Blue Devils Hosting A Big Recruiting Weekend

This Friday the Blue Devil coaching staff will welcome a number of prospects to Durham as part of the program's final big recruiting weekend. Here's a rundown of the next few days.

In all Duke will host nine players beginning on Friday afternoon with a scheduled dinner followed by tours and meetings throughout the weekend. Of those nine, five have verbally committed.

Running down the commits coming to town:

Three star defensive end Allen Jackson (6'4, 235) will be hosted by another former three star DE prospect, Kenny Anunike. Jackson, who was recruited by Coach Zac Roper, chose Duke in March of 2011 over over offers from West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, and Maryland.

Duke was Jackson's first offer, and that loyalty and early relationship ended up paying off.

"I actually talked to Coach Roper a lot and he said it would be good for me to hear what Coach Cutcliffe had to say directly. So I visited for their junior day and had a chance to talk with Coach Cut. I was excited to have a chance to speak with him and listen to his pitch and vision for me."

Two offensive linemen will also be joining the crowd this weekend in the form of 6'4, 265 pound Charlotte product Casey Blaser and 6'6, 250 pound Texan Tanner Stone. Blaser will be hosted by lineman Carson Ginn, while Stone will be hosted by Lucas Patrick.

Stone, recruited by Kurt Roper, is considered a two star prospect by Scout.com and the nation's No. 126th offensive guard. He chose Duke over an offer from Tulsa. The Duke offer came after attending a Duke prospect camp during the summer.

"Honestly with a school like Duke it's the perfect combination of academics and athletics. They have done a lot to improve the football program and things are about to happen in a big way."

Blaser, recruited by Coach Matt Lubick, chose Duke in June after camping in Durham as well. He chose the Blue Devils over offers from Ball State, East Carolina, and Marshall. Blaser is considered the nation' No. 128 offensive tackle by Scout.com

Cornerback Devon Edwards, one of the class' best sleeper prospects, and perhaps the top overall athlete, will make the trip from Georgia and will room with former Peach State standout Juwan Thompson.

Edwards, recruited by coach Rick Petri, had a huge senior season that saw him register over 1,900 all-purpose yards, 15 touchdowns and two interceptions, Edwards' recruitment began to pick up during his final year of high school football, culminating in his first scholarship offer from Duke in late November.

"They came and talked to me last year in the spring and said they wanted to see my senior film because I got hurt my junior year and couldn't play," Edwards said of the Duke coaches. "I went up the day after the Georgia Tech game and met with the coaches and then they offered me when they played UNC. I called back and committed a couple hours later."

Edwards says that there are many things to like about the Duke program, which made it easy for him to make his decision so quickly.

"I knew it was the right place for me after my visit and meeting all of the coaches and seeing how there character was. They actually care about there players. Also, seeing the graduation rate and what I can do with a degree at Duke. It is an up and coming program. We turned around my high school program and I think we can do the same thing at Duke."

The final commit making the trek to Durham is the most highly rated. Raleigh's Dan Beilinson, the nation' No. 29 tight end, will top off his Shrine Bowl appearance by making the trip down I-40 to be hosted by lineman David Harding.

Recruited by coach Ron Middleton, Beilinson chose Duke over a number of offers including North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Since that time the 6'5, 230 pounder has been recruited by several programs, but has politely rebuffed all interest.

"I am still 100 percent committed to Duke and nothing has changed," Beilinson told Scout.com at the Shrine Bowl. "If I am good enough for the NFL after I get done there, then that is great, but if I am not, I will have a great education. I like the staff and I like what the school has to offer."

In addition to the commits making their visits, the Blue Devils will also host four prospects who will get a full sales pitch on why they should become the final pieces from the class of 2012.

The top prospect on the board is Charlotte, NC running back Jela Duncan who will be hosted by fellow Charlotte native Jamison Crowder.

At 5'10 and 190 pounds, Duncan is a powerful runner who has long been recruited by Coach Lubick. For a while Duke was Duncan's announced leader, but as the fall wore on, the Charlotte native backed away from that declaration and has listed to a number of other schools.

With more than a dozen offers, Duncan is reportedly focusing on Duke, North Carolina, Purdue, East Carolina, and Pittsburgh. However, he publicly insists he "doesn't have a leader" at this time.

Another in-state prospect is also getting priority treatment on the board as 6'3, 210 pound Leland (N.C.) standout Keilin Rayner comes calling. Recruited by Jim Collins, Rayner is considered the nation's No. 36 middle linebacker prospect - a decided position of need in Durham.

"I'm considering North Carolina, Duke, ECU, and Ohio State," Rayner said. "They're pretty much my final four schools. Pretty much, I like how all of them are close to home, other than Ohio State. The guys I've met that are going there I get along with. And they are all good opportunities."

Previously Rayner considered North Carolina his leader, but has since backed off that declaration. He will be hosted by Lex Butler.

Former Arizona State commit Michael Mann will also be in town from Colorado. The 6'5, 220 pound defensive end, posted 3.5 sacks and two interceptions for Valor Christian High School while playing alongside Duke commit Max McCaffrey. Mann is being recruited by Coach Lubick and has offers from Air Force, Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado State, Duke, and Iowa among others.

He is considered a two star prospect and the nation's No. 159 defensive end and will be hosted by Lucas Fisher.

North Carolina commit Damien Washington is also expected to make the trip to Durham. The 6', 185 pound athlete from Kanapolis, NC chose the Tar Heels in August before the Butch Davis scandal rocked Chapel Hill. Since that time he's maintained his verbal commitment, but has had steady contact with the Blue Devil coaching staff.

Primarily recruited by coach Jim Collins, Washington is being recruited as a receiver by Duke.

As a senior for Brown High he totaled 18 total touchdowns, plus 1,091 yards on 88 rushes (12.4-yard average), 294 yards on 16 catches (18.4-yard average), and 58 yards on two passes. Those numbers would have been even more impressive if not for a knee injury, which required surgery and sidelined Washington for four games.

Washington will be hosted by Justin Foxx.


The Devils Den Top Stories