Five-star recruit Ryan Kelly, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Raleigh, gave a verbal commitment to play for Duke next year in a televised press conference Thursday afternoon. The announcement aired on ESPNU.
Three months ago, Kelly was barely being recruited by Duke, and most thought he would decide between Notre Dame and North Carolina. Before the Olympics, however, Kelly and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski met and formed a relationship that will culminate in Thursday’s announcement.
Kelly, scout.com’s No. 3 power forward in the Class of 2009, scored a 2150 on his SAT and made academics a priority in his search. He took official visits to Vanderbilt, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Wake Forest and visited North Carolina and Duke numerous times over the course of the recruiting process.
The North Carolina native joins fellow Tar Heel Mason Plumlee in Duke’s next incoming class. The Blue Devils are still heavily recruiting five-star shooting guard Kenny Boynton. More analysis to come, particularly after the official announcement.
One question to start, though: How much has Coach K’s gold medal already had an impact on recruiting?
—by Ben Cohen
With Duke’s 2-1 start to the season getting the attention of virtually everyone in the Durham and ACC community, it’s no wonder some of that momentum has also spilled over into the program’s recruiting efforts.
Three-star cornerback and former North Carolina commit Taylor Sowell announced Sunday his intentions of becoming a Blue Devil next year. The 6-foot, 174-pound South Carolina native runs a 4.45 40-yard dash and is ranked No. 53 at his position by scout.com.
“I visited for the Navy game and am sure that’s where I want to be,” Sowell told scout.com. “[Secondary] coach [Derek] Jones and I started talking after I decided not to go to UNC. He really made it clear how much Duke wanted me to come in, and once I visited, I was comfortable with being a Blue Devil.”
Sowell’s commitment makes him the fifth cornerback of the 2009 class, along with three-stars Zach Greene and Russ Cockrell and two-stars Lex Butler and Kadeem Wise. Head coach David Cutcliffe’s team total is now up to 23, two shy of the maximum allowable number of recruits in a given year.
Stay tuned for more recruiting news as it rolls in.
–by Matthew Iles
Class of 2010 recruits Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton visited Duke over the weekend, and both left having committed to Mike Krzyzewski and his program. Hairston, a four-star and scout.com’s 26th-best player in his class, is a 6-foot-8, 195-pound power forward. His D.C. Assault teammate Thornton, another four-star and the 49th-best 2010 prospect, is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard.
Hairston and Thornton join five-star shooting guard Andre Dawkins in the Blue Devils’ Class of 2010. Duke’s lone 2009 commit is Mason Plumlee, and the Blue Devils are actively chasing five-stars Kenny Boynton and Ryan Kelly. Five-star 2010 point guard Brandon Knight, a summer teammate of Boynton, also has Duke high on his list.
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.”
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
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
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.