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BDN Premium Football Friday the 13th

It's time for Football Friday the 13th!

Things are picking up at BDN Premium with exclusive interviews from the AAU circuit, Duke basketball team news, and Duke football recruiting. In addition to those perks, you also get Football Friday, so without further ado... Football Friday the 13th!  [private]


Blue Devil Nation sends their condolences to the Alabama Crimson Tide and the family of OL Aaron Douglas, who passed away on Thursday in Florida. Needless to say, it has been a difficult offseason in Tuscaloosa, and our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by the April storms and the tragic passing of this young man.

NFL lockout continues

With the NFL Draft now behind us, dozens of college seniors have been forced to put their future on hold while the NFL labor dispute continues. In past years, undrafted free agents typically receive contract offers or camp invites in the days immediately after the draft. This year, due to the lockout, undrafted players have been unable to contact teams, leaving their futures uncertain. This is a difficult time for Duke’s group of seniors who are hoping to make good on their NFL dreams. Abraham Kromah recently tweeted some of his frustration: “Notice it's only the vets with money and job security saying they are enjoying this lockout.” It’s in everyone’s best interest for the owners and players to reach an agreement; a cancelled or shortened season would be a huge mistake. For the sake of Duke’s seniors and others who are left with uncertain futures, we hope the two sides come together sooner rather than later.

First 3 kickoff times announced

There's nothing like the atmosphere of a home opener under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium.

The Blue Devils will open their season on Saturday, September 3rd with a 7PM kickoff against Richmond. Duke fans remember all too well the last time Duke and Richmond met under the lights in Wallace Wade Stadium, and a similar outcome would be a huge blow to the 2011 season. Under Coach Cutcliffe, Duke has hosted four straight night game home openers, with great crowds at the first three as part of Duke’s Annual Employee Appreciation Night. One of the defining moments early in the Cutcliffe era was the lightning-delayed home opener against James Madison, where much of the crowd of 32,561 waited out the storms to witness the program’s first win under Coach Cutcliffe. The Blue Devils will need that kind of support and enthusiasm in Wallace Wade Stadium this year as they take on another tough home schedule, highlighted by the September 10th game against Andrew Luck and Stanford, which is slated to kickoff at 3:30 PM and will be televised on ESPNU. After an early season conference road loss to Wake Forest in 2010, Duke will need to reverse their fortunes with a tough early season matchup with Boston College in Chestnut Hill on September 17, which will kickoff at 12:30 PM on the ACC Network.

September 3            Richmond                        7:00 PM            espn3.com

September 10          Stanford                           3:30 PM            ESPNU

September 17          @ Boston College          12:30 PM            ACC


Recruiting moving along

Stanford has thrown their hat into the ring for DE Torey Agee

The Blue Devils have secured two commitments early this recruiting season in TE Erich Schneider and DE Allen Jackson. For comparison, by the end of May in 2010, Duke had already received 5 verbal commitments and by the end of May in 2009, Duke had already received 4 verbal commitments. In both previous years, the majority of commitments were made in June and July, and the Blue Devils hope that will be the case again this year. The staff has been on the recruiting trail hard this spring, checking in with current recruits and scouting potential new prospects. With many high schools now in the middle of spring football practices, prospects are given an opportunity to showcase their offseason improvement to coaches in hopes of earning new scholarship offers. After spring practices wrap up, the next opportunity to impress college coaches will be the summer camp circuit. Duke will host its one-day camps on June 11th and 18th this year, with the David Cutcliffe QB College on June 16th and 17th.

It will be interesting to see how this recruiting season unravels, with written scholarship offers not sent out until August. Also, coming off a 3-win season, the Blue Devils have a lot to prove to prospective recruits, who want to play for a winning program. With a relatively small number of available scholarships this year, the Duke staff has been a little more selective than in previous years, focusing their efforts on several high-level prospects. All of these factors will come into play as Duke puts together the class of 2011. The Blue Devils are close to having the facilities, staff, and education to compete with any program in the country, but still need to improve in wins, fan support, and NFL alumni.

Just a few updates on the recruiting front:

DL Matt Godin committed to Michigan on Thursday. He visited Duke earlier this year and the Blue Devils were initially high on his list. Unfortunately, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin ended up offering the Michigan native, and it became nearly impossible for any school to lure him out of his home state.

TE Evan Baylis committed to Oregon recently. After originally planning to make his decision over the summer, he decided the offer from the Ducks was too good to pass up.

