Monthly Archives: July 2008

Duke Recruiting Budget 9th In Div. I-A, 4th In Growth

The Chronicle of Higher Education posted this report today, dated for its August issue, which highlights the skyrocketing costs incurred by athletic departments across the country to attract the nation’s top talent. The article, entitled “Have Money, Will Travel: the Quest for Top Athletes” cites that Duke’s recruiting budget of $1,245,300 has grown a staggering 229% since 1997, which is the fourth highest jump in spending among the 65 BCS schools over that time frame. In case you’re interested, Tennessee has the largest annual recruiting budget, spending $2,005,700, and the University of Maryland has had the highest spending jump over the past 10 years, increasing its budget by 277%. The ACC ranked third among the BCS conferences in spending, with the SEC blazing the money…er…recruiting trail.

—by Meredith Shiner

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Filed under Department of Athletics, Recruiting, Uncategorized

Blue Devils Secure 19th Recruit, 8th in 48 Hours

Ross Cockrell helped keep Duke’s incredible recruiting week on track when he announced his verbal commitment Wednesday night. The Charlotte native is a three-star defensive back, bringing the total number of in-state recruits to nine, one more than the last four years combined. Cockrell also held offers from Virginia and Liberty, and had been drawing interest from Michigan and Illinois.

So far, the 2009 class consists of eight offensive players, nine defensive players and a generically listed athlete. Cutcliffe, however, has been known to disregard distinctions such as these in the past. The only specific positions he ever recognizes in his recruiting classes are quarterback, placekicker and punter. Other than that, he splits the players into skill and line positions, leaving him plenty of leeway for where to place his new players.

Whatever he chooses to do, there’s no denying it should be something special. Six months away from National Signing Day, Cutcliffe still has plenty of time to make this already great recruiting class even better.

–by Matthew Iles

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Filed under Football, Recruiting

Media Guides Imitate Life

Aaron McFarling of The Roanoke Times has a light column up, ranking ACC teams’ media guides and using the appearance of the yearbooks to foreshadow that team’s season (Duke’s 2008 media guide isn’t online yet). His take:

A “D” in the middle and “2008 DUKE FOOTBALL” in small print on the bottom. That’s it. Oh, wait. There’s also a faint, bespectacled face on the left side.

Analysis: This is how you usher in a new era? With Cutcliffe the Friendly Ghost? Unreal. Freshly hired coach David Cutcliffe — highly respected by his peers and the SEC coach of the year just five seasons ago — ought to be splashed all over. Your logo isn’t that cool, Duke. And Lord knows this team needs all the hope it can get.

McFarling’s prognosis for Duke? Not one David Cutcliffe would be happy with: 0-12.

Ouch.

–by Ben Cohen

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The Commits Just Keep on Comin’

Tuesday was a major day for new head coach David Cutcliffe and his Blue Devils. Including a commitment coming in late Monday night, Duke secured a total of seven new recruits for its 2009 class in the course of 24 hours. The Blue Devils landed three defensive ends, two defensive backs, a linebacker and a wide receiver. The flurry of action brought Duke’s total number of 2009 verbal commitments to 18, one more than last year’s class. Perhaps more impressively, eight of the recruits are in-state, as many as Duke nabbed in the last four seasons combined.

With the dust settled after a wild day, keep reading to get more detailed information about newest members of the Duke Football family.

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Blue Devils To Close 2008 With Loyola

Another scheduling note from another school, as Duke prepares to announce its own official schedule in the middle of August: Loyola (Maryland) will travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a date with the Blue Devils Jan. 31 at 4 p.m. on espn2, two days after the Greyhounds play N.C. State in Raleigh. Loyola, which played Kansas in Phog Allen Field House last year, is coming off of a 19-14 season and first-round exit in the MAAC tournament.

OTHER NON-CONFERENCE GAMES: Xavier at the Meadowlands, Georgetown and Davidson in Cameron, Coaches vs. Cancer in Madison Square Garden, Duquesne at Cameron Nov. 28 and Purdue in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. Duke will also continue its series with St. John’s.

