"I have not visited the campus yet, but the plan is to make a visit on June 18th and then do their camp on the 19th," said van der Wal. "I've been in contact with the coaches a lot online and my dad and I call them with any questions we may have. They have really done a lot of hand written letters and other things."
With offers from schools all over the country, the three star prospect says he's planning a national road trip this coming week with the Blue Devils as a middle stop.
"I've been blessed with offers from schools who all have something strong to offer. I recently camped at California and they have a great balance of academics and athletics. I'm taking my national tour starting next week and Duke will be in the middle. But they are not in the middle of my list. How could they be? I am coming from Los Angeles on my own to see Duke, and I plan to make my decision before my season begins."
Strong words that appear to bode well for the Duke program, but what is it about Duke that seems to be so attractive to van der Wal? The answer starts at the top.
"Having Coach Cutcliffe at the helm tells me Duke's administration is committing to having at least one more National Championship program. If he can do 1/10th of what he was done for the Manning family, I would be forever grateful. Everything he does screams commitment. When I was at Cal one of the coaches said he is an incredible coach and "he can put it together". It speaks volumes when your competition is talking you up."
Aside from coaching, there are a few factors that will tell the tale in this recruiting process and it would appear as though Duke earns strong marks in each.
"Education has to be the first priority. There are no guarantees with football. Injuries, coaches leaving, and that kind of thing. You have to be committed to the University. At Duke I see the opportunity to be part of a program that is building like their basketball program did. How cool would it be to be part of the first National Football Champion at Duke?"
When asked for a self-scouting report, van deer Wal provides the following:
"I love to compete! I have goo size and run good routes as a tight end. I am a versatile athlete with good hands who can get open and make plays down the field. I don't' quit and have a good motor. I have also played defensive end and recorded 16 sacks, 70 tackles and a pick-six. I need to work on my patience on the field."