Ever since he took over, head coach David Cutcliffe has made a point to recruit the state of North Carolina very hard. In 2010 he has pulled in five of the top 40 prospects in the Old North State as of August 30th.
The class is headlined by three star cornerback Jamison Crowder out of Monroe (N.C.). The 5-foot-9 Crowder chose Duke over offers from East Carolina, North Carolina, and Wake Forest and is considered the 21st best player in the state regardless of position and the state's No. 2 rated corner.
Lenoir running back Kaylen Pearson checks in as the state's No. 25 overall prospect and the second ranked RB in the state. Pearson chose Duke early on citing a relationship with his older brother, Duke senior Damian Thornton. Pearson is rated as a three star prospect.
A pair of linebackers are next with Charlotte area OLB Kyler Brown (No. 34) and Gastonia MLB Zeek Bigger (No. 38) both garnering three star ratings by Scout. Bigger is considered the state's second best middle linebacker, while Brown is ranked as the sixth best outside linebacker.
Rounding out the state rankings in North Carolina is Duke's Jalen Simmons - a tailback out of Charlotte. Considered a two star prospect in the ratings system, Simmons was the third commitment in the class of 2010 for the Blue Devils and chose Duke over interest from North Carolina, NC State, and Clemson.
The Peach state has yielded two future Blue Devils in the class of 2010 state rankings. Considered one of the power recruiting states, Georgia garners a top 100 ranking from Scout with the top 92 prospects ranked as three star players or better.
The first Duke commitment checks in at No. 51 in the ford of Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson CB Jared Boyd. The 5-10, 170 pound speedster has earned the reputation of a big time cover corner with excellent feet. Boyd chose Duke over a number of high major offers including Stanford, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Memphis, Indiana, and Southern Miss and is considered the sixth best corner in the Peach State.
Chris Tavarez, who missed the entire camp and summer scene due to shooting a movie abroad, checks in at No. 96 in Georgia. At 5-11 and 190 pounds the Atlanta native chose Duke over offers from Kentucky, Maryland, Tulane, and the Ivy League schools. He is projected as a strong safety when he arrives in Durham.
Defensive end Mario Sanders is Duke's lone representative among the top players in the Palmetto State. The 6-4, 215 pound Sanders checks in as the state's No. 26 overall prospect and the third best defensive end. Sanders was the second player from 2010 to pick Duke - doing so in February. He picked Duke over early recruitment by a host of other programs including Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia, Stanford, Northwestern, LSU, Aubrun, Alabama, Colorado, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, and Michigan State.
With roots in Tennessee, it's not surprise that Cutcliffe has a strong recruiting presence in the Volunteer state. In 2010 he's pulled in three commitments, though one has since opted out of his commitment in favor of Tennessee.
The highest rated player is three star offensive lineman Lucas Patrick. Patrick is considered the third best offensive guard in the state and the No. 14 overall prospect according to Scout. Patrick chose Duke over offers from Middle Tennessee, Memphis, Arkansas, Western Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and others.
Outside linebacker David Helton is the second commitment to stick for the Blue Devils. The 6-3, 215 pound Chattanooga prospect picked Duke over offers from Georgia Tech, Syracuse, and Northwestern in June. He is considered the state's 28th best prospect regardless of position and the third best player at his position.