Coach David Cutcliffe’s program released the 2015 roster over the weekend which included a number of changes from a season ago. In addition to the freshman class arriving on campus and being assigned numbers, there were a handful of changes to positions and measurements worth nothing.
Here’s what caught our eye…
Freshmen Get Their Uniforms
The incoming class received their numbers as the arrived. Beginning with electric WR T.J. Ramming (3), the numbers went as follows: Keyston Fuller (7), Aaron Young (8), Jeremy McDuffie (9), Jordan Hayes (13), Daniel Jones (17), Quentin Harris (18), Brandon Feamster (30), Ben Humphreys (34), Austin Parker (42), Joe Giles-Harris (44), Zach Morris (52), Brandon Boyce (55), Zach Baker (69), Reno Rosene (73), Marques Price (91), Twazanaga Mugala (94), and Trevor McSwain (95).
When projecting which players may avoid a redshirt season, the first place to look would likely be Ramming who competed in the US Army All-American game and excelled against the best competition in the country. Blessed with 4.4 speed and the ability to lose defenders with fast footwork, Ramming only needs to add strength to ready himself for the Division One level. He’s listed at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, indicating he’s been working hard over the last six months (he measured at 5-foot-9 and 158 pounds at the US Army game).
Another potential early player would be fell US Army alumni Ben Humphreys. The highest rated player in the class, Humphreys had previously indicated that he could end up as a safety at Duke. However, the 6-foot-2, 210 pound California product did end up slotted at linebacker according to the roster.
One of the somewhat unexpected appearances on the roster is that of QB Daniel Jones, who had been slated to gray shirt. Jones will begin workouts this fall with the program, and will receive a scholarship in January of 2016. He will take the field next month as the fifth string quarterback, but is not expected to play this season. Jones is coming off a strong senior campaign at Latin where he earned Quarterback of the Year honors in the talent rich Charlotte area. For the season he threw for more than 2300 yards in leading Latin to the state championship game where the Hawks fell to 2016 Duke commit Elijah Deveaux and Charlotte Christian.
Some other interesting incoming freshman notes begin in the trenches where freshman offensive lineman Zach Baker has already been slotted as a center, and then on the other side of the ball where Trevon McSwain is listed at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds - a full 25 pounds heavier than at the end of his senior season at Lambert High School in Georgia. Similarly, the first commitment of the class, Zach Morris, is listed at 6-foot-3, and 295 pounds (30 pounds heavier than his senior season at Ringgold High in Georgia).
Off the line of scrimmage, Keyston Fuller came into Duke projected as either a receiver or defensive back. Based on the roster, he’ll provide another big DB for the Blue Devils after being slotted as a cornerback and being listed at 6-foot-0, and 180 pounds.
Weight Room Warriors
In addition to updating the roster, the bios of the various players were updated as well. Included were the various weight room champions at each position. Some notes there…
Senior Dwayne Norman led the LB group in bench press (380 lbs.), squat lift (445 lbs.), power clean (319 lbs.), vertical jump (35’5”) and broad jump (10’2”). Norman transitioned in the offseason from safety to WLB.
On the offensive line, fifth year senior guard Cody Robinson owns school records for power clean lift (352 lbs.; tied with Tomlinson) and bench press (480 lbs.) by an offensive lineman.
Fourth year junior running back Jela Duncan returns to Duke after a serving a one year suspension. In 26 career games Duncan has rushed 222 times for 1,115 yards (5.02) and seven TDs, caught 32 passes for 212 yards (6.63) and returned nine kickoffs for 147 yards (16.33)
Continuing the weight room theme, Duncan led all running backs with 390 pound bench press.