Tag Archives: UConn

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.


Texas RB prospect Dontonio Jordan has offers from Duke and Stanford

Dontonio Jordan says that running back is his natural position

When Head Coach David Cutcliffe came to Durham, he vowed that he would transform the Blue Devils into a faster and more athletic team. In his first few recruiting classes, he has added several elite athletes, including Isaac Blakeney in 2010 and Jamison Crowder in 2011. The coaching staff is looking to continue that trend in the class of 2012, and Duke is one of the first two schools to offer a top athlete from Texas. Dontonio Jordan is a 5’11” 183 pound athlete from Corinth, Texas. His great speed and quickness have allowed him to play both receiver and running back for Lake Dallas High School. 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?

Running back, that’s really my natural position. That’s where I played until I was a freshman, and then we had like 4 or 5 good running backs my sophomore year in high school, so they decided that playing receiver would be the best position for me at that time, for sophomore year. Junior year – last year – I got a little bit more running back carries, averaged 6.7 yards per carry, and about the same amount or receptions, but a lot more yards and I had 10 more touchdowns than I did the year before, so that was a good improvement.

BDN: You said you feel like running back is your natural position, is that where you want to play in college and what position have college coaches been talking to you about playing?

College are considering me as an inside receiver, because that’s all they’re really seen me as, as of right now. But after this year, because I think running back is more my natural position, I think I’m going to have a big year at running back this year and more colleges will be looking at me for that also.

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

Me and my dad, my dad helps me out a lot. We go to the track probably every Sunday, we’re probably going out there later today. We go every Sunday and work on footwork drills and lateral movement. I still work on my route running and stuff, too, and I’m also lifting a lot of weights, when I can lift on weekends, on Saturdays with my dad also. I do push-ups at home, and stuff like that. I go to a camp every Tuesday and Thursday, I go to this thing called Velocity, where we do a lot of core training to get your core stronger, balance, 40 [yard dash] times, all types of stuff like that.

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

Last year we had kind of a disappointment. We should have won easily to at least the fourth round of the playoffs, but we lost in the first round, just a couple of muffed punts and stuff like that. Next year, for me personally, I think I should have a 1,000 yard rushing season and about 700 yards receiving at least. I think our team, we have a lot of returning starters – we have 9 on offense and probably about 5 or 6 on defense – so we have a lot of experience and we have a lot more depth, so I think we should be able to go to at least the 4th round and face [defending state champion] Aledo [High School].

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

My top three things that I would look for is the proximity to home, and if I’m not close to home, say if I’m in North Carolina or California or somewhere like that, then how “homey” is it? Do I feel like it’s home to me? And early playing time is one of my top three also, and good coaching. All the coaches that I’ve talked to, most of them, I get a good vibe off of, and I like that I can build a relationship with the coaches.

BDN: I know we mentioned that Duke is one of the schools that has offered you. Which schools have you in contact with the most, and which schools have extended verbal offers?

Stanford is the only other offer that I have as of right now. I’m getting a lot of calls from people saying they’re coming to see me this spring, they want to evaluate me more, but they say an offer is on the way. Some other schools are saying that if I get my transcripts to them then I’ll get an offer. Schools like Tulsa, UConn, Baylor, Iowa, and Michigan State. Those are really the ones that I talk to the most often.

BDN: Have you had a chance to visit any schools, or do you have any visits planned?

As of right now, I think it’s almost set in stone that we’re visiting Stanford on May 14. Duke, I think we’re going to try to make a fall visit there. UConn, they’re trying to get me out there we just don’t know when. I’ve already visited Baylor, that was my first visit actually. I went to SMU yesterday. Iowa’s been trying to get me out there, but it’s really just all going to come down to my official visits, really.

BDN: So it sounds like you want to take some official visits this fall and make a decision after your season, is that right?

Yeah, yes sir.

BDN: Is there anything else that you think college football fans should know about you?

