Brandner firms up with Duke

Though he committed in June, Columbia (S.C.) Heathwood Hall Episcopal standout offensive tackle Gabe Brandner has been continually pursued by a number of other programs. Last week he visited Durham in hopes of firming up his commitment to Duke. So did the trip payoff? TDD investigates.

"I went up to Duke on the 27th of July and came back home on the 28th," said Gabe Brandner. "I brought both of my parents and my sister. We had a chance to meet with both coaches Cutcliffe and Latina as well as with the academic advisors, and players."

Following his initial decision in which he picked Duke over offers from Air Force and Appalachian State, Brandner got the news that his in-state favorite, Clemson, had also jumped in with an offer as well. Since that time the Tigers have continued to pursue Brandner hard in hopes of flipping his commitment. However, after last weekend, those hopes seem to have gotten slimmer.

"I'm committed to Duke. This trip helped me see what my life will be like for the next five years and what my life could be like after football is over. I'm interested in engineering, and this trip was a good way to see all that Duke offers."

And Gabe wasn't the only one impressed with the presentation.

"My parents and my sister were both really impressed with what they saw, and they're excited for me."

Moving forward into his senior season, Brandner will turn his attention to finishing strong for Heathwood. At 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds he'll line up both at offensive tackle and tight end for his team, but will transition to tackle when he arrives in Durham next summer."

"We started practice on July 30th and our first game is August 24th. I also start at defensive end and I'm excited for this year. I feel like we have the guys to make a run…it's just a matter of everyone coming together."

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