THE BEST OF THE BEST
The Scout 300
The best player in the class per Scout is California outside linebacker Ben Humphreys who checks in as the nation’s No. 190 ranked player in the country, regardless of position. He’s the lone member of the class of garner Scout Top 300 recognition, and the first Blue Devil commit to earn such an honor since Vince Oghobaase.
If the Blue Devils can shock the world and land Rashad Roundree, who recently listed Duke in his final six, the Georgia safety would unseat Humphreys as the top rated player in the class. Roundtree checks in as the nation’s No. 80 overall prospect.
Both Humphreys and Roundtree are rated as four star prospects by Scout.com.
THE BEST OF THE REGIONS
The East 150
Traditionally, Duke ventures into the Northeastern part of the country in a very selective manner. That’s true again this season as Duke has accepted commitments from just two players in the region. One of those player, New Jersey OLB Joe Giles-Harris, checks in as a three star prospect and is ranked as the No. 95 overall prospect in the East Region (comprised of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and everything state up through Maine).
The Midwest 150
The passing game needed a boost and Duke entertained and recruited a number of top flight receivers throughout this recruiting cycle. One of the top players to choose the Blue Devils has been Lemont (Ill.) Lemont Township High standout Flynn Nagel, who checks in as the 45th ranked player in the Midwest 150. The Midwest region is comprised of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota.
The West 150
While the primary recruiting grounds for Duke have centered around the Southeastern United States, it seems as though the Blue Devils go across the country to cherry pick some of the top talent in their class each season. In 2015 the Blue Devils have landed three of the top 150 players in the West region (comprised of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and everything else on the left coast) regardless of position.
As you would expect, Ben Humphreys is highly ranked as the region’s No. 37 overall player. He’s followed by the highly rated Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo tight end Tyler Petite, who chose Duke over Southern California. Petite is ranked 78th in the region. Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian offensive tackle Reno Rosene checks in as the No. 145 overall prospect in the West as well.
Alabama: The Blue Devils picked up a pair of commitments from the state which gave us Forrest Gump and, arguably, the most dominant college program of the last several years. Prattvile (Ala.) cornerback Keith Washington checks in as the state’s 39th best player, while Mobile (Ala.) S S Murphy standout WR DePriest Turner is considered the state’s 37th best prospect according to Scout.com.
California: The talent-rich state of Calfornia is one of the Big Four when it comes to recruiting along with Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Duke has landed three of the state’s best 100 players according to Scout.com. Humphreys is considered the 24th best player in the state (a testament to just how deep the talent is out west), Rosene is the 97th best player, while Petite is considered the state’s No. 50 overall prospect.
Connecticut: Coach Cutcliffe and his staff zeroed in on their top preference at quarterback early on in the form of Watertown (Conn.) The Taft School’s Quentin Harris, a 6-foot-1, 190 pound signal caller with a strong arm, but not a ton of help on his high school team. Harris should have a better season this year with some new additions to Taft’s roster, which could cause him to improve on his No. 9 overall ranking in the state of Connecticut.
Illinois: Nagel checks in as the sixth best prospect in the state of Illinois according to Scout.com. He is considered the second best wide receiver in the state behind Notre Dame’s four star commit, Miles Boykin.
New Jersey: Joe Giles-Harris is ranked as the state’s No. 20 overall player and the third best linebacker by Scout.com.
Notes: So far the Blue Devils have landed just one in-state player, and it’s a three-star punter, Austin Parker. Parker doesn’t appear in the NC top 50, but remaining targets such as RB Nyheim Hines (6th), Trai Sharp (47th), and Albert Funderburke (41st) do.
Duke also has hit the states of Georgia and Florida very hard in this class, earning commitments from eight total players from the Peach and Sunshine states. Seven of those eight players are considered three star players by Scout.com, though none appear in the top 75 from Georgia or the top 100 in Florida.
