Tag Archives: Duke Football Recruiting 2012

Duke aggressively recruiting star Florida athlete Marcus Allen for class of 2012

Star student-athlete Marcus Allen would be a great fit at LB in Durham

With thirteen verbal commitments received in the class of 2012, Duke has only a few remaining scholarships available and are looking to fill a few outstanding needs. With California LB Deion Williams already committed, Duke still has a spot to add another athletic linebacker with one of their remaining scholarships. Though the staff has long been in aggressive pursuit of in-state star Keilin Rayner, another athlete out of the Jacksonville, FL area has caught their attention. Marcus Allen is a 6’2” 210 pound athlete from Hilliard HS in Hilliard, FL. A star in basketball and track, Marcus played just his first year of football last fall as a junior and his natural ability earned him plenty of playing time for the Flashes on both sides of the ball. Primarily a running back and linebacker, Allen has earned over 20 scholarship offers this spring and summer, and has recently been busy taking unofficial visits across the Southeast. Duke Assistant Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Jim Collins has produced several All-ACC linebackers during his time in Durham, including recent stars Mike Tauiliili and Vincent Rey (now with the Cincinnati Bengals). As a standout both on the field and in the classroom (he boasts a 4.0 GPA), Allen could become another star student-athlete for Coach Collins and the Blue Devils, if he chooses to join fellow Jacksonville-area natives Dwayne Norman, Erich Schneider, and Thomas Sirk in the Blue Devils’ class of 2012. [private]

BDN: Can you start out by describing your strengths as a player?

Well, this is my first year playing high school football, so my strengths are just my natural ability to play the game of football and my quick ability to learn, catch onto things quickly, and just being able to use my athleticism.

BDN: You played all over the field in your first year at Hilliard; is there a position you prefer, or a position that college coaches are recruiting you for?

At running back and at linebacker.

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

Just working on more agility and fundamentals.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year?

My first goal is to have a winning season, I think we’ve made a lot of progress over the spring and the summer. That’s the main goal to have a winning season and make it to the playoffs.

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

I’m looking for the best combination of academics and athletics. Just a place that fits me, a program to help me become a better person for my future, teach me how to do finances and stuff like that.

BDN: You mentioned academics as important to you; is there a particular field you are interested in studying?

I’m still undecided.

BDN: What schools would you say have been recruiting you the hardest?

I’d say Tennessee, Duke, Vanderbilt…Kentucky…Arkansas, Boston College.

BDN: Sounds like a good mix of ACC and SEC programs; is there a school or conference that you’ve grown up following?

Not really.







Hilliard's Marcus Allen made a stop in historic Cameron Indoor Stadium during his visit to Duke






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

Well I’ve been able to visit Florida, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Clemson, and I think that’s it.

BDN: Did any of those schools seem to have the combination of academics and athletics that you’re looking for?

They’re all pretty similar, they all have a lot of great things to offer, I didn’t have any stand out just from my visits.

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

I’m trying to narrow things down some, but I still want to take my official visits, and make sure I have all the information I need to make my final decision.

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

I’m just a guy from a small town that’s trying to make a big impact. For the kids that come from small towns, just show that anybody can make it in college football if you work at it enough.

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

Alright, you too.



Duke targets star in-state running back Jela Duncan

The Duke staff believes Mallard Creek's Jela Duncan could be an impact player in Durham

With fall training camp just one month away, the Duke coaching staff is hoping to close out their July by adding the final pieces to the class of 2012. The Blue Devils have already had a busy summer, securing 13 verbal commitments before Independence Day. Looking at the projected Duke roster, however, there are a few noticeable missing pieces. With four upperclassmen projected at the position, running back appears to be one of the Blue Devils' biggest remaining needs. The Duke coaching staff has demonstrated a willingness to play true freshmen in the backfield, with in-state stars Desmond Scott and Josh Snead both receiving carries in their first year in Durham. In the class of 2012, it's no secret that the Blue Devils have two more in-state running backs at the top of their wish list, hoping to continue the trend. [private]

