Korona recaps Duke trip

After committing to Duke in June, San Antonio (Tex.) Reagan standout lineman Sterling Korona said he felt completely comfortable with his decision. This past weekend the big Texan took an unofficial visit to Durham for the game against NC Central. So is he still locked in as a future Blue Devil?

"I actually played a game in San Antonio on Friday night, and then flew into RDU on Saturday," said Sterling Korona. "It was a pretty full day for me, but overall I had a great trip before heading home to San Antonio on Sunday."

Korona, a 6-foot-8, 260 pound offensive tackle, visited Duke unofficially in May before making a final decision in mid-June. Since that time he'd reported a strong desire to make a return trip to his future school to further become acclimated to the program.

"We had a chance to meet with the coaches before the game on Saturday. I spent all morning saying hello to all the coaches and players. I had a chance to meet Tanner Stone, a fellow Texan, and got to talk with all the offensive linemen there. We also met some of the other families of the current players, which my parents really liked. In fact, my mom is already texting with some of the other moms from the team."

Following the initial visits and saying hello, Korona made his way to the stadium to see Duke pound NC Central by a 54-17 margin.

"It was, of course, a great win. I was really impressed with how positive the team and the coaches were coming off a rough weekend. We play a similar style offense at home, so it was reassuring to see something familiar live. I feel like we dominated the game, and it was a performance we can build off of."

Not only was it a great night on the field, the program got a big lift on the sideline when Blair Holiday returned to Duke. For Korona, it was a powerful moment.

"My high school team lost a teammate in a car accident two weeks ago, and the other offensive tackle on my team suffered a career ending injury a week ago. When you look at that, it's been a really hard couple of weeks. To see a guy who went through something so serious like Blair did… it was really awesome to see him come back, and he provides a great example of how to weather a storm."

Following the game, Korona and his family returned to their hotel before reuniting with the team on Sunday.

"We got up and went to Mass with a lot of the coaches and players. My parents were really happy to see so many football guys there. I also had a chance to visit with Coach Cutcliffe -- it was his birthday, and coaches Roper and Latina."

During the talk with the coaches, Korona says he learned more about the role they expect him to play when he arrives in the program.

"They said I'd play quarterback for them…just kidding. Seriously though, it's safe to say I'll be on the offensive line, probably at tackle. Obviously I've added mass and they were happy about that. We are going to concentrate on continuing to add weight, strength, and skills over the next few months. I am not worried about what will happen next year in terms of the depth chart, and we really didn't talk about that. I will continue to work hard so that I can contribute however they need me to."

So, after leaving Durham, what were the future Blue Devil's thoughts on the program as a whole?

"The coaches and players were happy, but immediately they started focusing on next week and playing Memphis. I have always been taught to focus on doing the next, right thing. If I do that everything will work out. That's what I observed at Duke, which I liked."

"It's clear to me that the program is making huge strides, and I think we're headed in the right direction. This weekend I got to talk to many different coaches and programs over the last few months, and I committed to what I think is the best program. The coaches, staff, and university are all awesome and I'm really happy about being part of this. I feel really blessed."


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