Tag Archives: Wake Forest

Valor Christian's Alex Kozan is one of the top OL prospects in the class of 2012

Valor Christian OL Alex Kozan has a plan

Valor Christian's Alex Kozan is one of the top OL prospects in the class of 2012

In their three-plus years in Durham, Head Coach David Cutcliffe and Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke have built the Duke offensive line into what is expected to be a position of strength in 2011. The past two recruiting classes have brought in a very good group of young offensive linemen, and the Blue Devils hope to continue that trend with the class of 2012. Alex Kozan, a 6’4” 295 pound prospect from Valor Christian in Colorado, is one of the most highly recruited offensive linemen in the country, and the Blue Devils are among the long list of schools he is considering.

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

As a player, I’m smart, I never forget my assignments, I’ve got good quick feet that allows me to stay in good position. Explosiveness off the ball, hand contact, hip movement, that kind of stuff, that’d be my strength.

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

Pretty much everything, you know, you just work on technique, you’ve always got to work on technique when you’ve been off the game for six months, so you just work on pass technique, run technique, that kind of stuff.

BDN: Coming off back-to-back state championships, is a three-peat your goal for your senior year?

Definitely, you know we’ve got a strong senior class, we’ve got probably 25 seniors this year. A lot of us have been with the program since our freshman year, our first varsity year when we went 4-6 that year and then won two back-to-back championships, so we’re just trying to get it done for a three-peat this year.

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

Five things. Number one, business program, that’s going to be my major in college, so a good business program. Number two would be coaching staff that I get along with and is going to develop me as a player, send guys to the NFL and send guys to be All-Conference players. Number three is going to be the strength and conditioning program of the team, does it have a good strength and conditioning program? Will they develop me physically, get me bigger, faster, stronger? Number four is whether it’s a place where I can compete, both as a player to start earlier and where I can compete as a team for conference championships, BCS bowl games and national titles. Number five is that I have a strong faith in God, so a place where I can grow that faith and they’re going to be supportive of that.

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

On the East Coast, for your region, I’d say North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, South Carolina, would kind of be in that area. Up more Northeast would be Pitt, Syracuse and Connecticut.

BDN: Have any schools stopped by your practices this spring?

We’ve had Syracuse, UConn, I don’t think Duke came out, Wake came out, North Carolina is supposed to come out, I don’t know if they’re still coming. Those are the schools that have come out from the East Coast.

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

I’m still looking at it. I’m going to narrow it down to 7 or 5 by July or August and I’m going to try to visit as many of those schools as I can unofficially, and then a couple of them on official visits if they’re farther away, like schools on the East Coast, to get a better feel for the program.

BDN: It sounds like you have a good idea for when you want to narrow things down; do you have an idea for when you would like to make your final decision?

I want to take a couple officials, so I’d probably say October.

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

You know, just off the field, I’m going to be a great person, a strong character for the team, I’m going to help the team off the field, I’m not a guy who will get in trouble or anything like that. On the field, I’ll give 110% and people will see that in my game.

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

Alright, thanks.

 

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]

Duke has interest in Bartram Hill WR Jared Crump

Duke interested in 2012 FL WR Jared Crump

Duke has interest in Bartram Hill WR Jared Crump

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. The Blue Devils received their first commitment in the class of 2012 from the Jacksonville, Florida area in TE Erich Schneider, and hope to add another talented receiving prospect in Jared Crump. Crump is a 6’3” 195 pound wide receiver from Bartram Trail High School in Jacksonville. As a junior, the big, physical receiver finished the year with 34 receptions for 683 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging an impressive 20 yards per catch. Highlights of Jared’s junior year, which earned him 3rd Team All-First Coast honors, 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 have good jumping ability. I have big, strong hands. I run pretty precise routes

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

I think route running, and just the little stuff that you can always work on, that’s about it.

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

For our team our goal is to go all the way and win state. So just keep our eye on the prize. That’s what we’re going for.

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

The reputation of the school, do I get along with the people at the school and the coaches, the people who play in front of me, who they recruited the year before, a little bit of playing time. If I wasn’t playing football, could I picture myself going there and being there for four years without sports.

