Blue Devils' 2014 Class On Par With Recent Years
By Jason Bailey
Duke University hauled in a promising class of 18 student athletes on National Signing Day. The Blue Devils beefed up their roster with a swell of 14 three-star recruits and two two-star athletes.
Will this year's crop of prospects fortify the ACC's defending Coastal Division champions? Don't charter a flight to the casinos in Las Vegas and bank last year's Christmas pension — if there's anything left of it — based on this class of Blue Devils, which doesn't exactly mirror the formidable class Alabama accrued.
Nonetheless, Duke's 2014 class does reinforce their roster. The Blue Devils addressed a pressing need in the interior when they signed five promising offensive linemen on NSD.
"You guys saw what our offensive line did [last year] as we matured," Duke head coach David Cutliffe told reporters. "We've got some good young ones, but you can't ever fall short there. You can't play football in a good league because you're going to face defensive linemen that are being groomed for NFL-caliber play."
Duke's football program has never merited national recognition. The university is hailed for its imposing and prominent basketball program that has dazzled national audiences withunparalleled consistency. But this year's signature recruiit, four-star flanker Travon Lee, will help as the football team attempts to build a tradition of its own.
The four-star Cardinal Gibbons High School product has been noted by scouts for his exceptional speed, route-running mechanics and quick feet that were "good enough to overwhelm most opponents at the prep level," per FOX Sports.
"But he won't be a burner in college," Mike Morrill, Lee's high school head coach has advised scouts. "He'll likely have a chance to separate himself in the nuances of his position."
The Blue Devils are also charged with the incoming presence of two players they recruited from Florida in signal-caller Nico Pierre and receiver Chris Taylor.
According to the Charlotte Observer, "Pierre will likely redshirt if all goes well but should take snaps for Duke in a few years. Taylor, Cutliffe specifically mentioned, is a special talent paralleled with Lee."
The Blue Devils' most underrated recruit could be Zavier Carmichael. Per the Charlotte Observer, "ESPN cites the four-star prospect with excellent instincts and a punishing defensive approach with the potential to be a linebacker-safety hybrid in the mold of Jeremy Cash. He is a budding defensive assailant who could assume charge of the team's defensive unit immediately."
Duke's 10-2 Cinderella campaign and appearance in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship Game was unique, unforcasted and most likely something their fans won't enjoy again. But the signing of 14 three-star players is something that can't be overlooked. After all, the Blue Devils pounded their way to 10 wins powered by a well-coached, disciplined posse of mostly three-star players.
Per Rivals.com, this class ranks 58th nationally and ties Wake Forest for last in the ACC, similar to last year's group. But Cutliffe believes that his staff can coach them into impact players.