Duke hopes to flip Tennessee commit

Among the 14 visitors in Durham this weekend was current Tennessee commit Dominic Zanca. The Orlando area linebacker spoke to TDD after returning home from Duke with a lot to think about.

"I had a great time at Duke this weekend," said Dominic Zanca (Altamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley). "Right now the current status of my recruitment is that I'm deciding between Duke and Tennessee. I expect to have my final decision at the end of this week."

Zanca, 6-foot-2 and 242-pounds, played on a 9-2 Lake Brantley team. He finished the season with 60 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss and nine sacks despite missing two games with a sprained MCL and two more with a shoulder injury.

He committed to the Volunteers back in the Spring during the time Duke was beginning the recruiting process. At that point the three star linebacker believed he had things set, but the firing of Derrick Dooley changed all that, and so he reached out to Duke.

"Duke actually began recruiting me in the Spring. Coach Collins called and asked if he could come down and visit me at my school. But a day later I committed to Tennessee, and so he never came down. After Coach Dooley was fired, I asked my high school coach to call Coach Collins again. Two days later he flew down to Orlando and started recruiting me hard."

"I visited this past weekend and they talked a lot about the Duke education, and how the program is growing. Off the field, the big thing about Duke is how everyone is close and will stay close with each other throughout their lives. We also talked about football stuff too."

And the message to Zanca was very simple, and time is very much of the essence.

"They want me to come in and compete for a spot. I am going to enroll in January wherever I go because I want to come in and play Spring ball so that I can get on the field as a true freshman. The Duke coaches have told me it is possible to play as a true freshman, and the old Tennessee staff has told me the same thing. I know that wherever I end up I'll have to go in and work hard, but that's what I do. I know I'll go in and compete."

Coming in early and playing as a true freshman was explicitly discussed at Duke this weekend for Zanca.

"Their system is a 4-2-5 which means the linebackers have all eyes on them - it's just you and the other guy in the box. That's a great situation for me because I play better under pressure I feel like. With Tennessee I felt like I could fit in with the old staff, but until I know what the new staff is going to run, it's hard to see how I will fit in with them."

Which is why there is one more step in Zanca's recruiting process before the decision comes at the end of the week.

"I'm going to sit down and talk with Coach Jones this week and hear him out. I want to hear what he thinks about me as a player, and to see if he's watched my tape and, if so, what he thinks of it. He knows a little bit about me because one of my friends went to Cincinnati last year and he recruited me a little bit."

That call is expected to come Tuesday afternoon and then Zanca says he and his parents will sit down and make a decision.

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