Huge OL Prospect Has Duke In Top 2

One of the lessons learned so far in the 2004 season is that you need depth in the trenches. And while the Devils have seen injury decimate their lines on both sides this year, there is a conscience effort on going with eyes on adding more big bodies to the roster. Including one of the biggest in the class of 2005.

Sporting offers from Duke and Nevada, with interest from a number of schools in his home region, Ben Loebner is enjoying the process of being recruited on a national scale.

"It's a lot of fun, and I'm enjoying hearing what the different schools have to say," said Loebner. "I've got the two offers from Duke and Nevada, and I'm always open to others."

And others seem to be warming to the 6-foot-8, 320 pounder from West Linn (OR) High as well.

"Right now my top two are Duke and Nevada, but I've heard from Idaho, Oregon, Oregon State, California, Washington, and Army. I'm not sure if I'll take all five official visits or not, but I might. It just depends on if I fall in love with the school or not."

Those potential visits will take place after West Linn completes the season later this fall. Once in the books, Loebner says he's hoping to have the process of selecting a school behind him no later than early January.

Both the Blue Devils and Wolfpack saw Loebner early on and quickly offered, which is why the big guy remains loyal to them. Despite recent struggles in both programs, Loebner forecasts better fortunes for both programs in the future.

"Both Duke and Nevada have new coaching staffs, so I don't think you can base your decision on what has happened in the past. I've talked to Coach Roof and Coach Yanowski and I think they are going to get things turned around there."

So does anything distinguish Duke and Nevada from the pack and, ultimately, from one another?

"Well it's hard not to like the idea of playing in the ACC against teams like Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, and the others. That's a big draw. The chance to play in the Pac 10 is almost on the same level. Plus they are one of the top schools in the country."

Despite having a positive impression of Duke early on, Loebner says he hasn't had a chance to visit Durham, but will do that "as soon as the season is over" to get the complete package and sales pitch from the Blue Devil staff.

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