Four star DE talks Duke visit

Four star defensive end Jalen Dalton is the kind of player Duke is hoping continued success will appeal to. The Blue Devils hosted the nation's No. 24 DE this weekend for junior day. He recaps the experience and offers his thoughts on Duke and how they had to straighten out their attitude inside...

"I did visit Duke this past weekend for junior day," said Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth standout Jalen Dalton. "Honestly, I didn't really know what to expect when I got there, but when I arrived I was immediately impressed."

Dalton, along with several other top prospects, visited Duke for the program's second junior day of the spring season with activities ranging from taking in the Blue Devils' spring practice to campus tours and meetings, to a couple of team meals. It all culminated with a trip to see Duke's basketball team take down top ranked Syracuse on Saturday night.

"That was great, before I was recruited by them I was a big Duke basketball fan growing up."

But Dalton is one of the nation's top players at his position with high major offers from most of college football's traditional powers. Accordingly, Duke is working to show the 6-foot-6, 230 pounder that there's more to Blue Devil athletics than Mike Krzyzewski's program. So far, the message is being received.

"Before they recruited me I didn't see them as a football school at all. That has changed because now I've been there and I've seen how close they are as a family. Really, Coach Cut is so close to his players, and they are on their way to being a great team - that's something that excited me."

He got a first hand look at the relationships between coaches and players before the basketball game on Saturday, watching practice and then participating in positional meetings.

"The way they practice impresses me. Not only with how things were set up and organized, but the mindset of everyone involved. They are a big family."

"After practice we had a chance to talk with some of the players, and I was impressed with how humble they are about things. The players I spoke with said to turn things around they had to get their attitude straight. Once that happened they went from 3-9 to 10-4."

Given his size and speed, Dalton is projected to play either defensive end or outside linebacker depending on the scheme. From where he sits, he's not overly concerned with where a team projects him.

"I don't mind playing either position - either outside linebacker or defensive end. It really comes down to whichever position I can help the team win at."

Dalton indicates that he is a candidate to graduate early and enroll in January of 2015 at his school of choice. He anticipates a decision coming after his senior season at West Forsyth.


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