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

I have offers from West Virginia, Troy, Southern Miss, Wake [Forest] and FIU so far. Spring football, there’s supposed to be a lot of coaches coming down. And they said that they’re really interested and probably will make an offer once they come down and see me.

BDN: Have you had a chance to make any visits or do you have any visits planned?

I went to a lot of Junior Days and I went to some spring football games. Over the summer, me and my dad are going to go to a lot of schools this summer and visit schools.

BDN: Are there any schools in particular that you’re looking forward to visiting?

Me and my dad are going to sit down and make a list of schools that we think would be a good choice.

BDN: You mentioned your comfort level with the coaches and people at a school as important. In your contact with coaches so far, do you feel like you have a good relationship with any coach in particular?

I feel close with, I have a good contact with Coach [Kris] Cinkovich at Arkansas, Coach Steve Spurrier Jr. at South Carolina. The coaches at the schools who have offered me, I feel pretty close with them, and just a lot of coaches from other schools who say that they’re going to come down.

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 think towards the end of summer and towards the beginning of the football season, I’ll have an idea of some of my top schools, but right now it’s kind of broad. But I think after the summer I’ll narrow it down once I visit schools and see how I like them all.

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

I’m easy to get along with, I’m very coachable, really respectful and a good teammate.

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

Thank you very much.

 

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

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.

 

WR Max McCaffrey is Duke's 5th verbal commit in the class of 2012

Colorado receiver Max McCaffrey has offers from Duke and Wake Forest

WR Max McCaffrey has two ACC offers early

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. The Blue Devils hope to continue that trend in the class of 2012, and have been scouting throughout the country in search of receiving talent, and found a great talent in the state of Colorado. Max McCaffrey is a 6’3” 190 pound receiver from Highlands Ranch, Colorado. As a receiver and defensive back, Max helped Valor Christian to the 4A State Championship and an 11-3 overall record in his junior season. The athletic junior, who also plays basketball and track, already has received scholarship offers from Duke and Wake Forest.

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

You’d probably be better off asking coaches what they believe to be my strengths. I’ve been told that I have a good combination of size, speed, and athletic ability for a WR or DB.

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

I’ve been hitting the weight room and running track so that I show up to camp a little bigger and stronger than last year.

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

I’d like to gain speed, muscle, and polish my route running and coverages so that I can help our team win our third state championship.

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

A team of coaches and players with integrity that value both football and academics. Also, a great college atmosphere.

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

Several schools have contacted me and I have received a few scholarship offers but since this article is for ACC readers I’ll just tell you that Duke and Wake Forest have made offers and are the two schools from the ACC that seem the most interested. So far I think both schools are excellent.

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

My family and I will schedule visits this spring.  It’s been tough finding time since basketball season overlaps track season.

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

Both Wake Forest and Duke from the ACC.

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

I’m a hard worker who puts the team first.  Also, as a 16 year old, I think I’m still growing and will be able to put on another 10-15 lbs of good weight before next years graduation.

 

Recruitng Focus – Marquis Teague ready to get down to business in June

courtesy - Indiana Star
courtesy - Indiana Star

Marquis Teague (Class of 2011, 6-1, 170, PG, Pike H.S., Indianapolis, IN) is a slick point guard prospect who makes those around him better with his ability to get them into the game.  Teague has a high level skill set and is playing AAU ball for Indy Speice.  He is the brother of Jeff Teague at Wake Forest.

Can you tell me your list of schools?

Louisville, Ohio State, Purdue, Cincinnati and Wake Forest

These schools have offered?

Yeah

Have any other schools become interested or come in of late?

Michigan State and Syracuse have been calling me.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

Not really, oh, I used to want to go to UConn.

When you finally make a decision who will play the biggest role in helping you?

Just me and my parents.  We’ll just talk about it and where I could see myself playing and how I could fit in.   My parents will help, so …

If you were to describe your game for someone who had never seen you play, how would you do that?

I would just say that I’m a leader who likes to lead the way.  I’m a strong dribbler who is fast and can get to the hoop.  Iv’e been hitting my outside shot now, so …

What do you do off the court?

I like to play video games, eat, chill with my friends and have fun.

When will you make a decison?

My Dad and I will sit down and discuss it and we’ll make it in June.

Are you still open to other schools comig in at this point?

Yeah.  I will keep my recruiting open until at least June.