An emphasis on defensive linemen produced seven overall players including tackle Vince Oghobaase, the top-rated member of the class. Oghobaase, who enrolled at Duke last month, is a prep All-America and tabbed the seventh-top defensive tackle in the country by Scout.com and the 11th-best by Tom Lemming of ESPN.com. The 6-6, 335-pound native of Houston, Texas, picked up 68 tackles and 12 sacks during his senior campaign and will be joined on the defensive interior by Joe Suder, a 6-6, 340-pound product of Reno, Nev., who recorded 46 tackles and 13 sacks in just eight games in 2004.
At defensive end, Ayanga Okpokowuruk joins the program from Charlotte, N.C., via The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tenn. He is rated as the top defensive end coming out of Tennessee and the 17th-best overall in the nation by Scout.com. Other ends include Norman Gee, an all-league selection at Severna Park (Md.) High School before helping Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy to an 8-3 season in 2004, Ryan Radloff, who helped Charlotte (N.C.) Latin to a state title in 2003 prior to registering 95 tackles and 10 sacks at Hilton Head (S.C.) Christian this past fall, Clifford Respress, who is rated as the 22nd-top strongside defensive end in the country by Rivals.com following a 56-tackle, five-sack senior season at Lamar (Ga.) County High School, and Kinney Rucker, who represented North Carolina in the annual Shrine Bowl following a 95-tackle, 11-sack campaign at Jordan High School in Durham.
The three future Duke linebackers are Greg Akinbiyi (60 tackles & six sacks as Chaminade-Madonna [Fla.] went 11-1), Michael Brown (Two-time all-district pick at Alief [Texas] Taylor) and Paul Thornton (Two-time all-district pick and member of Katy [Texas] team that won state title in 2003). Rounding out the defensive side of the ball is Glenn Williams, who projects as a cornerback after logging 77 tackles, five interceptions and 28 pass breakups over his final two seasons as Archbishop (Md.) Curley captured back-to-back conference championships.
A pair of highly-rated quarterbacks in Zack Asack and Gene Delle Donne signed with the Blue Devils. The son of Phil Asack, a 1971 Duke graduate who played professionally with the NFL's San Diego Chargers, Zack Asack is listed as the 35th-best quarterback in the nation by Scout.com. He received all-state honors after throwing for 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior at Xaverian (Mass.) Brothers High School. Delle Donne, an All-America choice by Super Prep magazine and the 22nd-top quarterback in the country according to Rivals.com, was a two-year team captain and threw for over 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns in his prep career. In 2004, he earned Delaware's Gatorade State Player of the Year honor after throwing for 1,590 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The multi-talented Marcus Jones will enter Duke as an athlete after playing quarterback, wide receiver, punter, linebacker and safety at Southeast (Ga.) Whitfield High School. He is listed as the 19th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com and the 40th-top wide receiver in the country by Scout.com. As a senior, Jones threw for over 1,000 yards while rushing for an additional 500 yards.
Duke's offensive backfield will get a lift from running backs Re'quan Boyette, Clifford Harris and Peter Shaheen. Boyette, who joined Rucker in representing North Carolina in the annual Shrine Bowl this past December, rushed for 1,930 yards as a senior at Wilson Fike High School. Harris is listed as the 37th-best running back in the nation by Scout.com and picked up 1,600 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns and district offensive player of the year honors in 2004 as L.W. Higgins (La.) High School earned a state playoff bid. Shaheen, the nephew of former Blue Devil All-America Bob Pascal, earned all-prep honors after leading The Lawrenceville (N.J.) School to a 7-2 ledger in 2004.
The lone offensive lineman in the class is Ben Loebner, a 6-9, 320-pound native of West Linn, Ore., where he captained his high school team to the state playoffs as a senior. In addition, Loebner is ranked as the third-best offensive lineman and the eighth-top overall prospect in Oregon by Scout.com.
Another deep position group of the class is the receiving unit with five members: Raphael Chestnut (70 receptions for 1,209 yards and 13 TDs in 2004; member of two state title teams at Reidsville (N.C.) High School), Marvin Marcelin (First team all-state pick in Florida [1A] after catching 15 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns and recording 41 tackles and five interceptions), Eron Riley (34 receptions for 381 yards and five touchdowns in 2004), Kris Stubbs (All-conference pick at Lake Worth [Fla.] Community High School) and Ryan Wood (Helped Buford [Ga.] High School to 45 straight wins and three state crowns from 2001-03).
On special teams, kicker Joe Surgan joins the program following an outstanding prep career that saw him rank sixth all-time in the state of Florida for both career field goals (26) and career points (177). As a senior, he was 15-of-18 on field goal attempts and perfect on 40 PAT conversions as St. Thomas Aquinas went 12-2 and advanced to the state finals. A first team all-state pick, Surgan is charted as the fourth-best kicker in the nation by Scout.com.