Devils Hosting Big OL Target

As was the case last season, the Blue Devils are looking to rebuild the offensive depth chart along the O-line. With depth being the ultimate reward, head coach Ted Roof and company are looking for not only quality players, but those who can play early on in their careers. One such prospect has been called on the top recruits on the board by program insiders – and he's on campus this week.

"I'm flying down to Duke on Tuesday," says Melrose High lineman John Needham. "My parents and I will get down there around lunch time and we'll stay until Wednesday evening. I'm looking forward to getting down there and learning exactly what Duke is all about and deciding if I think I can spend the next four years in North Carolina at a place like Duke."

Needham, who measures up at 6-foot-7 and 312 pounds has been clocked with a 5.5 forty time. His weight room numbers are also impressive as he boasts a 275 pound power clean; 310 pound bench press; and 375 pound squat. Those numbers, along with his size, have allowed Needham to dominate his high school competition to this point and earn interest from a number of schools.

"At this time I have offers from Duke and UMass. Boston College has told me that they will use their camp on the 26th as a tryout for an offer – we both think that's what'll happen. They only offer their linemen after camps with evaluation periods."

The Eagles, who Needham has previously named as a leader, have some serious competition from the Blue Devils it would appear.

"I've also got offers from most of the Ivy League, but when you look at it – Duke is basically an Ivy League education, but you're playing in the ACC. That means you're getting one of the top five educations in the country and you're playing the nation's best competition with the Miami's, Florida States, and those kinds of schools. It really gives Duke the whole package as far as school and football. A degree from Duke pretty much guarantees you a good job after college and after football."

While the allure of a Duke degree is something that will weigh heavily on Needham's mind when it comes to making a decision, the Blue Devils' future on the gridiron is something that has also caught his attention.

"With Duke you have to look at their roster before you pass judgment. They have a lot of young players on the roster. When you look who is playing it's a lot of their redshirt freshmen, sophomores, and even true freshmen. That's something that would be awesome – to go in anywhere and have a chance to start and play early in my career."

While Needham has been a force throughout much of his high school career, he is aware that wherever he ends up – he'll need to continue to work hard to become a more complete player.

"In high school when you're 6'7 and over 300 pounds, you are going to be a lot stronger than most of your opponents. Even so, I make myself concentrate and practice on my footwork and technique every change I get. I consider myself a leader on the field – I'm always working on always being in control and aware of what my team needs. I have to put in the time on the basics and set an example."

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