Duke Was First For Big Time OL

The in-state recruiting efforts have continued to be a priority for the Duke coaching staff and one of North Carolina's top offensive linemen has a Blue Devil offer among several others.

"Right now my offers are all verbal offers," said Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic High offensive lineman Mark Harrell. "They are from Notre Dame, Michigan, Auburn, Stanford, UNC, Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Wake Forest, NC state,Clemson, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt."

With so many early options the 6-foot-5, 260 pound offensive tackle says he's not really looking to narrow a list, and he's going to approach this process with a "wait and see" perspective.

"At this point I am open to any school that would like to recruit me, and there are no specific schools I'm looking to hear from. So far a number of schools have been in good contact. Most of the schools that have offered such as Clemson, Duke, UNC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Virginia, NC State, and Auburn have really been active with me."

Regarding Duke, the Blue Devils have worked hard in the Queen City area over the last few classes and have landed several key recruits from Charlotte. This season they are looking for more of the same. And that starts with Harrell.

"Duke made a scholarship offer to me last fall and we have been in contact a lot since then. My recruiting coach is Coach Lubick, and he's always reminding me that they were the first to offer and find me. Since the offer I have visited Duke and they have a great reputation of academics. They also have very nice facilities and are building even more."

One thing the Blue Devil program will need to overcome with most every prospect that sports a strong offer sheet is the perception that the team isn't on the same level as the other potential suitors. For Harrell, that notion doesn't carry much weight for a specific reason.

"With Coach Cutcliffe, he's a great coach and has coached a number of great players, so I think with him the program is really moving in the right direction."

With a the summer camp circuit right around the corner, Harrell says he's not formulating a list of favorites at this point, and he's looking forward to getting on campus at a number of locations to showcase his talent and learn more about the various schools.

"Camps, for me, are to compete and become a better player. I am really wanting to improve on my pass blocking skills and to compete with the other players. As far as camps and recruiting go, I am just going to sit back and take everything in. I am enjoying all the offers and opening the door for anyone to come in. Hopefully I will be able to narrow it down to a top five in a month or two. I could make a decision in the late summer or early fall."

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