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.
Here is the list of the seven recruits that verbally committed to Duke since Monday.
- Justin Foxx, Three-Star DE — The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Charlotte native runs a 4.6 40-yard dash and sports an impressive 3.5 GPA. He’s ranked the No. 19 weakside DE in the country by rivals.com, and chose Duke over the likes of N.C. State, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
- Connor Vernon, Three-Star WR — Attracted by Duke’s academics and new coaching staff, Vernon is tall, lanky and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash. He averaged nearly 17 yards per catch and found the end zone five times last season. Turned down offers from Ole Miss and Wake Forest, to name a few.
- Zach Greene, Two-Star ATH — A cornerback for Leesville Road HS in Raleigh, Greene surprised a lot of people by choosing Duke over, among other schools, N.C. State. The son of an alumnus and a long-time self-proclaimed Wolfpack fan, Greene told reporters Monday night that he always knew his decision couldn’t be based on emotions. Instead, like many others so far this offseason, he chose Duke for its academics and the high-profile coaching staff.
- Brandon Putnam, Three-Star DE — Putnam had promised to commit to Duke before his senior season at Tyron HS in Georgia, and he made good on his word Tuesday. “I wanted to be part of a team with the best coaching staff in football,” Putnam told rivals.com. “Coach Cutcliffe apparently had a lot of the coaches around him because he just yelled out that ‘we just got better’.”
- Kadeem Wise, Two-Star DB — Another Georgia native, Wise adds yet another set of quick legs to Duke’s future defensive backfield. Although slight at just 5-foot-7, 170 pounds, he clocks a speedy 4.5 40-yard dash that should prove helpful down the road. Wise had also drawn the interest of Indiana, Miami, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.
- Sydney Sarmiento, Two-Star DE — Several coaches around the country might be stomping their feet in frustration in a few years when Sarmiento busts onto the scene. Tabbed just recently as a recruit flying under the radar, Duke was smart enough to be one of the first school to stuff his mailbox way back when. He mentioned, however, that even if other more prominent programs had eventually offered him a scholarship, he probably still would have picked Duke because of its academics. He also told rivals.com, “The coaches said I’d probably get some playing time as a freshman, but then again I might not.”
- August Campbell, Two-Star LB — Although Campbell has only played organized football for two years, this Bahamian native’s athletic prowess and seemingly unlimited potential were enough for Duke to want to extend him offer. He combines scary speed (4.5 40-yard dash) and intimidating strength (340-pound squat), which should make the coaching staff’s job of molding him into a complete player much easier.
In total, Duke has now landed two four-stars, six three-stars, nine two-stars and one player not ranked, according to rivals.com. For a comparison, the 2008 class had 17 players, but no four-stars. It was comprised of 7 three-stars and 10 two-stars. In fact, since 2002, Duke has nabbed only three four-star players: TE Ben Patrick (2002), DE Vince Oghobasse (2005) and FB Brandon King (2006).
It will be interesting to see how Duke’s recruiting efforts continue into the season, considering all these players haven’t even begun their senior campaign yet. Hopefully, though, the Blue Devils can count on more of the same all the way up to National Signing Day in February.
–by Matthew Iles