definitely I had a good time at Duke, when I was there, but also - I’m trying to think – Maryland, and I had a really good visit at Virginia Tech, too.

BDN: Do you have any plans for visits later this spring or over the summer?

No, I don’t really have any right now, well I have a couple this summer but none in the spring. I have Vanderbilt, Boston College, and Wake Forest this summer.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how or when you would like to narrow your list of schools down and ultimately make a decision?

Not really, I haven’t really thought about it that much.

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

Alright.  You, too.


BDN’s Football Friday!

It’s Friday afternoon, which can only mean one thing – Football Friday! This week, we take a look at Duke’s 2011 ACC opponents spring practices along with some recruiting updates. [private]

It's a long one this week, so I won't distract you with any witty opening filler. Let's get right to it.

Matt Daniels named to Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List

Duke DB Matt Daniels strikes a pose for BDN Photo

That’s a mouthful of an accomplishment. Interestingly, there were 11 candidates from the ACC, more than any other conference. Daniels is a player that I’ve enjoyed watching develop over his four years in Durham, and I always feel like he has another level we still haven’t seen. Hopefully, this will be the year that he reaches that level and helps to turn around the Duke defensive unit. As one of the most versatile players on defense, his playmaking ability will be key to the Blue Devils’ success in 2011.

Scouting the ACC spring practices

With lots of transitions occurring on the sidelines and under center around the ACC this year, it may be a good opportunity for the Blue Devils to pull off a few upsets. Several teams will wrap up their 2011 spring practice this weekend with their spring games, so be sure to tune in to the ESPN family of networks to scout out some of Duke’s 2011 opponents (ESPN – you can email me for the address to mail my endorsement check). So sit back and enjoy a cold one while we take a whirlwind tour around the ACC. Oh wait, you’re still at work, so grab a cup of coffee instead? Anyway, here are some of the headlines from Duke’s 2011 ACC opponents this spring:

Boston College: the Eagles will be Duke’s first ACC opponent this fall, which may be a good thing for the Blue Devils. BC will return nearly all of their offensive starters, who will be operating under a new coordinator in Kevin Rogers. The emphasis so far this spring appears to be on the passing game, which has been inconsistent so far this spring. In the first scrimmage of the spring, Chase Rettig was on the same page with his receivers, and the BC offense finished with 5 touchdowns. In their second scrimmage, however, the defense had their way with the new offense, finishing with 4 interceptions and 4 sacks. BC will be a tough opponent, as we saw last year in Wallace Wade Stadium, mostly due to Montel Harris on the ground, and Luke Kuechly on defense. If Rettig and his receivers can develop consistency, BC will be a dangerous team for the entire ACC.

Florida State: most expect the Seminoles to be at the top of the ACC in 2011, and you can see for yourself on Saturday at 4PM on ESPN3. This team will go as far as QB E.J. Manuel can take them, and the indications this spring are pretty good. Manuel is the athletic signal-caller that has given the Blue Devils trouble in recent years. Perhaps the biggest question for the Seminoles will be their offensive line, where they will have to replace 2 starters and had 4 players out for spring practice. Overall, the Seminoles lost only 3 starters each on offense and defense, and the expectations are high in Tallahassee.

Wake Forest: the Deacs’ will hold their spring game on Saturday at 1 PM. After a disappointing 2010, Wake Forest loses 8 starters. Tanner Price is the unquestioned starter on offense and will be backed up by Ted Stachitas. Both players gave the Blue Devils trouble last year in a  54-48 loss in Winston-Salem. Much like the Blue Devils, the Deacs struggled mightily on defense last year, and Coach Jim Grobe has been pleased with the defensive intensity this spring. The running game will be led by Josh Harris and Brandon Pendergrass, but questions remain in the kicking game for Wake Forest. The expectation is for this team to be improved from a season ago, but in order for that to happen, they will have to show more consistency this fall than they have this spring.

Virginia Tech: the Hokies lose perhaps the most of any Duke opponent in 2011, but in Blacksburg, they reload, not rebuild. The defending ACC champs lose QB Tyrod Taylor along with RB Ryan Williams and RB Darren Evans to the NFL, leaving the Hokies’ offense in the hands of redshirt-sophomore Logan Thomas and junior tailback David Wilson. There have been rave reviews this spring for Wilson (even though he's missed several practices due to track), who is working under first year running back coach Shane Beamer (yes, Frank’s son), after long-time assistant Billy Hite retired. The VT defense also has questions as they replace 5 starters from 2010, but the Blue Devils will have to keep the ball away from returning CB Jayron Hosley, who led the country with 9 interceptions and 17 defended passes in 2010.