You know, I’m just a regular guy, nothing out of the normal about me.

BDN: Well it certainly sounds like you’re a hard worker and I just want to wish you best of luck with your recruitment. Thanks a lot, Dontonio.

No problem, thanks.


NIT Season Tip-Off Preview: UConn Huskies

DukeThe UConn Huskies (4-0) are a tough matchup for Duke (5-0). Defending against talented backcourt mates Jerome Dyson (6’3” 180) and Kemba Walker (6’1” 172) will be a huge challenge for Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith. Both Dyson and Walker were named to the All Big East Preseason Team. The Huskies are also big across the frontline with Stanley Robinson (6’9” 220), Gavin Edwards (6’9” 230), and Alex Oriakhi (6’9” 240). UConn brings speed and strength onto the court.

Depth could be an issue for the Huskies as their top five players are clocking 170 minutes of action per game. Comparatively, Duke’s top five are on the court for 147 minutes. In their 76 – 67 second round win over Hofstra, the Huskies bench contributed only four points, while Duke’s bench scored 24 points in Duke’s 101 – 59 win over the University of Charlotte.

Dyson, a senior, is averaging 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists in 36.7 minutes per game so far this season. He missed the end of last season after tearing the meniscus ligament in his right knee on February 13th against Syracuse. Dyson had started all 24 games for UConn prior to the injury.

Robinson averaged 8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 23 minutes per game over his first three seasons at Connecticut. As a senior, he is playing 36.3 mpg and averaging 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. With the departure of A.J. Price, Jeff Adrien, and Hasheem Thabeet, Robinson will be expected to step into a leadership role for the Huskies.

Edwards, the third senior starter, is averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game so far this season. He has made 19 of 23 field goal attempts this season and scored 15 points in the win over LSU.

Walker, a sophomore, is averaging 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4 assists in 33.7 minutes per game. In the win over LSU, Walker dished out 5 assists in addition to scoring 20 points.

Oriakhi, starting as a freshman, is averaging 6.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 33.3 minutes per game. UConn is known for physical inside players and this freshman is heir apparent to be Coach Jim Calhoun’s next intimidator. Against LSU, he had 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.

The keys to the game will be:

1. Foul trouble could be a problem for the Huskies who play all five starters 30 or more minutes per game, while Duke goes nine deep. Therefore, the Blue Devils should attack the basket and force the Huskies to respond. This game will be a test for Duke’s bigger line-up philosophy and their inside players must respond to the physical play of UConn’s frontline.

2. Who will guard Kyle Singler? Actually, UConn is a team that should be able to match-up with Singler. Stanley Robinson will be Coach Calhoun’s first option, but it would be a tall order to expect Robinson to keep up with Singler for 35 plus minutes so Coach Calhoun will probably look to freshman Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (6’7” 210) to assist Robinson in defending Singler. It will definitely be a trial by fire experience for the freshman wingman.

3. Guard play will eventually decide who wins this game. The team which gets the best performance from its perimeter players will be the tournament champions. With UConn’s ability to match-up with Singler, starters Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith are going to have to outperform Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker in order for Duke to leave New York undefeated. Duke freshman Andre Dawkins must be strong when he is on the court. There is no room for error in this contest.

UConn advanced to the championship game via an 81 - 55 dismantling of the LSU Tigers. Duke defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils 64 – 53 in a game which was closer than expected. The Huskies were led by Dyson and Walker with 20 points each, and Robinson contributed a double - double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. For the Blue Devils, Jon Scheyer was the leading scorer with 16 points, while Smith and Singler chipped in 14 and 13 points respectively.

Duke and UConn have played some classic games over the years and this game should be another barn burner. Coaches Krzyzewski and Calhoun are familiar with each other so both teams will come into the game prepared and ready to execute an effective game plan. This game will be a good one so all the fans need to kick back and enjoy the show. After the long off season, it is time to enjoy the ride of another college basketball season.