""I am solid on Duke. [The decision] may come as a shock to people, with my ties to NC State. My dad went there and I've been to every game since I could walk. But, this was a decision that needed to be made without the emotional aspect. Making it on pure emotion wouldn't have seen the big picture. A free education to Duke is impossible to pass up. A lot will look at the decision and wonder why I'd chose Duke over State, but with our recruiting class we're going to start winning big."
Blue Devil certainly had reason to feel good after Greene's surprise decision, but no-one could have predicted the avalanche of commitments that would occur in the next 24 hours.
It started with Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek defensive end Brandon Putnam following through on his promise to commit before his senior season began. The 6-foot-3, 260lbs prospect picked the Blue Devils over offers from Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Minnesota, and Vanderbilt.
"Coach Cutcliffe made me feel at home. He's my kind of coach," said Putnam. "Coach Cutcliffe showed me the most interest of any other coach, and their recruiting coordinators showed me the most interest, too. Duke now has one of the best coaching staffs in the ACC."
As a junior, Putnam helped Sandy Creek to the second round of the playoffs. From the defensive end position he totaled 62 tackles (nine for a loss), five sacks, three pass deflections, and one fumble recovery.
Shortly after the news of Putnam's commitment hit, Duke got another shot in the arm along the defensive line as sleeper prospect Syndey Sydney Sarmiento out of West Florence (S.C.) High announced his commitment.
Measuring out at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, Sarmiento projects to move inside as a defensive tackle when he arrives in Durham next season. He carries a 3.8 grade point average and has a personal best forty time of 4.8 seconds. Asa junior he recorded 64 tackles with 7.5 sacks for West Florence High. All that was good enough to warrant an offer and a Tuesday visit which was all he needed. Sarmiento chose Duke over an offer from Buffalo and interest from Clemson, South Carolina, and others.
The third defensive lineman to verbal to Duke was the final commitment of the night in the form of Raleigh (N.C.) Victory Christian Center School defensive end Justin Foxx.
The 6-foot-4, 220 pounder chose Duke over an offer from NC State and West Virginia. As a junior Foxx posted 11.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles, which had fueled interest from other schools such as Clemson, North Carolina, and Vanderbilt. In the end, however, Foxx believed the education and potential to see the field early in his career was too much to pass up.
"I felt really comfortable with all the coaches and players," said Foxx. "And the education is something you can't beat. I'm looking to going in and working hard and hopefully making an early impact."
Sticking with the defensive theme of the day, Duke added a tremendously athletic prospect to the outside linbacker ranks when Bahamian native August Campbell called the coaches from the Bahamas and offered his verbal pledge as well.
"I'm actually home right now, and I've been talking it over with my family and the decision was very easy for me," said Campbell. "My number one reason for leaving home and going to school in the US was to see what kind of opportunities there were for me - I'm very excited."
Though he's only played organized football for two seasons, Campbell's natural athleticism and speed are unmistakeable. He measures out at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds with a personal best forty time of 4.46. The lack of experience in organized football doesn't bother Campbell now that he's a future Blue Devil.
"One thing I really liked about Duke was the way they teach the game. I was at camp and they didn't just yell. They made sure you understood what they were saying so you could improve."
As a junior Campbell recorded 74 tackels, 5 sacks, 1 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, and scored two touchdowns.
The final defensive commitment of the day was the easiest to predict. After announcing that he would be committing to Duke on Tuesday, Lilburn (Ga.) defensive back Kadeem Wise followed through by calling Coach Derek Jones and Coach Matt Luke with the news.
"The coaching staff was the big key for me," said Wise of his decision. "It's no longer gonna be looked at as a basketball school. Coach Cutcliffe has a very good plan for the team. Their program will be turned around tremendously. I wanna be a part of that."
Wise is clear that his commitment to the Blue Devils is rock solid and he will not be taking any more visits, meaning suitors such as Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Indiana, and Vanderbilt will be moving on to other prospects.
Though the offensive unit received just one commitment out of the seven that popped in the last 24 hours, that one was a big time "get".
Rated as the No. 12 overall prospect in Dade County by the Miami Herald, Vernon has been clocked running a 4.4 forty and chose the Blue Devils over offers from Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Mississippi, and Syracuse. As a junior he tallied 38 catches for 635 yards and five scores. Once again the combination of academics and the new coaching staff did the trick.
"At the end of the day it was too much of an educational opportunity to pass up and I really like and respect the coaching staff and what they can do for me." Vernon is visiting Vanderbilt on Wednesday, but expects to remain committed to Duke.
The day nearly got better late when rumors of a potential commitment from Maryland athlete Anthony Young-Wiseman began to surface. However, such talk proved to be premature as the 6-foot-1, 195 athlete's visit went well but did not result in a commitment.
"I visited Duke today and I was very impressed with everything I saw. The coaches are very committed and capable of making the kind of changes that need to happen in the program. After visiting there I can really see myself playing for them for the next few years."
"As of right now I have not committed anywhere. Before this visit I was thinking about doing it after my season, but now I think it'll be done before my senior year so I can enjoy that last ride."
With his senior season kicking off in less than three weeks, Young-Wiseman admits there's not much time and he's seen all he needs to see.
"I'm not going to take any more visits. I think I have enough information to make the right decision."
The flurry of commitments brings the total of known verbal commitments to 18, with a staggering eight commitments coming from North Carolina. By comparison, the Blue Devils landed eight in-state commitments combined from the classes of 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.