Miami: lots of changes in Coral Gables this spring under new head coach Al Golden. The Hurricanes will hold their spring game on Saturday at 3 PM, and questions still remain heading into the fall. The coaching staff has been openly disappointed in the intensity and conditioning of many of the Miami players this spring, and Golden has left the depth chart up for grabs this spring. That includes quarterback, where Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris are battling for the starting job, though Spencer Whippel was the starter heading into the spring. We’ll get to see lots more from the Hurricanes, as they’ve struck a deal with ESPNU to air a series of All-Access shows this spring.

Virginia: the Wahoos wrapped up spring practice last week with nearly as many questions as answers. It’s a complete toss-up at quarterback, where the updated depth chart lists Michael Rocco and Ross Matheney in the “first group” and Michael Strauss and David Watford in the “second group.” In short, no one has established themselves as the leader of this offense this spring, and that has to be a concern for a team that loses 19 lettermen, including 5 starters. After a shootout in Wallace Wade Stadium last year, the Blue Devils will be glad to hear that QB Marc Verica and RB Keith Payne are among the starters lost. The Cavaliers’ defense should be improved from a year ago as they enter their second year in the 4-3 scheme, and will be anchored in the secondary by CB Chase Minnifield, who finished 2010 with 6 interceptions. Offensively, it’s tough to evaluate a team with 4 inexperienced potential starters at QB.

Georgia Tech: the Yellow Jackets are yet another ACC team who will be breaking in a new QB in 2011, as Tevin Washington takes over for Josh Nesbitt. The Blue Devils saw plenty of Washington in 2010 in their 30-20 loss in Atlanta. This spring, head coach Paul Johnson has been disappointed in the play of his offensive line, which returns three starters from a year ago. In addition to Nesbitt, the Jackets’ triple-option offense will have to replace Anthony Allen at B-back, but return Roddy Jones and Orwin Smith at A-back. Defensively, GT will have to replace 6 starters, but they do return all 3 starters up front in Al Groh’s 3-4 scheme. The front three will have to be the strength of this defense, and it has impressed the coaching staff this spring.

North Carolina: if you thought Bieber fever was annoying, wait until you meet the Tar Heels with Renner fever. Bryn Renner inherits the starting job at quarterback, and impressed the Tar Heel faithful with a 9/13, 123 yard performance in their spring game. The highlight was a 43-yard pass to Erik Highsmith, something UNC saw far less often during the T.J. Yates era. After a tumultuous 2010 and an ongoing NCAA investigation, the Tar Heels will have several new faces on both sides of the ball in 2011. Five starters depart on both offense and defense, which means that the few returning starters, such as senior DE Quinton Coples and senior TB Ryan Houston will have to shoulder (no pun intended) much of the load on defense and offense, respectively. Despite suffering a broken scapula in the spring game, head coach Butch Davis expects Houston to be an every-down back for the Tar Heels this fall.


Spring evaluation period starts today

Ok, I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted after that tour of the ACC. That took some serious work, and I didn’t even talk about NC State, Clemson, or Maryland. Anyway, recruiting gets back into full gear today, as the spring evaluation period opens up. So what does that actually mean? The Duke staff has 168 evaluation days to use between now and May 31. An evaluation day is a day spent in evaluation of a prospect's athletic and/or academic ability. The staff is limited to 1 athletic evaluation and 1 academic evaluation per prospect during this time. So whom will the staff be visiting? Let’s take a look at the offers out there by position.

Bilal Marshall is the first 2012 QB with a Duke offer

Quarterbacks: we’ll start with the glamour position, and one that Duke has built into a strength for 2011 with Sean Renfree, Brandon Connette, and Anthony Boone. Miami’s Bilal Marshall remains the only quarterback prospect with a Duke offer, and we’ll check back in with him soon to get an update on his recruitment. There are 19 other QBs on the board, highlighted by names like Bart Houston, Casey Cochran, and Matt Johnson.

Running backs: Duke remains committed to taking at least one or two running backs in the class of 2012, and they’ve extended 7 offers with 17 other prospects under evaluation. Keith Marshall is at the top of every school’s list, but he’s joined by Todd Gurley, Dami Ayoola, Dondre Brown, Dontonio Jordan, Jay Jay McCullough, and Nick Tompkins as prospects with verbal offers.

Wide receivers: with Donovan Varner and Conner Vernon now upperclassmen, the Blue Devils will look to reload at receiver in the class of 2012. Seven receivers have verbal offers, which include Nelson Agholor, Jared Crump, Desmond Frye, P.J. Harris, Justin Johnson, Max McCaffrey, and Darius Powe. Twelve other receivers are on the Blue Devils’ list of 2012 prospects.

Tight ends: the Blue Devils’ got on the board early with a commitment from Erich Schneider, but remain in pursuit of top TEs Dan Beilinson, Kent Taylor, and Evan Baylis.