Jela Duncan is a 5'10" 190 pound running back from Mallard Creek HS in Charlotte, NC. In his first full season at running back, Duncan helped Mallard Creek to a 13-1 record, rushing for 1,375 yards on 101 carries with 17 touchdowns, despite missing three games. His junior year performance earned 1st Team I-Meck Conference and plenty of attention from college coaches. Now that he is approaching double digit scholarship offers, including Pittsburgh, Purdue, and Wake Forest, it's safe to say his recruitment is in full swing. Duke hopes that Duncan will join a growing pipeline of young players from the Greater Charlotte area, including OL Casey Blaser, LB Kelby Brown, LB Kyler Brown, WR Jamison Crowder, DL Carson Ginn, LB Britton Grier and DL Carlos Wray. After an impressive performance at Duke's camp in June, Duncan could be the next impact freshman running back in Durham.

BDN: What are some of your strengths as a running back?

I would have to say I’m a power back, but I have great speed, too.. I’m more cut and go, I can catch it out of the backfield, I have really good hands, and I just like to make plays for my team.

BDN: What have you been working on this summer?

Footwoork and speed, speed training. I’ve been in the weight room, so mostly all-around.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior year?

State championship, first of all. And I’m hoping to go over 2,000 yards this year.

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

I want it to feel like it’s home, like all the players are just one, the coaches are one, they’re real with me. They like hard work just like I like hard work, and it’s just a family football environment.

BDN: Which schools have been recruiting you the hardest this summer?

Duke, first of all. And then Purdue started to come into the picture, and Pittsburgh.

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

I went up to Duke for their football camp about three weeks ago. And I’ve been to NC State two weeks ago, and I’ve been up to Virginia and Virginia Tech.

BDN: What were some of the things that stood out on your visits?

Well, the Virginia Tech visit, it was really exciting. The fans are just crazy. When we first pulled up, they were all out there tailgating for their spring game. It was almost full, it was amazing how loyal those fans are up there.

Duke, it was really good. The players were bonded together. They seemed like they were one family. There was one guy, he left his iPod on the charger, and it was just sitting there, nobody touched it, then he came back and it was still there. It was great to see.

The Virginia visit, it was pretty cool. It was a pretty cool visit. I went up there for a spring basketball game, so I didn’t get to chill with the players very much, but they seemed pretty cool though.

NC State – that went pretty good. I got to met the head coach. He seemed like a really cool guy, he seemed like he wanted to win some ball games.

BDN: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Well, we’ve got a national 7-on-7 to go to this Thursday, so we’ll be training for that the next two days. I probably won’t go on any more visits or camps, well I might go to the Wake Forest camp, that will probably be my last one.

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

It’s just going to have to come to me, because I’m not planning on making the decision anytime soon, really.

BDN: Is there anything else you want college football fans to know about you?

I’m a hard worker, I love hard work, I love it, that’s what drives me and my team.

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

Yes sir, thank you. You have a good day.



Ohio WR Tres Barksdale was impressed by his visit to Duke

Ohio WR Tres Barksdale was impressed by his visit to Duke

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. One prospect who has stood out so far is Tres Barksdale, a 6’2” 180 pound receiver from Solon, Ohio. Prior to breaking his foot during his junior season, Barksdale was regarded as one of the top receiving prospects in the state, and has been in contact with Midwest powerhouses such as Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. Highlights of his abbreviated junior season can be viewed here. The talented receiver made the trip to Durham for Junior Day and came away impressed with the Duke program.

BDN: Can you start out by describing some of your strengths as a receiver?

I’m around 6’2”, and my really big thing in a game is going up and getting the ball over people, using my size, get around people and go for the ball.

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

Well, I actually broke my foot this year, so I was out for the last seven games of this season, but I’ve been really working on getting – like increasing my explosion to even up to better than it was when I broke my foot, because I feel that’s one of the things that kind of went down when I broke my foot, my explosion.  So I’ve really been working on that, and my quickness, like getting off the ball and being quick with my routes, I’ve really tried to critique.

