Catching Up With Will Monday

When he committed to Duke earlier this year, not many Blue Devil fans knew what to make of Will Monday. After all it's not usually for specialist commitments to illicit a ton of excitement. However the Georgia prospect may be the exception to that rule.

Ask any coach about the importance of special teams and they'll quickly confirm that no good team has bad players at those positions. So when Duke landed Will Monday, the coaching staff was likely ecstatic. Over the past two seasons for Flowery Branch (Ga.) High the 6'3 prospect has averaged just over 42 yards per punt and has pinned opponents inside their own 20 eighteen times. He's got a career long of 66 yards already recorded and has converted 75 percent of his field goals including a long of 40. Various special teams rating services consider him among the top one or two punters in the country. And he's earned a nomination to the US Army game. In short, Duke's got themselves a big time player.

TDD spoke to Monday recently to find out more.

TDD: Are you happy to have the recruiting process out of the way?

Will Monday: Yes, because now I can focus on my senior year of high school.

Often times a commitment by a player to another school doesn't exactly signal the end of other schools coming at them. Has that been the case with you? If so, what are the other schools pitching to you?

The pitches have slowed, I still get a lot of interest letters but most of the coaches have backed off. I am respectful to those coaches that contact me and I inform them that my commitment to Duke is solid. I am a "Blue Devil".

Walk me through the recruiting process with Duke. What did you see/hear/etc that made you know that you'd be a Blue Devil.

The academics are obviously elite, and I was really impressed with Coach Cutcliffe's values and the staff he has put together at Duke. I also believe that Coach Zac Roper and Coach Middleton will help me to continue to improve, and put me in the best position to succeed.

Are you being recruited strictly as a punter or are they looking to have you do other things such as kick-offs, etc.

I'm being recruited strictly as a punter/holder and I will have a chance to compete for kick-off duties.

With a specialist I would assume it's "easier" to get on the field early. What have the coaches said to you in that regard? Do they see you competing for time as a freshman or is a redshirt in your future?

The coaches and I haven't really discussed a redshirt, so it appears to be the mutual expectation that I can come in and compete for a starting job as a freshman.

Have you taken any visits to Duke recently? Are any planned?

My first visit was for the Duke-Carolina game at Cameron Indoor. We met the coaching staff and saw the campus that afternoon, and Coach Cutcliffe offered me a scholarship in his office right before we went over to Cameron.

My next visit was for the Duke Spring Game. Duke had 150+ recruits, but Coach Cut took the time to visit with me and my family, and we decided that Duke was the best place for me academically and athletically. When we were getting ready to leave and the elevator came to take us down, I told my parents that we needed to go back, I wanted to play football for Coach Cutcliffe and Duke.

Most recently, I attended a Duke Summer camp and worked with Coach Roper. It was a good chance to get a feel for his coaching style and to gauge the coaches' expectations.

What are you planning on studying when you arrive at Duke?

I haven't decided on a major yet, but I am excited about the opportunities Duke offers.

Walk me through the commitment process. Who called whom? What did your parents say? What was their counsel?

I committed in person after the Spring game, My parents were a little shocked when I was ready to committ and they agreed that I had made the decision that was best for me. Throughout the process my parents were very supportive, and they were obviously an important part of the entire process.

What was the general reaction from your friends, coaches, and teammates? A lot of people were surprised that I chose Duke over some of the other schools that had shown interest, and that I had committed so early. One of my coaches/advisers told me at the beginning of the process, "once you get what you want, take it." Duke was exactly what I wanted academically and after meeting Coach Cutcliffe the decision was easy.

Tell me about yourself off the field.

I study and practice a lot. I enjoy playing golf and listening to music. I didn't start playing football until my freshman year in high school. I grew up playing soccer and played varsity soccer my first two years of high school, I also played basketball my freshman year. I focused on football after my sophomore year and the hard work is paying off. I have been named as a captain for my team during my senior season.

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