Fresh off a sophomore season in which he passed for 1,899 yards and 19 touchdowns, Wake Forest (N.C.) Heritage quarterback Gunnar Holmberg has picked up a Blue Devil offer after a recent visit to Durham. It’s the next step in a recruiting process that has been closely tracked by David Cutcliffe and his associates.
“Duke has been recruiting me since last summer,” Holmberg told TDD. “I got an invite to their Saturday night live camp and we've been talking ever since. The Coach for my area is Coach Albert and Coach Keimach, who I talk to a lot. I also talk to Coach Roper and Coach Grizzard a lot as well. They try to pitch basically all they have at hand for me, the academics of course, Coach Cut and Coach Roper who are both the best in the business and just everyone great who has come through Duke under Coach Cutcliffe.”
From that initial summarized pitch, Holmberg has also heard much more from the Blue Devil coaching staff which has helped shape his early impression.
“Of course academics are first which Duke doesn't really have to say much about, the name sells itself. Then the coaching staff, I want to be somewhere with a great relationship with my Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator. Duke being so close to home is also a great factor. As well as an offense that uses the quarterback like they do which appears to be a system that would fit my skill set.”
At this point in the process Holmberg has an offer from another ACC program, and is likely to pick up many others.
“Wake Forest is the main other school who has shown interest and offered. I also have heard from North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Coastal Carolina.”
So what do the Coaches at these programs like about Holmberg’s game?
“I've been told I am very accurate while throwing on the run, so accuracy from the pocket is something I will continue to work on. I also have been told I have a nice deep ball and can make about every throw needed. I also take pride in being able to throw in rather uncomfortable and odd body positions which is something I'm not getting used to but doesn't hurt to be able to do for screens and if there's pressure.”
Duke, as noted above, has been aware of the in-state prospect for a while and reached out very early. Since then there have been several meetings, visits, and other contact aimed at solidifying a very strong early relationship.
“I have visited Duke a lot. I went to three games, the junior day and two practices. The program is special. It’s a place that cares about you emotionally and as a person more then a player…that is something rare. The program and facility upgrades done to it all also just make it all better…the facilities seem to be getting better every time I go there. From what I know there is a lot more to come as well.”
So, after forming an initial impression, Holmberg sat down with Coach Cutcliffe and was offered.
“The offer was presented in the most professional way possible. By Coach Cutcliffe after the spring practice I attended. He called my mom and I into his office explained how they've watched me mature over time and grow as a player as well as a person and then he offered me. My initial impression of it was I was just so excited to get that offer which I know is a rare one QB-wise.”
When the offer was made, the Blue Devil coaches also conveyed their wish-list for a signal calling recruit.
“A lot of what they are looking for is someone who is a better person then player. Someone who will lead as well as someone who could be a great face of a team.”
On the field, the coaches told Holmberg what caught their eye and prompted the early pursuit.
“I ran a 4.51 at their camp this past summer and threw very well. I also had a strong sophomore campaign which all came together greatly. They like my arm and ability to throw mainly, but me being able to run just helps it all as well. Coach Cutcliffe said he is looking for someone who meets what he's always looked for, someone who will leave the place better then they found it.”
This summer Holmberg says he will definitely camp some more while making a point to improve his footwork in the pocket. A season ago he rushed for 275 yards and five touchdowns.