Blue Devils Offer Elite Prep QB

As the football recruiting season begins to heat up for the Duke Blue Devils, one of the earliest offers on the table has been extended to one of 2005's better pro style quarterbacks. <I></I> had a chance to sit down with the Delaware standout to chat about the recruiting process to date, and more.

Being in the market for a top notch quarterback in the class of 2005 means hitting the recruiting trail very hard, and very early. That's precisely what the Duke staff has done in recent weeks. The results are already beginning to show as many of the nation's top signal callers are starting to look towards Durham as a possible collegiate location.

Perhaps one of the more intriguing prospects is 6-foot-5, 225 pound Gene Delle Donne of Wilmington (Del.) Salesianum. Coming off a junior season that saw him throw for more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns against four interceptions in just nine games, Delle Donne was recently offered a scholarship by head coach Ted Roof.

"It felt really good to get an offer from Duke," said Delle Donne. "They are huge in my mind now. I mean they are one of the top universities in the country, and it's going to be hard to turn that kind of opportunity down."

Before the offer was extended, Delle Donne admitted that he knew very little about Duke, however the recent rash of interest has opened his eyes to the Blue Devils' new commitment to rebuilding a respectable program. He will have a chance to learn more in the coming weeks when an unofficial visit is planned for Duke.

"When I called to thank them for the offer for Gene, I had a chance to speak to several members of the staff including coach Roof," said Gene's father Ernie. "Coach Roof has assembled an impressive staff and they represent the school very well."

Aside from the phone calls Gene is now receiving loads of mail from deep inside the Yoh football building, which seems to be finding its mark.

"Yesterday I got eight hand written letters from the coaching staff. I'm really excited about visiting and seeing what they have to offer. They are committed to rebuilding the program. That means getting some big time commits. One thing I really like is that they are going to be really throwing the ball in the future."

The allure of the ACC is also appealing to the family.

"It's now the best conference in the country and the teams are really becoming pass oriented. I like that a lot."

Aside from the Blue Devils, Delle Donne is getting heavy interest from Nebraska, Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan, and Notre Dame. None have offered at this point.

When asked to list his early favorites, Gene indicated that Duke, Ohio State, and Notre Dame have the early inside track, though "it's still really early".

Off the field there are no worries about qualifying as the All-Conference/All-State honoree sports a 3.67 grade point average.

When asked to describe himself on the field, Delle Donne says he is a "big pro-style quarterback. I'm not the most mobile, but I can make defenders missed if I have to. I'm also a pretty good leader and have good arm strength."

Who does he try to emulate?

"Probably Tom Brady or Payton Manning."

While that seems like the perfect component to Duke's soon to be released pass happy offense, he does admit that there are some things that he needs to work on.

"I need to work on my footwork and keep throwing constantly to improve accuracy and strength."


*- Gene also plays basketball for Salesianum as the team's power forward where he averaged 16 points and nine rebounds per game. His team advanced to the state championship but fell short.

*- He has attended Maryland's junior day and camps at Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.

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