"Duke offering was great because C.J. and his parents place a high value on academics," said North Augusta head coach Drew Hummel. "We asked his family a few weeks ago if there any other schools out there they wanted to look at. They mentioned a few academic schools, and Duke specifically."
While the academic reputation will get them in the door, the Duke coaching staff knows to land such a high profile recruit will mean demonstrating a new found commitment to winning, something the program lacked under the previous regime. According to Hummel, that's just what's happening.
"From a football standpoint, Duke is also doing well. They have a new head coach (Ted Roof) and beat Georgia Tech last year. It's definitely a program on the rise. C.J. and his family are going to visit Duke this spring, just like they will with about every school in the Southeast area that has offered."
Byrd, who has already qualified for Division One competition thanks to a 3.1 grade point average and an 890 SAT score, says he understands the value placed on education, which is why Duke is among his early list.
"Academics are critical because no one can play football forever," he said. "I am working on getting my grades and test scores up. I want to score over 1050 at least."
Byrd has offers from Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, Ole Miss and North Carolina.
He has already camped at Auburn and Georgia, and is likely to camp at South Carolina this summer while taking other unofficial visits before narrowing his list for official trips.