Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Five Players to Watch - Duke Blue Devils

Demon Deacon Digest looks at five Duke players to watch Saturday when the Deacs take on the Blue Devils Saturday afternoon.

Aside from both posting victories, week one couldn’t have went much more different for Wake Forest and Duke.

The Deacs sputtered and stalled offensively, mounting just 175 total yards in a 7-3 Thursday night victory over Tulane.

The Blue Devils, however, steamrolled over hapless North Carolina Central in a 49-6 win. Duke gained 535 total yards, did all their scoring in the first half, and was able to play second and third string players most of the second half.

Here’s five Blue Devils to watch when the Deacs play them at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Durham.

Jela Duncan - Redshirt Senior Running Back - 5-foot-10, 215 pounds

Duncan is the Blue Devils leading returning rusher and a preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award for top running back in the country. He’s one of just five running backs in the ACC this year who have rushed for more than 1,500 yards and caught more than 500 yards of passes in their career.

Duncan rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns in 15 early-game carries against North Carolina Central.

Last year against the Deacs (Nov. 28, 2015) - 40 yards on nine carries, and two receptions for 17 yards.

A.J. Wolf - Redshirt Senior Defensive Tackle - 6-foot-4, 280 pounds

Wolf is the Blue Devils most experienced defensive lineman and leading returning tackler on the front seven. He’s also the best shot Duke has to harass the Wake quarterbacks Saturday. He had four tackles for loss, .5 sacks and three quarterback hurries in 2015.

Wolf had four tackles against North Carolina Central Saturday, including three tackles for loss.

Last year against the Deacs - one tackle

Daniel Jones - Redshirt Freshman Quarterback - 6-foot-5, 210 pounds

Jones let the first game come to him Saturday against North Carolina Central, allowing Duncan to do some of the grunt work early, but was an effective 10-for-15 passing for 189 yards and two touchdowns before being lifted as the game was put away.

Jones, of course, earned the starting nod after returning senior starter Thomas Sirk, who led the Blue Devils in both passing and rushing last season, had another surgery on his left Achilles tendon. He suffered the same injury to his right Achilles tendon in 2013.

Jones threw for nearly 7,000 yards in his three years leading the Charlotte Latin offense, and took them to the private school state championship game twice.

We’ll have a deeper look at Jones later this week from a special guest to Demon Deacon Digest.

Last year against the Deacs - Was redshirted and did not play

DeVon Edwards - Redshirt Senior Safety - 5-foot-9, 180 pounds

Edwards is the leading returning tackler for the Blue Devils, with 101 total tackles in 2015 to go along with six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss, one sack and one interceptions.

He’s also extremely dangerous in the kick return game, averaging 29.2 yards per return with three touchdowns last season.

Edwards in an All-ACC defensive back and an All-American return specialist. Was said to be transitioning to cornerback, but is listed as a safety in the current Duke depth chart. He had three tackles and one pass breakup in limited duty against North Carolina Central.

Last year against the Deacs - Three tackles with two pass breakups. One kickoff return for 22 yards.

Anthony Nash - Redshirt Senior Wide Receiver - 6-foot-5, 200 pounds

One of the top returning targets for freshman quarterback, Daniel Jones, Nash caught 32 passes for 475 yards in 2015. He’s caught a pass in 11 straight games.

Had one reception for 15 yards Saturday against North Carolina Central.

Last year against the Deacs - Seven catches for 58 yards.


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