DE Torey Agee received an offer from Stanford this week. Duke and South Alabama were the first to offer the Opelika, AL native, who plans to visit Durham this summer. With Stanford now in the mix, this recruitment has immediately become more competitive. Duke and Stanford are battling for a few prospects already (Dontonio Jordan, Albert Reid), so it will be interesting to see if the Cardinal can continue their success in the post-Harbaugh era.


Next week

Prospect interviews will start up again next week. Please feel free to chime in on the message board on any prospects you’d like to hear from. We’ll start to check back in with several of the prospects we spoke with earlier this year to see how their spring has gone and where they are in their recruiting process. Here’s to a great week! WE ARE DUKE.


TE Evan Baylis has a Duke offer, along with several west coast schools

Duke has offered top TE Evan Baylis

Tight end is a position that Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Middleton hope to develop into a consistent strength within the Duke offense. In the past few seasons, Duke has featured a dynamic group of tight ends, including Brett Huffman, Brandon King, and Cooper Helfet. The Blue Devils will add freshman David Reeves to the depth chart this fall, and are looking at several prospects in the class of 2012. Along with verbal commit Erich Schneider, Duke has offered top TE Evan Baylis. Baylis is a 6’6” 225 pound prospect from Aurora, Colorado. Highlights from his junior year can be viewed here.

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

I guess I’d have to say my footwork and feet for how tall I am. And my aggressiveness, maybe.

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

Putting on some weight, I’ve actually gained 20 pounds and just adding some strength and speed.

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

I want to go as far as we can in the playoffs, maybe win state if we can. For myself, I want to try and get All-State, I got honorable mention last year.

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

I’m looking at the tradition of the school, how well I get along with the coaches and the coaching staff, the campus, and how they use the tight ends in their offense.

BDN: Do you have a preference for a specific type of offense?

No, not really.

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

Probably CU, Boise State, Michigan, Oregon, and Stanford.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools this spring?

I’ve been able to get out to CU, CSU, Boise State, Michigan, Oregon, and Stanford.

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

None are planned, but I’m definitely going to try and see some other colleges, I’m not quite sure yet.

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 definitely am going to want to make it before my senior year, probably sometime in the summer.

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

On all my visits, I’ve gotten along with the coaches really well with everything they’ve shown me is great. They’re all good choices and the coaches are all really nice, so it’s tough to choose.

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

Alright, thank you.


Duke battling Big 10 powers for Michigan DL Matt Godin

Catholic Central's Matt Godin can play either DT or DE

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. Several defensive line prospects have received verbal scholarship offers from the Blue Devils, including one of the top prospects in the country, who took a visit to Duke this spring. Matt Godin is a 6’6” 260 pound defensive lineman from Novi, Michigan. As a junior, Matt helped Catholic Central to a 9-3 record, totaling over 50 tackles. The versatile and athletic lineman is the type of prospect that Duke is targeting in the class of 2012, but the Blue Devils will face competition from Big 10 powers such as Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, all of which have also offered. Highlights of Matt’s junior year can be viewed here.

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

My strengths, definitely my quickness off the ball, and then my swing move.

BDN: You’ve played well both inside and outside in high school; do you have a preference for where you would like to play in college?

It doesn’t really matter.  I’ll play both.

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

Just overall getting stronger and just keeping my quickness up too, so doing speed training and stuff.

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

State championship.

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

Education, and like the overall feel I get from the people around me when I go there, and just like the tradition.  I mean, there’s got to be a solid foundation at the school.

BDN: Since you mentioned education being an important factor, is there a particular field you are interested in studying in college?

Probably business.

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

DL Matt Godin plans to visit Duke again this summer



Actually right before you just called, I got off the phone with Coach Cut[cliffe] over at Duke, and then – mostly just the schools that offered me, I’ve been talking to the most.  Cincinnati, Syracuse, Michigan State, Duke, and Buffalo, and then schools that haven’t offered me I’ve mostly been talking to Wisconsin, Oregon, Northwestern and Illinois.

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

Michigan State, Duke, what else?  I went to Michigan a few times, I went to Iowa last year.  That’s about it.  Oh, I went to Northwestern.

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

I’m gonna be going to Duke again, probably the summer, and then I’m going to Michigan State soon, and then I’m visiting Wisconsin next weekend.  Not this weekend, but next weekend, and then I’ll probably make it down to Illinois too.

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

I was impressed with Northwestern, Michigan State, and Duke.  All of those 3.

BDN: Was there anything specific that stood out to you about those programs?

I mean, I’m not – not anything specific.  Obviously the facilities for all of them were nice, and I like the coaches from all those 3 schools.  Probably Duke and Michigan State though, the coaches and just the feel I got from them, kind of stood out the most.

BDN: Do you have an idea for when you would like to make your college decision?

