Devils In the Running For Blue Chip OL

After stocking up on high level defensive lineman a season ago, the Duke Blue Devils have turned their attention to bringing in several high level offensive linemen to bolster what many consider the weakest unit in the program. Perhaps the most vital need is at center where Duke is hot on the trail of one of the nation's best prospects. With the opportunity to go anywhere, it's clear that Duke will have to stay on Daniel Wegner to earn a huge commitment.

Currently holding dozens of offers while being rated as a four star prospect, Daniel Wenger has his pick of high major college programs. However a select seven programs continue to maintain their status as having the inside track.

"Right now you could say my list consists of Duke, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Purdue, LSU, and Pittsburgh," said Wenger. "I'm at the point where I am going to sit down and try to decide which schools I want to visit officially."

Allotted five official visits, Wenger admits it's going to be hard to differentiate the schools enough to select those five trips.

"Right now all the schools are basically telling me the same thing. Every program needs a center and all of them believe I have the ability to come in and play at a high level. A couple schools are saying I could split time at guard and center."

To the average football fan the recruitment of a high caliber lineman may look good, but the true value of such a player may go unnoticed. However, Wenger is quick to point out the value of knowing the game as a center.

"As a center I have to make calls at the line based on what the defense is doing. I have to read their formation and call for double teams, for people to pick up linebackers, and even defensive backs. If I misread or don't do my job, then the QB is put under pressure and has no time to deliver the pass."

That's where the Duke coaching staff comes into the picture. After dropping their first two games of the season with an offensive line that has been porous, Wenger has been elevated to the top of the recruiting board in the Yoh Center. Still, Duke hasn't enjoyed a tenth of the success of the other schools on Wenger's list and thusly stick out when mentioned. So what is fueling the big man's interest in the Devils?

"The thing with Duke is the academics are better than anyone on my list. You just can't beat the education you can get by going to school there. As far as football goes, they brought in a great class last year and have already started very strongly with this year's class. They are recruiting me about as perfectly as anyone could. They aren't pushing anything on me or trying to pressure anything. They tell me that no matter what I choose they will be proud of me and they know I'll make the right choice."

While Wenger talks to the coaches from all the schools on his list quite frequently, he's also been in contact with former teammate and current Blue Devil kicker Joe Surgan during this past few months.

"Joe and I are pretty tight. He's told me all about Duke and how much they need a player like me to come in and contribute. He's convinced me that I could come in and make a big impact on that program."

So is the Duke coaching staff, as are the rest of the coaching staffs putting in time with Wenger. However, no matter which school he chooses Wenger doesn't expect to be playing next season.

"It would be an honor to play as an 18 year old freshman at the college level, but it doesn't make sense to do it. I'd be going against guys who have three and four years in a college weight program. I think it's better for me to redshirt next season. I'm going to work extremely hard next year off the field so that I can be able to play and play at a high level for the next four years."

When quizzed on which factors would play the biggest parts in his decision, Wegner was quick to point out his priority list:

"Education is the top priority on my list, then location and competition. I am going to college to get an education first and foremost. What I mean by location is that I want to go somewhere that I can fit in for the next four or five years of my life. And with competition I want to play against the best players in the country on the field and have great players pushing me to work harder in practice each day. You only get better by pushing yourself."

On the season Wenger has led his high school team to a 2-0 record while out-scoring their opponents 66-15 on the season.


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