2014 Duke ACC & National Rankings By Network
Signee Breakdown by Star Rating:
Blue Devils secondary and special teams coach Derek Jones put in outstanding work this cycle, helping Duke snag multiple quality targets throughout the Carolinas, Florida, and the Midwest. The longtime Cutcliffe assistant and Woodruff (S.C.) native played a direct role in Duke’s successful recruitment of Easley (S.C.) defensive tackle Quaven Ferguson, as well as Mobile (Ala.) linebacker Zavier Carmichael, and two Floridians (Fort Lauderdale defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord and Miami quarterback Nicodem Pierre). In addition, Jones’ work in the Midwest this year was especially notable in helping restock Duke’s depth in the secondary. He went to Columbus (OH) to land cornerback Alonzo Saxton, a consensus three-star prospect ranked No. 33 at his position nationally by Rivals.com (and the state’s No. 23 overall prospect), and St. Louis (MO) to secure cornerback Zach Muniz, the No. 96 cornerback nationally, and No. 18 prospect in Missouri in the 247Sports.com rankings.
10 Key Misses
Winston-Salem (N.C.) defensive tackle Deshaywn Middleton (N.C. State), Monroe (N.C.) wide receiver Jaylan Barbour (Wake Forest), Jacksonville (N.C.) wide receiver Josh Cabrera (North Carolina), Elk Grove (Calif.) wide receiver Alex Van Dyke (UCLA), Murrieta (Calif.) linebacker Tyler Cook (BYU), Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) defensive back Al Harris, Jr. (South Carolina), Cypress (Tex.) running back Samuel Stewart (Rice), Hogansville (Ga.) defensive end Keshun Freeman (Georgia Tech), Charlotte (N.C.) tight end Jeb Blazevich (Georgia), Raleigh (N.C.) tight end Avery Edwards (North Carolina)
Duke Recruiting Storylines:
- Coach Cutcliffe has preferred to lock up most of its commitments sooner rather than later over the years, and the Blue Devils followed that trend once again with this recruiting class. Starting with the 2010-2011 class, in which Duke committed 18 out of its 20 total signees before it played its first game that season, the Blue Devils have had four consecutive signing classes in which at least two-thirds of the total class was committed by the end of August. In both the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 recruiting cycles---both 20-man classes for the Blue Devils---the coaches had 14 commitments by its first game. In this recruiting cycle Duke had 13 of its 17 total commitments locked up by the end of August, and 16 out of 17 by early October.
- As usual, Duke’s recruiting class is very much spread out, without any specific recruiting territory looming larger than others. Without any clear-cut recruiting advantage at home in North Carolina or any other state, Duke has been forced to recruit nationwide, and they’ve been successful at that. 2014 marks the sixth-straight signing class in which Duke has landed players from as many as eight different states. There are no more than three signees from any one state in this particular class for the Blue Devils, and there are four of those states (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia). And once again Duke make its presence felt in the Golden State, as Duke is adding two more Californians this class. The additions of Elk Grove (Calif). offensive lineman Kameron Schroeder and Newhall (Calif.) tight end Davis Koppenhaver make a total of ten California natives who Duke has signed since Cutcliffe arrived in Durham.
- After signing 27 players in the 2009 class---David Cutcliffe’s first full signing class at Duke---the Blue Devils have signed far fewer players over the last four classes. This will be the fifth-straight recruiting cycle that Duke falls short of a full class going back to 2010. This year the Blue Devils are particularly short, as this year’s 17 signees are the fewest for the program since the 2007-2008 recruiting cycle, which was split between Cutcliffe and Ted Roof and their respective staffs. 2014 marks the seventh time in eight recruiting cycles, going back to 2007, that the Blue Devils are at 21 or fewer signees. Duke’s relatively small signing classes in the Cutcliffe era can be attributed to a variety of positive factors, such as a low attrition compared to many of its ACC rivals, and the school’s high graduation rates for its football players.
- Due to its national recruiting strategy and a few other factors, Duke hasn’t been recruiting as successfully in the state of North Carolina in recent years, after Cutcliffe and company took the state by storm in his early years in Durham. Since the Blue Devils signed nine North Carolina natives back-to-back in the 2009 and 2010 classes for a total of 18 in-state additions those cycles---several of whom played key roles in the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship team---Duke has signed just 17 combined North Carolinians in its last four recruiting classes, including three in 2014. The Blue Devils signed five in-state players each in 2011 and 2012 and four in the 2013 cycle, which makes the 2014 in-state haul (Graham (N.C.) quarterback Johnathan Lloyd, Mocksville (N.C.) offensive lineman Tripp McNeill, and Charlotte running back Shaun Wilson) the smallest group numbers-wise to sign with Duke since Cutcliffe came to town.
A Closer Look At ...
Why They Chose Duke
Duke has an established and proven engineering program and that really got my attention. I'm wanting to major in electrical engineering and I just felt like I had the best fit as a student there, as well as the football. I just felt like Duke was the best fit.
I just felt like Duke is the right place for me. I will be able to play quarterback, and I'll also be able to play baseball while getting a great education. I am going to play both sports, and the baseball staff was just as happy as the football staff. Everyone at Duke on the staff are very real and very sincere when they talk with me. Playing quarterback is in my heart, and I'm very happy to have an opportunity to do so at Duke. Coach Cutcliffe is one of the best QB coaches around, and I'm really excited to be with him. For me, I'm really looking forward to competing and helping take the program to the next level. We're not going to be the Duke football program of old.
It's close to home, the educational institution is great and I'm a student before an athlete. And they're in the ACC so I'll be competing in one of the best conferences. And the program is going in the right direction. Coach (Re’quan) Boyette, the running backs coach, we have been talking and he just seems like a real good coach.
With Duke it's hard to beat the combination of athletics and academics. It's been personal for me because everyone down here in South Florida has been asking me 'Why Duke?'. I've heard 'Duke sucks, go somewhere else' as well. This season goes to show that you cannot underestimate any team. These wins have silenced all the Duke doubters and all the people who questioned my decision.