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#DukeGang17 Hot Board - Updated Aug 3rd

Space is at a premium as the Blue DEvils have nearly wrapped up recruiting in the class of 2017.   With only a handful of spots remaining, here’s a look at which players Duke fans should be following as we move into the fall.

Four star signal caller Jack Sears may be closing in on a decision in the near future with the Blue Devils battling both Southern Cal and UCLA for the services of the San Clemente prospect.    The original plan was for Sears to have his recruiting done by the middle of July, but that has obviously been pushed back.   Utah is also involved.  

Landing Sears would be a huge validation point for Duke which has improved recruiting at every position, but haven’t landed an elite QB recruit since Sean Renfree, ranked as a four star prospect and the nation’s No. 10 QB, verbally committed in 2008.  

While no decision date has been set, the buzz is that Sears could decide any day now.

Another four star player who the Blue Devils are tracking is defensive lineman Ryan Johnson out of Mobile, Alabama.   At 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, Johnson would likely play on the interior of the Blue Devils’ defensive line.   A decision isn’t expected to be made early, and Duke will look to not only continue to build a relationship, but also must counter the advances of SEC powers such as Alabama, Auburn, and LSU along with other high majors such as Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, and Stanford.  

So far Johnson has made plans to visit Alabama, Auburn, and Stanford officially, meaning Duke has a lot of ground to make up.

The top ranked defensive tackle in the state of North Carolina, Butler recently named a top four of Duke, NC State, South Carolina, and Tennessee.   He may also visit Penn State before making a decision later this year.   

Butler has visited Duke several times and credits the Blue Devils hire of new defensive line coach Ben Albert as the genesis of his renewed interest in Coach Cutcliffe’s program.

Axel Nyembwe has seen his recruitment take off in the latter part of the summer with schools such as Michigan State, Notre Dame, and others beginning to track the 6-foot-1, 300 pound prospect.   As for Duke, the Blue Devils offered Nyembwe when he attended camp and have continued to push hard for a commitment.    In addition to camp, Nyembwe visited the Blue Devil unofficially, and will probably return for an official visit this fall.  

Nyembwe told TDD recently that Duke is his top school at this time, but added the caveat that the Blue Devils were the only school he’d really visited at this point as well.

Leonard Warner is another four star prospect the Blue Devils are essentially saving a spot for.   He’s ranked as the No. 25 outside linebacker in the country according to Scout and has a number of high major offers.   Warner has already visited Georgia, Florida State, Duke, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia Tech.   He told TDD last week he would like to visit Georgia, Florida State, Clemson, Duke, and perhaps Georgia Tech officially.    He will most likely take all five official visits.

If Duke could land Sears as a four star quarterback, adding four star Noah Igbinoghene to go along with four star prospect Scott Bracey from 2016 would give the Blue Devils a strong aerial attack going forward.   Another Alabama prospect, Igbinoghene recently named Duke as a co-leader in his recruitment along with Notre Dame.  The rest of his final five include Missouri, Virginia Tech, and Maryland.    

The Blue Devils are the only school of that group he’s visited and he will likely visit again, officially, along with the others.  He indicated that he won’t make a decision until he’s seen all five programs but did credit the Duke staff as creating a program on the rise.  “The football program is going to be a beast in a couple years too. I just love everything about the school,” he said.

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