Duke Lands Another QB

Corona (Calif.) Santiago quarterback Brandon Connette is returning to the state he was born, North Carolina, to play his college ball, committing to the Blue Devils earlier this week.

Corona (Calif.) Santiago quarterback Brandon Connette is heading back to where he got his start.

Born in Charlotte, Connette made his college commitment and he's going to play in the ACC at Duke.

"I committed to Duke on Monday," said Connette. "I talked to Coach (Kurt) Roper and then got a chance to Coach Cut (David Cutcliffe) later on because he was on a flight. Coach Cutcliffe has a great history of coaching NFL quarterbacks, Duke has new facilities coming up and I loved the coaching staff."

An excellent student, the academics at Duke also were a key cog in Connette's decision.

"I'm really big on the academic side and their engineering program is one of the top five in the country," said Connette. "Stanford had offered and it had all the academic side as well, but the level of comfort at Duke was greater."

Connette wasn't planning an early decision, but he couldn't shake the feeling for Duke.

"I wasn't originally planning to make my decision until at least early in the summer, but I talked to my parents and a bunch of my peers about it and just felt like God was pushing me in the right direction. Now I'm no longer having to worry about where I'm going. It was a fun experience but now it's nice because I can focus on my senior year."

The idea of playing in the ACC was something that also stood out to Connette, who's no stranger to playing elite talent, starting at quarterback for the Sharks, who play in one of the toughest leagues on the West Coast.

"This area is really a ground for D-I schools to come in and especially going to the ACC, with schools like Florida State, Miami and Boston College, the league is fast, but I think I'll be ready," said Connette.

And Connette is hopeful to get in the mix early.

"Their quarterback is a senior so the coaches said that they'll give everyone an equal opportunity next spring," said Connette.

Connette was able to throw in front of Roper, the Devils offensive coordinator, and made an impression.

"Coach Kurt Roper was able to come out and saw me throw. He really liked me and he's got a great reputation and then you have Coach Cut and his history of quarterbacks. Coach Cut said they are trying to find the athletes to lead them to an ACC championship and he's already put in a place a great coaching staff and he proved in the SEC at Tennessee and Ole Miss what he can do," said Connette.

Connette was in Durham back at the beginning of the spring, and took an unofficial visit.

"I went at the beginning of Spring Break and I got to see a practice and see a little scrimmage and walk around," said Connette. "I'm hoping to get tighter with the coaching staff too."

Connette said he's also excited about the bonus of being a Duke student: getting to watch games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"That will definitely be a fun part of the offseason," said Connette. "It's a big program with a lot of tradition and a fun part of Duke. Now that didn't affect my decision but it's a nice bonus."

This is the third straight year the Devils have landed a Western quarterback, getting Sean Renfree two years ago and Sean Schroeder last year.

"I've met Sean Schroeder and it's a pretty interesting thing that they have all these quarterbacks from out here," said Connette.

Connette is planning on a couple of passing tournament this year, and will be at the Scout.com Combine in Los Angeles at the end of this month.


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