In-State Lineman May Become PWO For Duke

One metric to measure program health is the quality of the depth chart. Not only scholarship players, but also preferred and invited walk-ons. As the class of 2016 rolls toward Signing Day, Duke could be on the verge of adding another talented player who fits that description.

Two star offensive lineman Alex Gourley has enjoyed a successful high school career at South Iredell High in Statesville, NC.  He’s been selected to the Shrine Bowl as well as being named All-State and All-Conference multiple times.  Now, with his high school career behind him, the in-state prospect is focusing on recruiting. 

Gourley was previously committed to Brown, but backed off that decision in October in order to pursue additional recruiting opportunities.  Those opportunities involved a chance to earn his way onto a rosters at several schools.

“I currently have preferred walk-on offers from Duke, Northwestern and UConn,” said Gourley.  “I've also spoken with Illinois and Vanderbilt about similar opportunities and may receive preferred walk-on offers from them next month.  I have other offers from Brown, Davidson, Campbell, Charleston Southern, Gardner-Webb and Bentley.  I've received admissions support offers (i.e., D3 offers) from MIT, UChicago, Pomona, Amherst.”

The Blue Devils, however, appear to be the top choice for Gourley after he’s visited campus twice and camped in Durham for the last two seasons.

“I know the coaching staff very well. My family and I respect the school. The other schools that have offered are wonderful, and I am honored to have their interest, but Duke is the top school.  If everything works out, I would enroll in July for the second session of summer school.”

But first he must gain admission, and it appears there’s a very good chance that’ll happen.

“I feel very good about things, though. I know people with better grades and scores apply, but I have a 3.99 unweighted GPA in an IB program and scored a 31 on the ACT. I have a 740 on the SAT II Chemistry test and 690 on the SAT II Math 1 test. The coaches say this compares well with other preferred walk-on candidate players.”

“Right now, there are no other visits planned. I applied Early Decision and will get official word on December 15th.”

So what does it mean to be a preferred walk-on for the Blue Devils?  Well, for starters, it means no scholarship.  At least not at first.

“The preferred walk on spot is a full roster spot and a chance to compete for a scholarship. The coaches said that I would likely get a scholarship if I made the two-deep roster.”

Undertaking such an obligation suggests a level of trust among player and potential future coaches.  Gourley confirmed that and offered the timeline of events that have led him to this point. 

“I have camped at Duke since the summer after Freshman year.  Coach Collins is my local recruiter, and I have spoken with him a lot when I have visited campus.  I first met Coach Marcus Johnson at camp, and he and I have stayed in touch frequently since that time.  I have had the chance to speak with Coach Latina during each visit, and I met with him for an in-depth meeting last month in Durham in his office.  Although I had met Coach Cutcliffe at camp, I had the chance to speak with him quite a bit during my October visit.  My family and I like the coaches and the program.  Duke is a wonderful school.  Coach Ethan Johnson has been great with the details for the PWO program.  He's knows so much about the school and the program, and he is a great resource.”

Currently Scout rates Gourley as a two star offensive lineman prospect.  He measures out at 6-foot-1 and 280 pounds.  He reports a max bench press of 365 and squat of 630 pounds with a 5.15 forty and 4.55 shuttle time.

“I am only being recruited as a center due to height.  Although I believe that I can play guard effectively.  I am a "true center" and have played center every season since fourth grade.  My strengths are my accuracy with snap, overall strength and speed.  I need to work on letting the player come to me during pass rush--I have a tendency to lean into the DL, and a good DL can pull me off balance.”

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