–by Ben Cohen

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Filed under Men's Basketball, Scheduling

How Cutcliffe Builds A Program

Which Duke-related topic will inspire more stories in the next month: How Mike Krzyzewski can win the Olympics by turning the Americans into an actual team, or how David Cutcliffe is turning his own program from a hopeless cause into a competitive force? We’re not going to link to all of the stories about the former–really, what more can you say?–and the latter will be abundant, with the same basic theme and different sound bytes, especially if the Blue Devils win their opener against James Madison Aug. 30. But in an interview with a University publication, of all outlets, Cutcliffe offered a morsel that proved too delectable for us to pass up.

Cutcliffe is billed as a quarterback guru, but it doesn’t take a genius of any sort (let alone coaching) to understand the basic principles of inheriting a bad program.

1. Knock the team down. To do this, you not only tell the team how disappointed you are and how losing will not be tolerated, but you tell anyone who will listen, including, of course, the media. In Cutcliffe’s case, he told numerous outlets that Duke was the worst conditioned team he had seen in 32 years. People will listen to that.

2. Slowly increase players’ confidence. Cutcliffe never insulted the virtues or heart of his players, knowing he would be extolling them later. Then slowly, starting in the spring, players began to buy into his schemes and the press listened again. (Earning testimonials from the Mannings doesn’t hurt, either.)

3. And now comes the last part of the plan: Tell everyone how good the team can be, which is exactly what he said to This Month at Duke:

Q: There’s not an ounce of doubt that you’re going to turn this into a winning program?

A: I have no doubt. Whatsoever. None. This is a staff with unbelievable ability. … (And) you’ve got to remember that we’ve got a lot of guys on our team that have played a lot of football. They haven’t won much football … but there is absolutely a different mindset on this football team right now than there was when we came in, in January.

Pretty powerful stuff. Now, the players start thinking they can win–a sense of confidence that will grow exponentially if they actually do, you know, win. And everyone knows the media (and, at that, students) will drink the Kool-Aid: no one enjoys a good Cinderella story more.

–by Ben Cohen

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Cutcliffe Lands Another Big-Time Recruit

A four-star recruit and fourth-best all-purpose back in the country according to Rivals.com, Desmond Scott had the option to play for just about any school he wanted to. A Durham Hillside product, he had committed to play for Greg Schiano and Rutgers, but all along he had one nagging concern in the back of his head.

He didn’t want to be far from home.

Thanks to David Cutcliffe, who has injected optimism and expectation into a program formerly hapless and lost, Duke finally asserted itself as a school worthy of Scott’s talents.

And that’s starting to become more of a general statement for high-profile recruits nationwide as Duke continues to reel in quality players for its 2009 class.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound running back de-committed from Rutgers this afternoon, then quickly called down the road to Cutcliffe’s office and gave him the good news.

“”They were ecstatic. I called [wide receivers] Coach [Scottie] Montgomery and Coach Cutcliffe, and they were very excited about what we’re going to do at Duke,” Scott told Rivals.com.

Scott’s talent is evident in just a few short seconds of his highlight film. He quickly gets to top speed—a 4.7-second 40-yard dash—and always keeps his legs churning after the first hit. Scott is also exceptional at catching the ball out of the backfield, which will fit well into Cutcliffe’s versatile and dangerous passing offense.

Already, he’s voiced his expectations for the future, which are encouragingly similar to some of the other 2009 commitments’ comments earlier this summer.

“I truly feel like we are going to turn this thing around at Duke,” he told Rivals.com. “Coach Cutcliffe is doing everything that has to be done, and we are an upcoming program. Why would I not want to be part of the group that turns this program around? I’m excited to help grow this program and recruit players to Duke to turn the Duke name around in football. We won’t just be known for basketball, but football, too.”

–by Matthew Iles

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