First Recruiting Event Under Cutcliffe Set

When head coach David Cutcliffe took over the Duke program he made it clear that he wasn't going to settle for the status quo on the recruiting front. Instead he was going to pursue the best of the best. That proclamation has turned into a driving force as Duke will host several big time talents this weekend including the nation's 13th best defensive end - Sean Stanley

Nearly 30 high school prospects will be on campus this weekend for the program's version of Junior Day - many hailing from North Carolina as Cutcliffe's second promise of recruiting "from the inside-out" is also manifested.

Perhaps the biggest of the big timers is Gaithersburg Maryland defensive end prospect Sean Stanley, who has been offered by Duke and is considered the nation's 13th best defensive end prospect and a four star player.

The trip for Stanley will be used as a preliminary fact finding mission as the 6'2, 245lbs prospect has very little knowledge of the Duke program. That will need to change quickly if the Blue Devils are going to have a shot since Stanley sports more than a dozen offers. Schools joining Duke in the scholarship arena include Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland, West Virginia, Syracuse, Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee. Still, Stanley is going to take it all in stride.

"It's just something that I am trying to sort through, because it's a lot of teams and you want to make sure you are looking at everyone closely," he said.

In-state signal caller Corey Gattis of Hillside High in Durham will also be in attendance this weekend. The 5'10, 170lbs prospect is being recruited much as several of Cutcliffe's late additions to the class of 2008 were - as an athlete. Gattis certainly fills that mold after clocking in at the latest combine with a 4.4 forty time.

Continuing the trend of quarterbacks who can play all over the field, Cutcliffe's staff is bringing in Antone Exum - a 6'1, 190 pound Virginian who played quarterback a season ago, but is considered to be a big time safety prospect as well. Like many of the other prospects on this list, Exum has already received a Duke offer and is hearing from the usual suspects in the high major recruiting grounds of Virginia including UVa, Va. Tech, Maryland, and West Virginia.

Brandon Bailey (6'1, 180, RB) out of West Springfield High in Springfield, Va. will also be in attendance. As a junior he carried 230 times for 1438 yards and 14 touchdowns in 12 games. He led the Northern Region in rushing, was chosen as first-team All-District at running back and was also first-team All-Northern Region and honorable mention All-Met by the Washington Post. He also caught 26 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns and returned seven kickoffs for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Bailey's coach, Bill Renner, is very high on his rising senior prospect, saying: "Brandon is an explosive running back who also excels as a pass receiver. He has track speed to go along with his excellent lateral movement which makes him a threat to go for a touchdown every time he touches the ball. His versatility in being able to run or catch fits perfect in our spread offense. He can run or catch with the best at both positions in the Northern Region and the Metro area."

Another prospect from "just up the road" that plans to attend is 6'5, 225lbs defensive end prospect Parker Thomas of Mount Tabor High in Winston Salem, N.C. Thomas, who has already received offers from Duke and East Carolina, is also fielding heavy interest from North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Virginia, and Clemson.

"His motor never stops running," Mount Tabor head football coach Barry Stewart said of Thomas. "We have a hard time keeping him calmed down even on the sidelines."

Just east of Thomas lives another Blue Devil target scheduled to make the 90 minute drive to Durham in the form of 6'5, 285lbs offensive tackle Dash Wyatt. The Greensboro, N.C. product out of Northwest Guilford High School is being courted by North Carolina, Duke, NC State, East Carolina, and Wake Forest and will be looking for his first offer.

Traditional in-state power Richmond County High School produces another big timer in the form of linebacker Justin Jackson. The 6'1, 205 pound prospect with 4.5 forty speed has flown somewhat under the radar heading into the camping season, but that all changed last week when Wake Forest offered. Since then Jackson has seen interest ramp up from teams such as NC State, East Carolina, Duke, and South Carolina.

Jackson put together a very strong junior season for Richmond County, totaling 133 tackles and one interception on the season. This summer, the 3.0 student plans to attend several camps and combines including N.C. State's camp, a NIKE Combine, and the Shrine Bowl Combine.

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