Zach Baker (6’3, 282, OL)
Clay HS, Green Cove Springs, FL
Notes: Baker is the most recent commitment for Duke, pulling the trigger on July 26th. He picked Duke over more than 20 other offers including UCF, Wake Forest, Purdue, West Virginia, California and Oregon State. Scout.com ranks him as a high two star prospect.
Ben Humphreys (6’1, 215, OLB)
Mater Dei HS, Santa Ana, CA
Notes: Humphreys is, currently, the gem of the class as a member of the Scout Top 300. He’s a four star player who chose the Blue Devils over Arizona, Arizona State, Boston College, California, Colorado, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon State, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin, and others.
Brandon Feamster (6’3, 200, S)
Cheshire Academy, Cheshire, CT
Notes: Feamster has been under the radar a bit, and is considered a two-star prospect by Scout.com. He chose Duke over offers from Connecticut, UMass, Syracuse, and Temple. Feamster had been recruited as both a linebacker and safety, and the opportunity to be utilized as both in Blue Devil defensive coordinator Jim Knowles' system played a large role in his decision.
Tyler Petite (6’5, 230, TE)
Campolindo HS, Moraga, CA
Notes: Petite was the biggest fish in the class before Humphreys committed, and his recruitment may have been the most dramatic as the Blue Devils beat USC for one of the best players in the state of California. Petite chose Duke over Arizona, Arizona St, Auburn, Cal, Colorado, Miami(FL), Nebraska, Northwestern, Oregon St, Purdue, Stanford, USC, Utah, Wake Forest, and Washington.
Keith Washington (6’2, 170, CB)
Prattville HS, Prattville, AL
Notes: A big cornerback who could (and likely will) end up at safety for Duke, Washington chose the Blue Devils over a number of offers including Miami(FL), Missouri, UNC, Northwestern, Texas Tech, and Rice. He is considered a three star prospect by Scout and factored into his state’s preseason top player list as noted above.
DePriest Turner (6’1, 185, WR)
S S Murphy HS, Mobile, AL
Notes: Turner was one of the first receiver prospects to choose Duke and has maintained a solid three star designation from Scout.com He’s considered a top 40 overall prospect from the state of Alabama and chose Duke over California, Cincinnati, South Alabama, and others. Scout also has Turner ranked as the No. 159 WR prospect in the entire country.
Keyston Fuller (6’0, 180, WR)
Griffin HS, Griffin, GA
Notes: For not factoring into his state’s top 75 rankings, Fuller certainly has a very impressive overall resume. He picked Duke over offers from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miss St, Nebraska, UNC, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Wake Forest, is rated as a three star player by Scout, and is one of the 110 best receiver prospects in the country.
Austin Parker (6’1, 170, P)
Mount Pleasant HS, Mount Pleasant, NC
Notes: The lone specialist in the class (Duke expects to take a kicker in the class of 2016), Parker attended Duke’s camp and earned his scholarship. He’s considered a three star prospect - which is unusually high for a kicker.
Trevon McSwain (6’6, 210, DE)
Lambert HS, Suwanee, GA
Notes: Yet another highly thought of three star prospect from the talent-rich state of Georgia, McSwain chose Duke over Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Nebraska, NC State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Vandy, UVA, Washington St, and Wisconsin. He’s considered the nation’s 105th best defensive end by Scout.com, though his offer sheet suggests additional evaluation is warranted.
T.J. Rahming (5’9, 148, WR)
McEachern HS, Powder Springs, GA
Notes: Another Georgia speedster with several very early offers and a comfortable status as a three star player. Rahming will likely factor in as a special teams threat early in his career, and he was recruited pretty heavily. He picked Duke over 15 others including California, Cincy, Indiana, Kansas State, Miss St, Purdue, Tennessee, and Wake Forest. Scout deems him as the 156th best receiver in the country.
