QB Justin Fields Talks Duke Offer

As Duke continues the search for its next quarterback, the Blue Devils have made an offer to Georgia signal caller Justin Fields who visited for camp last week.  We spoke with Fields about his recruitment, the Duke camp, and what he’s looking for in a school.

Let’s start with a little bit about yourself, when did you get your start with football and when did it become apparent that you were capable of playing at a high level?

I started playing football when I was five years old. As a youngster growing up I played three sports, football, basketball and baseball. I was usually better than most kids who I played with and against in all three. My dad says that I’ve always loved playing ball even as a baby. So to answer your question I’ve always been a kinda elite athlete who loved playing ball. Honestly I probably knew I was going to be able to play in college probably when I grew about five inches in a year. I knew then that I would have the height to play at a high collegiate level.

What kind of QB would you say you are and what kind of offense did you run last season?  And how does that affect college?

I would say I’m a diverse quarterback. I’m flexible and I have the ability to adapt to any offense, whether it’s a pro style or it calls for a spread or a read option-like offense. Last year we ran a spread from a Wing T, this year we are going mostly spread. I’m looking to play in an offense that I feel like is the best fit.

How are you evaluating “fit” when it comes to colleges?

I’m looking for a place where I can get a great education, where I’ll have coaches of high character and faith. Also, I’d like to have coaches or a coach that knows the quarterback position and has a proven track record of getting their QB’s to the next level.

Which coaches and programs have you been able to gather early information about to this point?

I’m so new in the recruiting process but I’ve done a little research on all the coaches where I took unofficial visits to.

What kind of research?  What kind of visits have you taken?

I did a little research on the type of offense they run and the quarterbacks that had gone to the pros from those schools. Duke, Clemson, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, UNC, Northwestern, Wake Forest, UGA and Auburn I’ve visited.

Which programs have extended a firm scholarship offer to you at this point?

UNC, NC State, Duke, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Appalachian State. Duke and Wake Forest are my more recent offers from this past weekend.

What did you think about the Duke offer and visit to campus?

I had a sprained ankle at the time I went to camp/visit there, so my parents went on a campus tour when I was getting treated for my ankle. I loved being offered from such a prestigious school such as Duke.

Sorry to hear about the injury, how did things go with the Duke medical/training staff when they were taking care of you?

It was great, their medical trainer helped me out a lot and it made me feel like I was actually a player of Duke.

In light of the injury, what were you able to see and do at Duke outside of being treated by the medical training staff?

I didn’t get to do too much, my parents took the tour around campus because I couldn’t really walk around the campus because of the injury. I got to talk a little bit with Coach Roper the quarterbacks coach. We went over some film together and he asked me a few questions. After that I went and saw the camp with Coach Cut, that was pretty much it. Coach Cut talked with me for about 15 minutes in the training room, he talked with me and my family, it was pretty cool.

What did you and your family get to discuss with Coach Cutcliffe in that meeting?

That’s when he offered me a scholarship offer to go there. He talked to my parents about a little bit about baseball and football and stuff like that, I don’t remember everything that we talked about. Their recruiting coordinator, Matt Guerreri, he’s a safeties coach there, he came to spring practice and he filmed me throw and he said that Coach Cut saw what he needed to see. He told me I didn’t need to do anything at camp today and he offered me a scholarship. I threw in spring practice and they looked at my film.

What’s the feedback been like from them on how they view you as a player?

They think I can be a great player there. Coach Cut said he would love to get a chance to work with me for the next four years at Duke, it was cool. I was excited for the offer, I’ve always thought Duke was this really prestigious school with really high academics and it’d be a big decision for me with my choice now that they have offered.

Were you expecting that the offer was going to come before you were there for the camp, or was it more of a surprise?

Yeah, I had called them, Coach Matt Guerreri the recruiting coordinator for my area, I told him before the camp that I had sprained my ankle at the Wake Forest camp the day before, I caught him that morning  and I told him that. He told me to still come up to Duke which was only like an hour or so away from Wake Forest. So I kinda expected it but I wasn’t 100% for sure.

Now that you have the Duke offer among many other offers, how do you think it affects the big picture of your recruitment and where things are headed with that?

Yeah I was hoping for an offer from them, it’s always good when they want to offer you especially since I had gone on a visit there this past fall and my dad and I liked how the coaches carry themselves and the high academics there.

What are your thoughts on how they run their program?  On how they utilize their QBs? And how they run their offense from what you have observed?

When I was going over film with Coach Roper, their offense is very similar to what I’m already running now in my high school offense, so I know I’d be a good fit there. It’s like some of the plays in the playbook are basically the same plays as in my high school playbook. It’s kinda weird but good actually.

Are there any other programs that are recruiting you at this point that you are waiting to see whether they offer you a scholarship?

Northwestern, I went and visited them on Monday. I’m expecting an offer this week, I’m pretty sure. Wake Forest has offered me and Georgia Tech has a lot of interest in me too, those are two other academic schools that are looking at me.

So as you are figuring out the best the fit for you, would you say that the academics at the school are a major deciding factor, or is it how they utilize their QBs?

It’s a mixture of both, I want a good academic experience because football doesn’t last forever.

Do you like any of the programs that have offered you just in general with how they run their offense and how they use their QBs?

Yeah I’m still forming those opinions, but I like what I’ve seen with all of them.

So what’s next in the future for you with your process?

I’m going to a few more camps and visits. I’m going to Clemson tomorrow, NC State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and I’m also going to Maryland and Boston College and probably a few more after that. After that depending on how many offers I receive, I’ll probably be looking at making my decision at the end of my junior year.

Are you looking to graduate early from high school?

Yes, me and my dad were talking about it and I play baseball too, so we’re playing it by ear. We don’t know just yet.

How are you handling baseball and football when it comes to college?

Football, the only reason I play baseball really is because I’m good at it, but I love the game of football. I think right now I’m going to play football, but if I have the chance I might, but I’m looking at playing football in college. I’ve talked with the Cleveland Indians organization as well. 

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