Former Duke quarterback starter Thomas Sirk is out and now all eyes are on redshirt sophomore Daniel Jones heading into the season for the Blue Devils.
Jones, coming off a season in which he threw for 2,836 yards and 16 touchdowns as a redshirt freshman, is looking to become the leader for a Blue Devils team that have several weapons surrounding him.
Becoming a leader is what Jones has focused on coming into the season.
“I've kind of focused on being the most experienced guy here" on the Duke team, Jones said in early March. "I'm trying to make sure I've got all my business handled here. ... I guess that's a true fact, but I haven't thought about it a whole lot."
Not only has he been looking to improve his leadership ability but he is looking to build off what was an impressive freshman campaign. Furthermore, it has been translating on the field early on during Spring Football.
All Things ACC spoke with Randal Kennedy from BlueDevil Digest about what they have seen on the field early on this year, as they too have seen it translate well during practice and for Jones to make a huge step this year as a full starter.
“Jones has looked sharp in practice,” Kennedy said. “He was just so-so in the spring game but that was mainly due to the defense. I expect to take a massive step forward on that side of the ball. But he's looked good enough that Thomas Sirk decided to play his final year elsewhere.”
But you could say that Jones already took huge steps into the right direction late in the season, in which he really put up some staggering numbers that had to give Duke fans hope for a bright future down the road.
In Jones’ final six games in ACC play, Jones threw for 1,381 yards, nine touchdowns and only one interception. Compare that to his the start of the year in which he threw eight interceptions and only six touchdowns. The Duke staff hopes to continue what they saw late in the season, especially taking care of the ball says Kennedy.
“If you look at his numbers over the second half of last season, he was absolutely phenomenal... and I suspect that will continue,” Kennedy said. “Cutcliffe preaches turnovers and Jones threw just one pick in his final seven games. I would imagine his focus has been on taking care of the football and becoming a team leader through his first spring as a starter and Cutcliffe has been pleased so far.”
With a year of question marks for several programs surrounding the quarterback position, Duke seems to be in fantastic shape this coming season, as Jones looks to take his game to even another level in his second year of action.