Tag Archives: Florida

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.



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.


Miami CB Larry Hope plans to visit all schools that have offered this summer

Duke has offered top Miami CB Larry Hope

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. The Blue Devils added a quality cornerback from Florida in the class of 2011 in Tim Burton, and hope to do the same in the class of 2012. One of the most recent prospects to pick up a verbal scholarship offer is Larry Hope, a 5’11” 167 pound prospect from Miami, Florida.

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

Well, I think, college coaches say they like about me is that I’m the best man-to-man coverage player that they’ve seen. I’m good for my height, I’m a very big player, strong and physical, and very fast. When it comes down to shutting down a receiver, I think I’m the guy. But I like my actions to speak for themselves.

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

I’m working on getting stronger. I’m in the weight room every single day, even on weekdays, weekends I’m outside trying to get faster. We’re trying to get faster and stronger.

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

As a team, I want to come together and bond so we can have a better year than last year and hopefully make it to the playoffs. Me, I just want to do what I’ve been doing, come out there and play my role as I’ve been doing.

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

I’m looking for a family bond and someone that can help me become a better player for the next level, because that’s what everybody wants to do. But I’m looking for a family bond, someone that’s like a father figure at college, and most of the colleges that I’ve been talking to that have offered me, has been that. They call me, I call them, and we talk on a daily basis, get that family bond. They mostly are defensive back coaches, and mostly played DB at the next level, so that’s what I’m looking for.

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

I have seven offers from Wisconsin, Buffalo, Nebraska, USF, Louisville, Duke, and Kansas. West Virginia and Miami, Florida State, and Florida, they all want to come to my spring practice – Ole Miss and North Carolina are all coming to my spring practice, sometime around the first of May or the first week in May.

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

In the summer I plan on visiting all the colleges that have offered me. When it comes to visits, so far I’ve visited Miami, Florida State, and Florida, and USF and UCF, and that’s it.

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

Well, no, all the colleges that have offered me are trying to impress me, so not yet.

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?

Me and my dad are weighing my options and just sitting back and relaxing. We’re trying to gain that bond, if I feel like I’m comfortable with a school, there’s no time limit on when I’ll decide.

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

I feel like I’m more loyal to football now. Everything revolves around football and I’m working harder than I’ve ever been working, and I like what I’ve been seeing and I’m going to keep putting more into my craft.

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

Alright, thanks a lot.


BDN Premium chats with Brian Clifton about John Wall and his recruitment

misc-challenge-065BDN deals in facts, not rumors.  Everybody wants to know the latest on John Wall and what is going on in his camp.  I talked with Brian Clifton last evening and he broke down the process of the hottest recruiting battle in the nation.  If you are not a member of BDN Premium, then you're simply missing the best Duke subscription service available.

Will John Wall trim his list? [private] Maybe not according to Clifton.  At this point all the teams may be in there until the end.

Baylor - That's where Clifton preferred John Wall to go.  The reasoning was that he could be with his brother,  but Clifton admitted that it would raise some eyebrows and that Wall is not seriously considering them.

"I will go where John Wall goes," said Clifton.  No matter where John Wall goes, Clifton will be there with him.  This has already been discussed with Wall's Mom, who gave her blessing.

How will Wall's choice affect his D-One program? Clifton said he had a good staff and could run it from afar, but he also mentioned that it would be nice to stay in the area and that he preferred that.  Still, he would go wherever he needs to go for the benefit of Wall.

"The process is flawed," said Clifton.  He mentioned that coaches could only meet with John one time officially and that all they could do now was send e-mails and such.  He feels a prospect needs more time to evaluate what a coach is really like, meaning he might realize more from extended contacts bettering relationships.

"He's what's important and it is important that he feels that," said Clifton.  This means he wants to support Wall's decision.

Making a wise choice - Clifton wants to make sure that Wall examines all angles of the possibilities at hand.

How important is proximity to home for Wall? It's not at the top of the list.  Wall knows he will have Clifton no matter where he goes.

Kentucky -  Wall loves Calipari and has talked to him the most, but there is a question as to whether it's the best situation for John.

Florida - Glowing reviews for Florida where Clifton knows Donovan personally and his brother played for Larry Shyatt.

Miami - "They have some good players down there," said Clifton.  He admitted there were worse places to spend a year than South Beach.

Duke - "They've got some good players," said Clifton, who then rattled off the names on the roster.  Also mentioned was Ryan Kelly who is a D-One product.  Wall and Kelly were a one-two punch last season.

Will Wall visit Duke again? "Maybe, we'll see," said Clifton, who then went on to say that John feels like he has enough information to make a decision.  They have gathered a lot of information and continue to go over it.

Tough question - Would Wall have already committed had you not been involved as a mentor?  "John is an emotional guy.  He would have probably committed twice already."

Tough question two - Would Wall have already committed to Kentucky if it were not for taking a long look at the process?  "Probably."

Another fact about Wall - He likes to please the people around him.

When will a decision be made - "Who knows," said Clifton.

SAT Scores - "We feel real good about the test he took this past Saturday," said a confident Clifton.

There is more which I will discuss on the message board after this weekend's tournament coverage.  To read too much into these statements would be unwise, but this is the very latest information out there on Wall from a person very, very close to him. [/private]

BDN Prospect Focus – Brandon Knight chats up the Blue Devil Nation

Knight defends during the Boo Williams Invitational - BDN Photo
Knight defends during the Boo Williams Invitational - BDN Photo

Blue Devil Nation Premium participated in several interviews with Brandon Knight during the Boo Williams Invitational.  This is a true one on one interview with Knight, save two questions.  Members received live updates on the premium message board all weekend long and there is lots of information awaiting you should you join.  Already up is an interview with Harrison Barnes, Andre Dawkins (message board only), Josh Smith and now Brandon Knight.  BDNP was on hand for the entire tournament and we'll have offerings of premium prospect interviews every single day through this coming Sunday.  You will also hear from some prospects which most sites are not even aware are on the radar.  Join us now and see for yourself what others are talking about.