Probably right after the season, or maybe – it’s either gonna be right after the season or right before the season.

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

Distance from where the school is doesn’t matter to me.  If I like the school, I’m gonna go.  And I have no favorite.

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

Okay, thank you.


Greg Paulus answers questions about his future – Q & A

Paulus on Senior Day - BDN Photo
Paulus on Senior Day - BDN Photo

Greg Paulus held a media conference today earlier this morning to discuss his future this morning.  Here is a large portion of that session -

Where do you stand at this point and time?

My stance at this time is that I am looking at some different opportunities.  There a some opportunities out there involving football and basketball.  Right now I am trying to get as much information on those situations as possible.  Take it step by step in the process and try to figure out what the best thing for me to do for my future.

When did you start to think about football?  Was it during the basketball season?

No, it wasn't.  During the season it was always about basketball and Duke and how we could make a run at the tournament.  A few weeks after the season I received some interest from a few people which got me thinking and out there throwing the ball a little bit.  And that's what kind of sparked it.

You went to Michigan -

I did go to Michigan the other day.  I do not have anything set up f or another visit right now.  There could be down the road. I am trying to gather information on different schools or options.  I do not have any visits set in stone.

On his relationship with Coach Greg Robinson and if that played a factor -

You know, I do have a good relationship with Coach Robinson.  When I was back home in Syracuse I had some friend on the teams anjd went back to practices.  I didn't have any communication from him until I got up to Michigan.   I had a chance to speak with him and catch up a little bit.  But that was the first communication with Coach Robinson.

Has it been expressed by Michigan that you are welcome to join?

[brief pause]  You know what, I had a great visit with them yesterday and both Michigan and myself are just trying to learn about each other and feel out the situation.  It's one thing to talk on the phone but another thing to spend a day on the campus and build a relationship with the coaching staff.  But there has been an opportunity given there.

On the possibility of playing at Syracuse -

In reference to Syracuse, I obviously love Syracuse and have lived there a long time, it's home  and there has been some interest and something I am looking into.  There is nothing set in stone about a visit but I am interested.

On the Green Bay Packers -

A couple of days after the season ended for basketball, there was some interest from the Green Bay Packers and we got in touch and set up some workouts.  Communication came through and that was when I started to throw again.  It was a lot of fun to throw the football around and it was a great opportunity the Green Bay Packers offered  And everyday I went out there and threw it got better and better each day.

On NCAA rules and where and when he can play -

Yeah, there is a number of rules we are trying to follow.  I will graduate in May, which is Mothers Day weekend.  I am really glad to graduate with some of the opportunities that have presented itself, whether that it with another university, there is different things you have to look into.  There is another year of eligibility for me.  The research I am doing is pretty extensive and I find the process exciting.  It would have to be a Division 1-A  program but it cannot be 1-AA.

On other universities -

Yeah, yeah.  There has been some other interest from the universities and other teams and it's something where I am in the process of building a relationship with those involved.  There are options out there and I am listening to them and trying to learn about those opportunities when they present themselves.

So you will have to play this season and cannot sit out?

That is correct yes.

How may coaches have been in touch?

There have been several other schools that have been in contact.  I do not feel comfortable naming them at this point.

How important is it to find a situation where you will play right away?

I think one of the things when looking at a situation involving a school is that you want to help the program.  You want an opportunity if you help them to go to grad school.  I think that having an opportunity to compete and play right away is very attractive to me.  If this is the route chosen, I think that will be a major factor.

Has there bee contact from other NFL teams?

There has been several other contacts from the NFL.  Once again, I don't feel comfortable naming those, but there has been several other teams who have been in contact or called.

Any workouts planned?

We are in the process of trying to gather the information to work something out.  If there is an NFL team that calls and wants to see me throw.   I'll be glad to get out there and show them what I can do.

On  the Blue Devils offer to play wideout -

You know what, I'm a huge, huge fan of Coach Cutcliffe.  I am a big fan of him and what he is doing and have a lot of friends on the team.  If I play the game of football, I can only see myself as a quarterback and that's one of things I want to do if that is the best option and in my heart that's what I want to do - be a quarterback.

On the media interest -

I'm a little surprised.  There have been some really great opportunities that have come up in the last couple of weeks and I am very appreciative of all those things which have come my way.  I know that the Duke coaching staff here and some other people.  It's an honor to have an opportunity to continue to play and kind of keep that going.  It's been a dream not only to play Duke Basketball but continue towards a professional level.  If you could being the professional ranks would be another dream come true. To have all these opportunities is very exciting and I feel fortunate because of them.   So it is surprising but it's also exciting.

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