Linemen: as would be expected, linemen make up the majority of verbal scholarship offers to date. On the offensive line, Duke is looking to add a few top prospects and has extended 11 offers to players like Patrick DeStefano, Mark Harrell, D.J. Humphries, Andrew Jelks, Eric Olson, and Max Tuerk. The emphasis, however, is the defensive line, where Duke has extended 17 verbal offers to players like Allen Jackson (committed), Korren Kirven, D.J. Reader, Jordan Watkins, and Carlos Wray. In addition to the prospects with offers, Duke has over 40 other linemen on their recruiting board.

Linebackers: Duke is going hard after two linebackers in particular early in Keilin Rayner and Deion Williams. There are several others under evaluation, but the Blue Devils remain in good shape with those two players.

Secondary: the defensive secondary is another position of emphasis in the class of 2012, and the Blue Devils have extended offers to 13 prospects at cornerback and safety. In addition to players like Michael Summers, Albert Reid, Ron Geohaghan, and Dwayne Norman, the staff is evaluating another 15 prospects.

We’ll be back

Lots of recruiting coverage coming this week as the staff hits the recruiting trail and we tag along for the ride. No idea what we’ll talk about next week, so you’ll just have to come back to find out. As always, feel free to join in the discussion on our message board if you need a football fix before next Friday. WE ARE DUKE.


Lynchburg (VA) DT Korren Kirven is impressed with Duke and Virginia schools

DT Korren Kirven said that UVA, Virginia Tech, and Duke have stood out recently

While Duke is working hard to improve their defense on the field this spring, the coaching staff is also working hard to upgrade the defense with a talented group of prospects in the class of 2012. Under new defensive line coach Rick Petri, several prospects already have received verbal scholarship offers from the Blue Devils, and many have also taken a visit to Durham this spring. One of the most recent linemen to visit Durham and pick up a verbal scholarship offer is Korren Kirven, a 6’5” 275 pound prospect from Lynchburg, Virginia. After his standout junior season at Brookville, Korren has picked up over a dozen verbal scholarship offers this spring from programs throughout the ACC and SEC. The athletic lineman recently made the trip to Durham to learn more about the Duke program and came away with a good impression.

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

Well, my strengths – probably my strengths are speed and technique and agility and footwork and stuff like that.

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

My strength, speed, agility and stuff.  Stuff like that.

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

Academics is first.  Good football program, good team that likes to win.  Coach experience, they know what they’re doing, and coach relationships and stuff like that.  Relationships with players and coaches and with recruits and stuff.

BDN: You mentioned the importance of academics; do you have a specific field you are thinking of studying in college?

It’s probably going to be something dealing with art.  I’m not sure what the actual major is going to be yet, but yeah.  Art.

BDN: Which schools have you been in contact with the longest, or have been hearing the most from?

Virginia, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Florida – well actually basically all the schools that have offered.  Yeah, basically every school that has offered me.

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

Yeah, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Duke, and I went to UNC this past summer.  I’m going to Tennessee next week, and then NC State.  I’m supposed to be going down to Florida on the 9th of April.  Penn State is probably going to be the week after that, so – and yeah, every weekend I’m probably going to go to a school.

BDN: Are there any schools that you feel like you’ve developed a good relationship with at this point in the process?

Yeah, the two Virginia schools have. Duke - their whole academic thing down there is really good.  I went down there yesterday, and that was really good, it was a good visit and stuff.  I haven’t really visited any other schools that actually have stood out yet but everybody is about equal right now, so I don’t really have any favorites right now.

BDN: Do you have an idea for how or when you would like to narrow your list of schools down and ultimately make a decision?

Yeah, not sure yet but yeah, we’re going to visit pretty much every school so we’ll probably narrow it down from that by December.

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

Yeah, I’m a big fan of arts and stuff.  I play the saxophone and different stuff like that too.  I’m a real good artist and stuff, too, so.

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

Okay, alright man, thanks.


ACC Tournament Thoughts Day Two (Updated game by game)

North Carolina 61 Miami 59
The Tar Heels won on a buzzer beater where Kendall Marshall found Tyler Zeller wide open for an easy lay in.  Oddly, that was the only time UNC led in the entire contest.  The Tar Heel guards didn't score in the first half from the field, but they warmed up int he second, especially from the three point stripe.  Both Leslie McDonald and Marshall hit big threes and when is the last time UNC hit 10 three pointers in a half?  The Hurricanes defense stymied the Heels early in that they played a tight zone.  That zone loosened up dramatically when Reggie Johnson got his fourth foul.  Anytime a team wins a game like this one, it generally gives them confidence in the next contest and more importantly momentum.  I feel UNC will have little problem in advancing to the title game, especially since they dominated the afternoon session crowd, making the Coliseum Dean Dome West.  After shooting 30.4% in the first half and 55.6% in the second from the field.  Miami got a total of two points from their bench.