BDN: What are some of the goals you have for your senior season this fall?

Well, I’m starting off with being back and being fully healthy, and then from there I’m hoping I can be a big impact player, and my coach will look to me to be a leader, and I feel like I’m hopefully going to be an impact, like someone other teams will look out for, and put a lot of effort into covering me.  That’s my big thing, to make people work to cover me, and make it be a big deal in games.

BDN: What are the most important factors you are considering as you look at colleges?

The most important factor would probably be a question of how comfortable I feel at the school, and then also like academics is a big thing too for me, so like how comfortable I feel at the school, and how I feel around my classmates at the school, and also how the academics are, and how I fit in with the football program.  I think the coaches, if I feel really comfortable with the coaches, I can be open with the coaches and talk to them.

BDN: Is there an academic field you are interesting in studying?

Something with medical, probably.  In the medical field.

BDN: What schools have you been in contact with the most so far? Who were some of the first schools to contact you?

In general, well by Duke, and then with Wisconsin, Illinois, Notre Dame, Boston College, Texas A&M, and then there’s a couple like Ohio State, and then – Michigan, Northwestern.  And Penn State too.

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

I’ve visited Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Notre Dame.  And I have visited Duke. And I also visited Northwestern.

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

I was actually really impressed with Duke. Duke really stood out to me, like the coaches were, seemed like really good guys, campus was really nice.  Academically, it’s a great school, so that was a big deal to me.  Like I have – I liked how they were, in the future where they’re looking to go, they’re really working to get there, and they’re just looking to the future and will do anything to get there.  And then also Ohio State I really liked, like I really like the football facility.  I liked how it was closer to home, so I could get there, so it’s easy for my parents to get there, so they can see me play.  And also, I liked Notre Dame, the campus was unbelievable.  Like that’s what I really felt, the campus was just so nice.  And then Michigan, I liked the atmosphere at the game, the atmosphere at the game was unreal.  Everything about the game was just like, “Oh my gosh, this is big time football, this is the place to be.”

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

Yeah, in 2 weeks I’m visiting Wisconsin, over – and then after I’m not sure where else I might go up to visit.  And then over the summer I’m probably gonna take a trip down to Duke Camp, and try to get to the Duke Camp and UNC camp all in one trip, and then maybe NC State, like all in one trip down there.  And then Boston College, I’ll probably go see my grandparents, go see them and try to go to that camp.  And then Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin, and then Illinois, around all those.  Yeah, it’s gonna be a busy summer.

BDN: At this point in the process, do you have an idea for when you want to make your college decision?

My thing is I don’t know exactly, ‘cause it’s really gonna be when – I think I’ll be able to feel where I’m comfortable, and if that’s later in the process, then that’s gonna be later.  But if it’s sooner, if it is, I’ll make the most of my opportunities and go from there.  Yeah, see how it plays out, but I’m not sure.

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

As a person, it’s really just my hard work, and I’m always willing to give every ounce of effort I can, no matter if I’m sore, tired, I don’t feel like I can do it, I’m always going to put all the effort I have is doing something, and never give up.

Duke is recruiting hard-hitting South Carolina LB Preston Durham

Chapman LB Preston Durham was named a USAF Junior All-American

In 2010, Duke coaches and fans were impressed by the play of freshman linebacker Kelby Brown. On the recruiting trail, the Duke coaching staff is searching for more hard-hitting linebackers to join Brown on the Blue Devil defense. Preston Durham is a 6’1” 205 pound linebacker from Inman, South Carolina. As a junior, Durham was named to the SC All-Region team, as he wrecked havoc on opposing offenses, totaling 130 tackles, 4 pass break-ups, 2½ sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and 1 blocked kick. His standout season earned him 1st team 2010 US Air Force Junior All-American honors.

BDN: Can you start out by describing your strengths as a player?

Well, I believe I have great awareness and a nose for the football, and great quickness and speed.  Can really explode through the block.

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

Definitely speed and size and strength.


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

I’d like to make the playoffs this year, and go as far as we can.  I’d like to eclipse my tackle record, and break all my records that I’ve set in the previous years.

