Football Recruiting Notebook

Space is at a premium in the class of 2014. The Blue Devils have already landed 13 players in the rising senior class, with a projected availability of 16 spots. So who is on the radar for those final three spots. TDD runs it down.

OFFENSE:

Perhaps the top player remaining on the board is Florida WR Trevon Lee. Recently, the Fort Lauderdale product announced he would take five official visits, beginning with a trip to California on September 12th. After visiting Berkley, the 6-foot-1, 180 pounder will make trips to Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Oregon.

Wherever Lee chooses to play, his main focus is on academics. He not only wants to be a top wide receiver, but also wants to study pre-med.

"If I have the opportunity to play at the next level someday then I will take it, but the plan is to study pre-med and go to medical school, or maybe I can do both," laughed Lee.

Rated the No.67 wide receiver in the country by Fox Sports Next, Lee finished last season with 35 receptions, 704 yards and 11 touchdowns.



New Jersey TE Mike Gesicki is considered the 17th best TE in the country by Scout, and a three star overall prospect. THe 6-foot-6, 230 pounder visited Duke in the late summer, and came away impressed. However, recruiting has been put on the back burner for the time being. He'll make some official visits, and plans to announce shortly after his high school season ends in November.

On Duke, the New Jersey product relayed the following impression:

"I went to Duke and that was a lot better than I expected. I went in there with an open mind and knowing the history of the program and I like where they're going. Coach (David) Cutcliffe is a good guy."



Another tight end prospect has shot up the recruiting boards of late, and has earned a Duke offer. California's David Koppenhaver is a late bloomer with regard to recruiting attention, but will be visiting Duke soon and has a written offer from the coaches.

At 6-foot-5, and 215 pounds, Koppenhaver totaled 28 receptions for 425 yards and four scores as a junior in 2012. He has offers from Duke, Nevada, Iowa State, New Mexico, and UNLV.



Four star WR Josh Malone continues to court interest from Duke and continues as one of the players who will have a Blue Devil offer throughout the process. Malone is ranked as the nation's 15th best WR overall, and has offers from all the high major BCS programs. Throughout August Malone has been taking unofficial visits, stopping at Tennesssee, Vanderbilt, and Florida State.

Cumming (Ga.) West Forsyth standout offensive lineman Andrew Marshall is the lone remaining offensive lineman in the class of 2014 with a verified written offer. Marshall has offers from East Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Western Kentucky.

Marshall, who checks in at 6-foot-4, and 265 pounds, is ranked as the nation's No. 13 center prospect. This one could come down to a Duke and Wake Forest battle unless Auburn jumps in.



A pair of running backs have also landed written offers from Duke. Daytona Beach (Fla.)'s Charles Nelson is built in the mold of Ryan Smith last year. At 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, Nelson is a three star prospect with a 4.35 forty time.

He was knocked out of action midway through last season with a knee injury.

"I tore my ACL back in October," Nelson said. "I am climbing my way back and almost 100%. I was held out of spring ball."

Prior to the injury Nelson got offers Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest.

"Most teams want to see how I respond when I get back. They know and want to see what I do when I get back," Nelson said.

The second RB with a confirmed offer is Ito Smith, who has called Duke his leader.

"They are still my favorite right now, definitely," he said.

The decision may come before the Yellow Jackets hit the field in full pads for the 2013 regular season.

"Soon...very soon, that's all I'm saying," he said with a laugh. "They are a program that's on the rise. You look at their recruiting class this year and you see they are pulling in good players. The only thing for the program to do is get better.

"Then on the academic side of things they are one of the top colleges."

Smith plans on majoring in chemistry no matter where he enrolls prior to the 2014 season.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder also has scholarship offers from Arkansas State, Georgia Tech, Louisiana-Lafeyette, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Navy, Northern Illinois, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Tulane and Western Kentucky in addition to the Blue Devil extension. He previously mentioned The Yellowjackets, Red Wolves, Huskies and Green Wave also stood out in addition to Duke.


DEFENSE:

The defensive line is another position of need, where Duke will look to add players as the class winds down. Defensive end Kurt Holuba has been sitting on a Duke offer for several months now, and the No. 67 DE in the country has recently narrowed his list down to four schools: Duke, Stanford, Florida State, and Wisconsin. On the Blue Devils, the three star prospect said:

"Like Stanford the academic reputation speaks for itself. I know the football team has struggled in years past but I think they are turning it around. Their campus is beautiful and I get along with all of the coaches."

In terms of his recruitment, Holuba is done taking visits and would like to make his decision in the next few weeks.

"I have a hard time seeing myself taking any more visits because I've seen all of the campuses," Holuba said. "Once we start playing the games it will be hard to go see one of my top four schools. I would like to decide before my season starts so I can focus on my team. If I don't then that's fine. I just want to make sure I feel comfortable with my decision when I do make it."



On the interior of the line, Duke is recruiting a pair of defensive tackles. The first is Plantation (Fla.)'s Edgar Cerenord who recently picked up an offer from Tennessee to go with offers from Arkansas, Duke, Indiana, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky, Toledo, Western Michigan, and East Carolina.

"I'm open-minded, but the schools that are recruiting me the hardest are Wake Forest, Duke, Rutgers, Arkansas, and Toledo," he said.

Cerenord hopes to start narrowing down his list in the next week or so and then take official visits this season before reaching a decision.

"The biggest things are playing time, TV time, campus life, academics, and a family-oriented football team," he said.

The second defensive tackle with a verified offer is Owatonna (Minn.)'s Andrew Stelter. At 6-foot-4, and 235 pounds, Stelter is considered a three star prospect. Duke may be fighting an uphill battle…

"My recruitment is going good, but I haven't gotten offers recently," said Stelter. "I went to Stanford and did pretty well at the camp. They said they want to see my first two games before they offer me and I will see how that goes. I am hearing from a lot of other schools like Duke, Iowa State and Northern Illinois. It is kind of busy at times, but it is fun.

"I have 8 offers, but Minnesota is at the top for me. They were my first offer and they offered me last October. I know the coaching staff the best and I like the direction the program is going. I think that would be fun to stay home and play for Minnesota. I feel like everything at Minnesota is great."



A recent offer is Texas cornerback Jeremy Winchester, a 6-foot, 175 pound dual sport athlete who is being recruited by a number of programs throughout Big12 country. Once again, Duke is working to catch up...

"I plan on taking official visits to Arkansas, Oklahoma, California, Colorado and Utah," Winchester noted. "Those are the five schools I like the most right now."


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