That's quite a game you just had.  Your team is 3-0 now, how does that feel?

It feels good because you want to come in here and start off strong.  I thought we could have played a little bit better, but we got the "w" and that's all that counts.

You are really scoring well in this tournament, averaging around 25 ppg.  Do you feel as if you want to be the go to man or the guy who takes the big shots?

Basically my team looks for me to close games out and do the right thing.  So, I feel like they're counting on me to score at the end or to have the ball.  I think I make the right decision sometimes to score or get my big the pass when he goes to the basket to finish or something like that.  Rebound or whatever it takes.

Do you like that role?

Yeah, yeah. (shaking his head up and down)  As long as you have confidence it's always nice to have that role.

Have you been hearing from coaches since being here this weekend?

[private] I haven't really had my phone on.  I've just been chilling and focusing more on trying to get these wins.

You don't have a lot of times on your hands at an AAU event like this ..


Do you get tired of the media or folks reaching in with mic's in your face?

No, this is fun - just keep your composure.   It prepares you for whats to come.

(NBADraft.net) Do you get swarmed by a lot of other guys here trying to get you to come play for them?  (Interesting question in that this guy suddenly "swarms" into the conversation)

Are you talking about their schools?

(NBAD) Yeah, some of the current commitments. (runs towards another prospect after one question)

Oh, oh, oh.  Just some schools are on me like from Florida and Villanova.  That's about it.

Well you play with Rivers, so I suppose he works you?

Yeah, a little bit.

Let me get this straight, I am not going to ask you about a list of schools which you have been asked on numerous occasions ...

Okay, okay ...

You played with Kenny Boynton  last season with Team Breakdown and he's now at Florida.  Can you see yourself playing with him again?

Yeah, yeah, I wouldn't mind as I have said before.  We had such success during the summer that I feel that we probably would have a good season and make it deep in the playoffs if I went there.  I have to sort teams out with my family and make sure ... I want to do the thing that is best for me and it may not be going to Florida.

You talked about going deep into the tournament.  How important is it for you to be successful in the NCAA's?

I don't want to go anywhere and lose.  I think that the main goal is to be able to play and win.  I think you only get looked at if you win and if you are not producing and or are successful, you start being labeled as  different things.  But if you are labeled as a winner then I think that only helps your stock.

You are talking in terms of the NBA?

Yes.  Yeah, I want to come in and play and win at all levels.

You have filled out a lot more this season - more defined or muscular ...

It's made a big difference.  When you try to retain that same quickness, so when you get to the lane you are getting bumps, or you can roll to the basket and try to bump your defender off and try to finish.  So, it helps you from getting bumped off your path and not being able to finish and stuff like that.

What is your routine?

Eating right and lifting and stuff like that.  Doing push ups ...

More so than in the past?

Yes, just eating a lot healthier.

But some of the filling out process is a natural process as well ...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  You get stronger as you get older, but you can help the process along by lifting and stuff like that.  I continue to lift during the season in trying to get stronger.  I don't want beef myself too much, but i want to maintain.

** Rivals, DI - Have you heard from Duke very much? (Uh, the rivals guy just bumped in with a rather pointed question)

Not that much.  I am getting letters but not much else lately.

What schools are calling you the most?

Florida, Florida State, Miami, UConn, Syracuse, Wake Forest ...

A lot of rumors get started and they just run rampant ...

Yeah, yeah, message boards

Exactly!  I asked one of your AAU coaches about you yesterday and he said it would be real hard to pull you out of state and that you were a homebody.  I'm not trying to put you on the spot, but how do you feel about that?

Yeah, yeah (not hesitating to answer) I'm going anywhere I can play and feel like I can win.  Whether that's in the northeast or the west coast, I am going to go there.  I like staying at home with my family and friends, but if I have to go out of state to be successful, that's what I will do.

I have two more interviews with Brandon Knight and this was the second of the bunch.  The first was a media swarm.   I try to get prospects one on one and my questioning tactics will sometimes change when others come in.  All of the questions but three here were a true one to one from BDNP.  But other sites are not above using what they overheard once they moved in, so keep that in mind.  Also, you will notice that we do not ask leading questions about Duke unless they are mentioned by the prospect first.  Oddly, the fellow at Scout claims sitting down for one on ones with prospects, yet there is no sitting down and a great majority of the questions they use are mine.  That's not a one on one.  BDNP is up front about who is asking the questions during interviews and we strive to keep our integrity intact.  That's what has helped us to become the best at what we do and has allowed for a great network of sources.  We have a lot of interviews ahead, but will likely save to multi site ones for last.  Afer the interviews, I will get into scouting reports.  I saw Harrison Barnes play in seven games or parts there of.  It continues to be our policy that we will not go into our analysis of a prospects skill sets unless we have four or more views.  Thank you for being a part of the Blue Devil Nation and welcome new members.

One more note, with the onslaught of information we will likely stay away from true articles until a bit later.

*****Important note - If you are a member and have not signed up for the message board, you need to do so.  There is a lot of information there including the first of two interviews with Andre Dawkins.  **You must register for the message board separately and be approved.  If you use a different e-mail address it may throw us off, so e-mail that you have signed up so we can speed up the process.  If you have registered and have yet to hear from us for approval, let me know.  Go to the help page on the main site for further assistance. [/private]