To find news about Duke Football on rivals.com, it usually takes a few clicks to navigate to the school’s individual page. And then, you usually have to convince the website that, no, you’re not here for basketball news. And then, buried deep in the website where good news has rarely been found in the past several years, you find the stories on Duke Football.
Well, no longer.
Look! There, on the very front page of rivals.com, amongst the top stories from around the country, reads the headline, ‘Duke has pretty good week.’
Okay, perhaps this is a non-story for premier programs like the Ohio States, USC’s and LSU’s of the world, but for the Blue Devils? Hell, I’m sure they’ll take it.
But that’s not all. They’re even featured in a USA Today recruiting blog, “Michigan State, Duke surprise in football recruiting.”
Inside rivals.com, Jamie Newberg, one of the website’s leading analysts for football recruiting, enumerates some of the reasons for Duke’s superb summer. He credits Cutcliffe and his new staff for working well as a unit and picking up where former head coach Ted Roof left off. (Newberg points out Roof was a good recruiter in his own right). But he also says that perhaps the Blue Devils’ best recruiters recently aren’t on the payroll. In fact, they haven’t even enrolled yet.
The biggest factor in the success of the last seven days could be the recruits themselves. Quarterback Sean Schroeder (Dana Point, Calif.) and tight end Ryan Hall (Orlando, Fla.) are both headed to Duke, and they have been very active in recruiting other players. Their message has been simple: Have an open mind.
Three-star gunslinger Schroeder and three-star TE Hall committed in June and April, respectively. Since then, they’ve been singing Duke’s praises.
“I have tried to talk to all the Duke recruits, whether they have committed or not,” Hall said. “I just try to encourage them all to give Duke a chance. I don’t think kids and people out there realize just how big-time this staff is. People get caught up in the past and don’t give them a second chance. I tell them to give us a chance and to just go check Duke out and meet those coaches. That’s the best staff in the country, and that’s the honest truth. If you don’t believe me check it out for yourself.”
With the addition of two-star athlete Anthony Young-Wiseman on Thursday and unranked lineman John Coleman early Friday, the Blue Devils have received 21 verbal commitments thus far. Fourteen of those came in the last eight days, and an unprecedented nine are in-state.
The maximum number of recruits a program can sign in any given year is 25. Duke seems destined to top out, but before the season even begins? Maybe then rivals.com could muster up a more energetic and dramatic headline for these Blue Devils, huh?
–by Matthew Iles