A very happy David Cutcliffe did his best to imitate the excitement and unpredictability of national signing day by bringing out the helmets of several different programs and pretending to choose.
David Cutcliffe pulls out one of several helmets as he re-enacted a typical signing day decision.
It was no real surprise that Cutcliffe chose the Blue Devils helmet over Cincinnati, Stanford and Virginia in what was appropriately symbolic of the lack of surprises surrounding Duke’s new 2013 recruiting class of 20.
The Blue Devils head coach addressed a number of targets. The recruiting class addressed areas of needs especially in the secondary that was razor thin last year thanks to injury.
“The class I like a lot. We addressed some needs. There’s four lineman. There’s a linebacker. The rest of the guys are speed skilled athletes,” Cutcliffe said. “I’d call this class a class of play makers.”
Several players he said could get the chance to earn playing time this year including several recruited to play in the defensive backfield including Evrett Edwards, Quay Mann.
“It frightens some coaches it doesn’t frighten me,” Cutcliffe said of the chance of having a freshman play in the defensive backfield. “Corners its not mentally as hard as you might think it is. It takes boldness and it take focus. I think we have some candidates that can get some playing time.”
The class features two quarterbacks, four lineman and 14 who are listed as backs. Cutcliffe said that a number of players could end up playing multiple positions by the time their Duke careers are over but at this point he wasn’t ready to make any announcements with regard to position changes.
Duke has had a bit of an unusual offseason. The Blue Devils played in their first bowl in 18 years and due to some changes in the coaching staff, Cutcliffe opted to move back spring practice to allow his coaches to plan an adjust.
Cutcliffe said that he was anticipating a lot of new things this year and hinted that with a new quarterback there will be some changes made to the offensive scheme they have been running with Sean Renfree. Junior Anthony Boone is expected to compete with redshirt freshman Thomas Sirk for snaps.
Overall Cutcliffe was pleased with the talent added to his team with this class and said he felt that his coaches and staff had done a great job at identifying talent.
“We do a great job of working hard and identifying great prospects for people all over the country. As they have to do is commit to Duke and everybody starts recruiting them,” Cutcliffe said.
He added that he didn’t look too much at the Star System used to rate players instead preferring to use their own judgment when it came to player evaluations.
“I trust my own eyes. I trust we see in camp. I trust what I feel about the people when we are in meetings in my office,” Cutcliffe said. “So I guess we’ve probably made a living recruiting four and five start players that we think are four and five star players that somebody else may think are two and three star players. So far we’ve been right most of the time.”
There weren’t any surprises and Cutcliffe said he wasn’t worried about anyone making any last minute changes despite the fact that the Blue Devils lost their recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, Matt Lubick, last month, and associate head coach Ron Middleton this week.
“I don’t believe there was any circumstance at all where Matt leaving would have caused us to lose a guy,” Cutcliffe said. “And if I had them call Matt, Matt would have told them to go to Duke I don’t think it I know it. ”
Cutcliffe said he didn’t anticipate the two coaching openings to cause any issues with spring practice and said he is already receiving numerous calls and inquiries into the openings.
“There is enormous amount of interest that is out there. I have interest in people; I’m not one to hire people I don’t know,” Cutcliffe said. “We have lost people and each time we’ve tried to maybe trade differently but never trade down. I’m not going to hire somebody to hire somebody.”
You can see the complete list of Duke signees for the 2013 class here.
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