Duke On the Verge With Top QB?

As one of our more infamous message board posters puts it, "You need pitchers and catchers" on offense to be successful these days in the ACC. After a long road the Blue Devils appear to be on the verge of landing one of the class of 2005's most elite passers pending this weekend's visit.

"If I like what the coaching staff has to say and I like their plans for me then I'll probably go ahead and commit to Duke this weekend," says Salesianum School standout quarterback Gene Delle Donne. "Or I'll at least come very close once the weekend is over, but I have my parents' blessing to commit if I want to."

With that endorsement it's hard to imagine the Blue Devils not pulling out all the stops for the 6-foot-5, 225 pound signal caller who is also considering Georgia, Boston College, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State.

Already Delle Donne has had a chance to meet and speak with Duke head coach Ted Roof, which left a big impression on the talented junior. In fact it may have started him on a slope towards a commitment.

"First of all the staff Coach Roof has assembled there is one of the best in the country as far as I am concerned. Also he's just a great guy who's been up front and honest with me throughout the entire process. I like the way he's dealt with me and talked with me about how I play the game."

While he's had a chance to get an impression of Roof, Delle Donne admits he's yet to have a chance to speak with quarterbacks coach Tom Knotts, but that meeting will be critical for Gene's decision making process.

"I'm looking forward to talking to Coach Knotts and their offensive coordinator. I think I'll excel the most in a spread style offense or a west coast type of situation. I want to learn more about what they have in store for me, and if I like that then I'll probably go ahead and do it."

Aside from meeting the coaches and learning more about Duke football, Delle Donne says he's interested in seeing the Durham campus and the school.

"I think we arrive Friday and I'll get a chance to see the campus and the student body. I'll also have a chance to see the school and learn more about it. I already know that getting a degree from Duke University would mean I was set for the future because the education there is second to none."

As a junior Gene threw for more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns against four interceptions in just nine games as a starter.

Considered to have one of the strongest arms in the class, he's also able to avoid the rush and make opposing defenses miss and is a load to bring down with his big frame.

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."

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

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