Aggregate Recruiting Review

On December 14th, 2007 Duke hired David Cutcliffe to become the new head coach in Durham. Immediately the former Tennessee assistant hit the recruiting trail and finished up the class of 2008. Now, as we look back on the class of 2012, it's time to look back at the aggregate recruiting effort in these four classes.

Below we outline the commitments and depth chart as formed by the current coaching staff. It is important to note that Cutcliffe is credited with the players who committed after December 14, 2007.

Notes: After two seasons of Thaddeus Lewis, Duke turned the ball over to Renfree who has produced mixed results as the seasons have progressed. Renfree has at times been pressured into making some bad decisions, but given the pressure he's faced on a weekly basis, he's also made a number of big time plays and has won eight games through his first two full starting seasons. Connette was injured last season and has proven to be quite a weapon when Duke is looking to run some variations of the options and in goal line situations. When Connette went down, Anthony Boone stepped up and has a firm grasp on the No. 2 spot heading into Spring practice. Sirk is a player who will redshirt this season, but is expected to challenge for the starting gig early on in his career. Word around the program is that the Floridian is the most physically gifted athlete of the five rostered QBs.

By The Numbers: Five players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.80 out of 5.0.

Running Back:
Notes: Despite being known as a pass first offense, Duke's biggest recruiting successes by position may have come at the running back position. Desmond Scott has been the team's top back and continues to be the No.1 heading into Spring Practice, while Juwan Thompson made big strides in his second season in Durham, leading the team in rushing for the 2011 season after Scott missed three games. Snead is expected to transition into a Percy Harvin role in Durham and is a dangerous return man as well. Add in the 2012 class of Duncan and Powell and Duke has quite an extensive list of ACC caliber runners. Duncan not only represents a highly rated runner, but also the ability for Duke to go the distance and win a big time recruiting battle in-state for one of North Carolina's top overall players.

By The Numbers: Five players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 3.3 out of 5.0.

Wide Receivers:
Notes: Vernon is on pace to set all-time records at Duke this year and has clearly pointed out that rankings don't always tell the entire stories. Brandon Braxton played in 12 games in 2011 as did Braxton Deaver. Blair Holliday saw 10 games this past season. Issac Blakeney has moved over to linebacker while Tony Foster has moved to cornerback. Kyle Griswould isn't in the program. Coach Cutcliffe was extremely high on Anthony Nash and Max McCaffrey in his Signing Day press conference. Both are big receivers and both are fast, especially Nash who ran a pair of 4.3 forties at summer camps this summer.

By The Numbers: 12 players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.3 out of 5.0.

Tight Ends:
Notes: Helfet was a junior college transfer who produced in a big way in the passing game a senior a season ago. David Reeves was a big get on last year's Signing Day. Jackson Anderson has made the transition into the role of long snapper. Ryan Hall and Jack Farrell will be battling for time as the two deep forms next month. The new crop of prospects, Erich Schneider and Dan Beilinson both come into Duke with size (6'7 and 6'5) and strength. Both are expected to redshirt, though both are likely to challenge Reeves in a year or so. Sink has moved over to defensive end where he finished 2011 as the No. 2 RDE.

By The Numbers: Eight players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.4 out of 5.0.

Offensive Line:
Notes: Perry Simmons has been a factor on the two deep for a while and was one of the first in-state/local kids Duke jumped on. Tomlinson and Simmons are expected to be the starting right side of the offensive line in 2012. Takoby Cofield has become the team's starting left tackle alongside David Harding while Conor Irwin started the final game of the season against North Carolina at Center. Lucas Patrick will be the top backup interior lineman beginning in Spring practice along with John Coleman. Matt Skura is expected to work his way into the No. 2 center spot. In 2012 the Blue Devils get a pair of players in Blaser and Stone who Cutcliffe describes as tough, quick, and physical though both will need a year or so in the weight room. Overall a unit of weakness has turned into a reliable set of players who can protect the passer and are improving with the run.

By The Numbers: 13 players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.5 out of 5.0.