Aaron Young (6’5, 200, WR)
Murrieta Valley HS, Murrieta, CA
Notes: The somewhat unknown commitment from the left coast, Young is not present in any of the preseason California top player lists, though he is thought of as a three star player by Scout (another testament to the depth of the talent pool in California and the depth of Duke’s class). He had a really good 7-on-7 performance in the late summer that solidified his star rating. He’ll become a big red zone target for the Duke signal callers by the time he’s done in Durham.
Marquies Price (6’6, 225, DE)
Peach County HS, Fort Valley, GA
Notes: Another perimeter lineman who has the frame and natural tools to become a very good player over the next few years. Price is a three star player in Georgia, and is considered the nation’s No. 130 defensive end. He picked Duke over a slew of offers including Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, NC State, Purdue, Virginia, Wisconsin, Charlotte, Cincy, UCF, USF, and W. Kentucky.
Flynn Nagel (5’10, 180, WR)
Lemont Twp HS, Lemont, IL
Notes: Nagel is one of the higher rated players in the class. A solid three star prospect who checks in as the nation’s No. 45 overall wide receiver. Nagel is one of the six best prospects in the state of Illinois and one of the best 45 players in the Midwest. Landing Nagel was a huge shot in the arm for the Blue Devils who secured his commitment over offers from Boston College, Illinois, Iowa State, Purdue, Wake Forest, Bowling Green, E. Michigan, Cincinnati, Miami (OH), Northern Illinois, and W. Michigan
Joe Giles-Harris (6-1, 215, OLB)
St. Joseph Regional HS, Montvale, NJ
Notes: He was one of the biggest early commitments in the class, and in most of Duke’s previous classes, Giles-Harris would be considered one of the two or three best players in the class. He’s considered a three star prospect by Scout and one of the best 75 linebackers in the nation. He’s ranked as the 20th best player in New Jersey and one of the top 100 players in the entire East region. Duke landed this commitment over several other offers including Boston College, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, NC State, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, Cincy, and Temple
Reno Rosene (6’7, 315, OT)
Oaks Christian HS, Westlake Village, CA
Notes: Much like Giles Harris, landing a player like Rosene would have meant the cherry on top of another solid class. The big lineman is ranked as a three star player, the nation’s 83rd best offensive tackle, one of the top 100 players in California, and one of the best 150 players in the entire West region of the United States. He picked Duke over Arizona State, Nebraska, NC State, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Wisconsin, Fresno State, Nevada, and San Diego State.
Quentin Harris (6’1, 185, QB)
The Taft School, Watertown, CT
Notes: Harris was, as mentioned above, the top quarterback on the Duke board in 2015. His high school program didn’t really feature the passing game last season and so his ranking as a three star player fits. Harris is considered one of the top 100 signal callers in the country and is the ninth best overall player in Connecticut according to Scout. He chose Duke over Boston College and Connecticut.
Jordan Hayes (6’0, 170, S)
Grayson HS, Loganville, GA
Notes: Another Peach State prospect who rates highly compared to other state’s players, but his three star status isn’t good enough to pull him onto the list of Georgia’s top 75 players. He is, however, considered one of the top 140 safety prospects in the country. Hayes chose Duke over Cincinnati, Wake Forest, and Central Florida very early in the process.
Brandon Boyce (6’1, 255, DT)
St. Thomas Aquinas HS, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Notes: A case of a player being a few inches too short and committing very early. Boyce is a three star player and the nation’s 69th best defensive tackle according to Scout. He plays in an ocean of talented players in South Florida and produces in a big way. Boyce was offered by Rutgers, Syracuse, E. Michigan, FAU, FIU, S. Alabama, and W. Kentucky early on before picking Duke early. If he was three inches taller, he’d likely be pushing four star status.
Zach Morris (6’4, 265, DT)
Ringgold HS, Ringgold, GA
Notes: Morris was the first commitment of the class, picking Duke back in November of 2013. He is listed as a three star player and the nation’s 147th defensive end according to Scout, but his future lies on the interior of the line. Morris picked Duke very early after the Blue Devils made the first offer, though schools such as Northwestern, Nebraska, Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt were entering the picture as well.