Roper Enjoyed His Visit To Duke

While taking on the Yellow Jackets over the weekend, the Blue Devils were also playing host to one of the top quarterback prospects in the region as Buford (GA) signal caller Justin Roper was in the house for an unofficial visit. On Tuesday night the 6-foot-6 Roper sat down with TDD to update his recruitment and recap his time in Durham.

"I had a great time at Duke over the weekend," says Justin Roper. "When I got to campus I got a text message from Coach Roof to come on up to his office. That was just phenomenal because he all his game day preparation to go through, but he still made time to talk with me for 20 minutes."

"He and my dad go back a long way since both of my parents went to Georgia Tech and he and Coach O'Brien both played there. One of the main things he told me about the game was not to judge them on what I saw on the field Saturday, but to judge them on what they and I should expect to see."

That's certainly a novel approach, but given Duke's lackluster second half performance, wasn't it a bit tough to see through what is there and look forward to what may be there in a year or two?

"In part it is. I mean things may not work out. Look at them this year – their top two recruits from last year haven't played yet because of injuries. That could happen next year as well. One thing Coach Roof told me is that they have to recruit to build themselves back up. My class and maybe the one behind us would be the ticket to put them over the top."

Of course that would mean shaking some bad luck and avoiding injuries to key members of the recruiting class – a departure from this season when the Blue Devils lost star defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase before he played a down. However, the big Texas native certainly made an impression on Roper.

"He was there and was walking around in street clothes. That guy is just huge. He looks like he should be playing in Charlotte on Sundays. If I go to Duke, I'm glad I get to wear the green practice jersey, because he looks like he can do some damage."

Oghobaase wasn't the only Blue Devil who impressed Roper on his visit as Duke commit Sheldon Bell, the 6-foot-6 wideout from Maryland, had a chance to meet and talk with Roper.

"He's a really great guy and we had a chance to meet and get to know one another. That guy is really, really tall for a receiver. I'm 6-foot-7 in shoes, and when my dad had us stand back to back to see who's taller, I only got him by a hair."

Looking at the Blue Devils' roster may cause some concern for some high major quarterbacks, especially given the fact that Duke has brought in three signal callers last recruiting season. However, Roper says he's not worried; in fact Duke may have the most playing time to offer.

"They brought in three quarterbacks last year, but two of them could probably end up playing receiver and defensive back. So that means they only have one going forward. So I could come in and compete as a true freshman or, at worst, a redshirt freshman. That's a good and bad thing. I mean everyone wants to play early, but it's also good to learn the offense and have a chance to get comfortable before being thrown into the fire."

In addition to visiting Duke, Roper has been a traveling all over the country in recent weeks, and doesn't show signs of slowing down. He officially visited Louisville for their game with Oregon State and enjoyed the Cardinal's 63-27 thrashing of the Beavers.

"Watching that was a lot of fun for me. They have a great offensive scheme, and as a QB it was a lot of fun to watch. I also had a chance to meet and talk with the coaches there, who are all great guys."

"After that I went to the Tennessee game against Ole Miss. It was an amazing atmosphere in Knoxville. To see that many people out for one cause was fascinating to me. It was an early afternoon game, and I'm sure if it had been a night game it would have been even better, but it was still terrific."

Now with his unofficial to Duke behind him, Roper is planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest to take in the Oregon-California game later this month.

"It should be fun going out there. They are still on my list with Duke, Louisville, Tennessee, and Maryland. I really like Coach Friedgen and they are in contact with me a bunch. They want two quarterbacks in this class they believe."

Away from the recruiting trail Roper has led Buford to a perfect 8-0 record on the season while throwing for over 1,000 yards. His completion percentage hovers around 70% and he's thrown 10 touchdown passes against one interception.

"That interception bugs me a lot. We were in the rain and our receiver tipped the ball then tipped it again before the guy picked it off, but I'll take it. We're really throwing the ball a lot more efficiently this season. With Matt Pridemore as our running back, I'm getting single coverage on the wideouts and I've got time to look around and pick my spots."

Speaking of the future Blue Devil, does Pridemore ever work on Roper for his future team?

"Not really. He'll get in a word here or there, but he knows this is my decision and I have to do what is best for me. He respects that, but he also knows that Duke would be a terrific option for me, and he reminds me of that when he can."


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