Daniels A High Priority For Duke

The defensive backfield is a point of emphasis for the Duke coaching staff in the recruiting class of 2008. One of the top targets at the safety position hails from one of Duke's most fertile recruiting grounds over the last three years.

Measuring in at 6-foot-1, and 195 pounds with a 4.5 recorded forty time, Fayette County (Ga.) RB/S Matt Daniels is one of the highest rated prospects on the Blue Devils' recruiting board. As one of the handful of juniors who made an unofficial visit to Duke's junior day over the weekend, Daniels had a chance to get to know a program that has been on him for a while.

"The visit went great for me and my family," said Matt Daniels. "The campus was really nice, and I like the coaches a lot. I really was impressed with the academic presentation they had for me. Duke is one of the top five schools in the country, and they graduate something like 97% of their football players every year."

The academic side of the recruiting process will no doubt play a role in Daniels' decision. Entering the second semester of his junior season, he maintains a perfect 4.0 grade point average and says the main factor in his decision will be the quality of education he receives.

"That's something that is very important for me. I can play football anywhere, but eventually my playing days will be over and I'll need to have something to fall back on."

After arriving on campus the players were split into offensive and defensive meetings with a chance to meet and speak to the coaches at their respective positions, as well as their recruiting coaches. For Matt that meant a chance to talk with assistant Glenn Spencer.

"Coach Spencer has been great throughout the process. He's very honest with me about everything. They are straight up about the fact that they have struggled in the last few years, and they know they are close to turning it around. Last season they had only five seniors and they will only have 15 this season. But they first few classes are getting older and stronger now and will be third year players, so things are looking up very soon."

Though he's a highly qualified student, Daniels is also a very good looking prospect, as any of his opponents in Georgia will tell you. As a junior he rushed 200 times for more than 1,300 yards and 20 TDs for Fayette County. Defensively he's a ferocious hitter at the safety position, logging 40 tackles, 26 assists, and one interception in 2006.

"I really like playing safety. The ability to throw my body around and tee off on guys who come across the middle is the best part of that position. I go out there and am aggressive while trying to hit very hard."

In addition to picking up a Blue Devil offer early in the process, Daniels reports and offer from Georgia Tech, as well as "heavy interest" from schools such as Tennessee, Wake Forest, and Auburn. As for the key components in his decision, he's already thought that out:

"The most important factors for me will be academics. After that I want a coaching staff I can trust, and I want to play in either the SEC or ACC. I like this region of the country. I will also be looking at the depth chart - I'd like to play early in my career."

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