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

Definitely the atmosphere of the school and the people, and the facilities is a big thing, and of course the education, and the coaching staff.

BDN: What schools have you heard the most from so far? Who were the first schools to contact you?

Duke has been contacting me, he’s come to the school a couple times, and Georgia Tech, along with – let’s see, Clemson has too.


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

I’ve visited Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, and out of state, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.


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

Yes, I really like Duke, the coach, I really like him a lot, he’s a nice guy.  And North Carolina, I love their campus.

BDN: Do you have plans to visit any other schools this spring or summer?

Yes sir, I plan on going to Georgia Tech Junior Day in April, and I plan on going to the Clemson football camp, along with North Carolina and Duke and Georgia Tech.

BDN: At this point in the process, do you have an idea for when you would like to make your college decision?

Well, I don’t know.  I mean, I’d have to take a lot of time to think and do some research on the school and everything, but I don’t know, I’d probably do it after my senior season.

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

I have an extremely hard work ethic, and a drive inside me that I’m not gonna stop. [/private]

Coach Cutcliffe and Duke are evaluating CT QB Casey Cochran

QB Casey Cochran was the 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year in CT

Head Coach David Cutcliffe is known for his ability to develop quarterbacks, thanks to his work with Thad Lewis and Sean Renfree at Duke, and Peyton and Eli Manning at Tennessee and Ole Miss. In the class of 2012, Duke has already been in contact with many of the top quarterback prospects around the country, including Casey Cochran of Connecticut. Cochran is a 6’1” 205 pound pro-style quarterback from Masuk High School in Monroe, CT. As a junior, Cochran led the top offense in the state to a championship, earning himself the state Gatorade Player of the Year award. Highlights of his junior season, during which he threw 2,670 yards and 36 touchdowns, can be viewed here.

BDN: Can you start off by describing your strengths as a quarterback?

Some of my strengths are, I think, are accuracy in all throws, moving in the pocket, arm strength, and reading coverages.

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

I’ve been working on depth and quickness of my drops, footwork.  Every day I’ve been working on footwork.  Throwing on the run was a big thing to work on; I didn’t do it much this year, but work on that a lot.

BDN: Are there any quarterbacks in the NFL or college game that you have studied or modeled your game after?

Definitely, I’ve been watching a lot of Aaron Rodgers this year, he has like impeccable form.  It’s perfect.  Same thing with Tom Brady.  He holds the ball a little low, but I love watching him.  They’re 2 great quarterbacks I love watching, as well as Peyton Manning, just how he runs offense is awesome.

BDN: What are your goals for your senior season?

Definitely want to win the championship again, go undefeated, we did that this year, and I definitely want to repeat, go out with a bang.  I want to be the number one offense in the state, and just do better than last year.

BDN: What are the most important factors you’re considering when looking at colleges?

First of all, academics.  Academics are the strongest thing I’m looking for.  Also facilities and academic support, as well as the type of offense run there.

BDN: Is there a specific academic field you think you would like to study in college?

Yes, sports medicine, I’d like to get into physical therapy or personal training.

BDN: Do you have a preference for a particular offensive style?

Yeah, I’m looking for pro-style, with a mix-up of spread too.

BDN: What schools have you had the most contact with so far and who were the first schools to contact you?

Cochran has an early offer from Boston College

The first – I have an offer from BC, and they were the strongest at first.  I have – I went to the UConn and Rutgers Junior Day, and I am scheduled to go to Virginia, Duke, and NC State Junior Days, as well as Penn State this spring.

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

Not necessarily yet, no, it’s still pretty early.

BDN: Do you know what camps you plan on attending this summer?

Not yet, but I’m definitely going to UConn and Rutgers.  We haven’t planned every camp out yet, but definitely UConn and Rutgers and BC.

BDN: At this point in the process, do you have an idea when you would like to make your college decision?

No, I’m taking my time now, but I am scheduled to graduate January of my senior year, so I’m trying to take my time, but before then I would definitely make my decision.