Defensive Tackle:
Notes: Though several high school defensive ends have moved to the interior of the line, this may very well be Duke's greatest position of weakness over the first four classes. Much of that has to do with the recruitment and subsequent dismissal of Drew, who played as a true freshman and was considered the heir apparent to former five star tackle Vince Oghobaase. However, Drew's off the field conduct resulted in his dismissal from the program, leaving a gaping hole that needed to be filled on the interior of the line. Last minute additions Will Bryant and Steven Ingram have yet to break the two-deep, losing ground to classmate Jamal Bruce who now enters his third year. Bruce is tenacious, but measures out at just 6'1 and 280 pounds. Marshall pushed over to defensive end where his 6'7 frame and long arms can give opponents trouble. Fisher, listed at 245 pounds, still has some weight to add.

Cutcliffe has said on more than one occasion the easiest way to turn a program or team around is with the addition of impact players at defensive tackle. Drew was thought to be one of those pieces.

By The Numbers: Six players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.3 out of 5.0.

Defensive End:
Notes: Dezmond Johnson and Jamal Wallace finished 2011 as the team's starting defensive ends while Sarmiento added mass and ended up taking over as the team's starting defensive tackle - each appeared in all 12 games last year. Justin Foxx played in 11 games last year and placed third on the team with 4.5 tackles for loss. In the class of 2012 Duke brings in Wray who may well spend the entirety of his career on the interior of the defensive line. In addition Duke welcomes Wolf, Mann, and Jackson all of whom have speed enough to produce pressure from the outside of the line. Mann could end up as a linebacker depending on the depth charts.

By The Numbers: 11 players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.2 out of 5.0.

Notes: Mackey is no longer with the program. Gamble and Helton were the starting inside linebackers at the end of the year as Brown battled injuries. Brown had one of the best true-freshmen seasons and is expected to be an anchor in the second line of defense for the rest of his career. Rojas has seen time while Glover is also no longer with the program. Duke moved Ondijo to defensive end and France saw action in 11 games in 2011, posting 23 tackles. Rayner may very well be Duke's top linebacker commit of Cutcliffe's career - which is saying something when you factor in Kelby Brown.

By The Numbers: 13 players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.4 out of 5.0.

Notes: Johnny Williams spent time as a received before moving back to cornerback. Meanwhile Jamison Crowder has moved over to the slot receiver role and is expected to become one of Duke's top big play threats in 2012. Crowder has also factored in on the return teams. The same career path is expected from Devon Edwards who averaged a staggering 41 yards per return in high school. Ross Cockrell has become a starting cornerback while Lee Butler has been a productive safety during his time while battling injuries. Zach Greene played in 10 games for Duke in 2011, while Taylor Sowell saw action in roughly half the games in kick coverage duties. Duke has made a habit of valuing speed in their cornerback commits with all have reported 4.6 forty times or faster since Cutcliffe first took Lee Butler and Johnny Williams as part of his first acts at Duke on the trail.

By The Numbers: 12 players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.7 out of 5.0.

Notes: Canty and Byas have been productive as starters in their careers with Canty ranking second on the team a season ago with 87 stops and 4 tackles for loss. Campbell moved to linebacker and played in 11 games this season, ranking in the top eight in total stops. Young-Wiseman saw time on special teams in each game this year. In 2012 Duke brings in a couple of players who were recruited to play outside linebacker or safety by other programs. Duke got a boost late in 2012 with the transfer for former three star safety prospect Jeremy Cash from Ohio State.

By The Numbers: Nine players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 2.1 out of 5.0.

Notes: Duke has recruited the nation's top overall punting pro sect in 2011 and the nation's No.2 kicker in 2012. Both are expected to be starting for Duke in 2012 though neither has played a snap yet.

By The Numbers: Two players committed in 4 recruiting cycles. An average star rating of 3.0 out of 5.0.

Note: all rankings are from The default ranking for a prospect who has not been evaluated by Regional analysts is a 2 star prospect.

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