Blue Devils Land Huge Lineman

Ben Loebner made a promise to the Duke football coaches, a promise that was fulfilled in the form of an official visit to Durham and a verbal commitment by the 6-9, 320-pound offensive tackle from West Linn, Oregon.

"They have been interested in me for a long time," Loebner told Monday afternoon. "They are almost done with their recruiting, but they did need one more lineman. They wanted me to come back out there and check it out and I couldn't make a decision until I got back there. As soon as the season ended, I promised them I would go back there the next weekend, so that's how it worked out."

Ben and his parents flew into Durham Thursday night but his visit didn't start until Friday afternoon. "Friday I went and met with a bunch of the academic people, a couple of the Deans and that President. I learned a lot about the school. The team goes to a hotel the night before the game, so I went to all the meetings and stayed there. Saturday I woke up and went to the game (North Carolina) with them. Then we went to a basketball game (v. Tennessee-Martin), which was really cool. Those guys (Cameron Crazies) ARE crazy. On Sunday I got to see more of the facilities and talked with the strength coach.

"I really enjoyed the coaches before I visited, but I needed to get back there and make sure that it felt right. I knew, after about a half-hour, I could just feel that that's where I wanted to go. i'm pretty stoked about it."

Zack Maurides was his player host. "It was nice getting to talk to him because it seems like everybody else is just want to sell you, but the players seem honest about it," said Loebner. He (Maurides) was telling me how much the players believe in coach Roof and his staff. He came in half-way through last year and right away he won three games. The competition level in the ACC is pretty big and we want a chance to win the ACC."

So what was it about the Duke experience that clinched it for Loebner? "It was mostly a gut feel, but I also wanted to make sure that I wasn't just going to school with a bunch of smart guys," he said. "I got to go there and see all the different types of people that were there. Being on campus and the feeling there - it just felt right. That's all I can say - it felt right."

The Blue Devil coaches may have been the most surprised by Loebner's commitment. "I don't think they thought I was going to go," he said. " Coach (Ted) Roof was like, 'Really? You mean I don't have to sell you?', and Coach (Don) Yanowsky, I think he almost fell out of his chair. They were very excited."

They let Loebner know of their future plans for him. "They are planning on redshirting me my first year, and then maybe I might start or be a backup as a freshman, be a valuable role player," he said.

Ben Loebner Scout Profile

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