Signing Day: Duke – Devils focused on N.C. players
DURHAM ó David Cutcliffe’s first full recruiting class at Duke is heavy on players from North Carolina.
The Blue Devils announced their signees Wednesday, and one-third of their 27 incoming players are either from North Carolina or played high school football in the state. That’s nearly as many as the 13 from the state they had on the entire roster last season.
“We’re going to recruit North Carolina very hard, and North Carolina is very worthy of being recruited,” the second-year coach said.
The attention to local players is a drastic departure from recent years, when former coach Ted Roof.
Although Scout.com ranked Duke’s class just 51st nationally and 10th in the ACC ó ahead of only Wake Forest and Boston College ó one of the Web site’s regional recruiting experts came away impressed by Cutcliffe’s blueprint.
“Whether it be North Carolina or even reaching down to South Carolina, picking up a couple of guys, I love what they’ve done,” said Miller Safrit, the regional recruiting analyst for Scout.com.
“Sometimes (out-of-state players) are not sure what they’re getting with that scholarship from Duke. They know about the basketball team, they know about the academics … but guys who are local understand what Duke is about.”
Cutcliffe didn’t have to look far to find the jewel of the class. Four-star running back Desmond Scott of Durham made a nonbinding verbal commitment to the Blue Devils last summer, choosing Duke instead of Rutgers. That keyed a run in which eight players wound up picking Duke in a 10-day span. Scott became just the third four-star player to sign with Duke since 2006.
Not all of Cutcliffe’s signees are local. For the second year in a row, he went west to find a quarterback.
The mentor to NFL stars Peyton and Eli Manning signed California native Sean Schroeder, one of 10 three-star recruits in the Blue Devils’ class. He joins Sean Renfree, a four-star prep player from Arizona who redshirted last season, as possible replacements for Thaddeus Lewis, who is preparing for his fourth season as Duke’s starter.
Another significant signee is Walt Canty, a defensive back from Roebuck, S.C., who was the defensive MVP of the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.