Lederman commits to Duke

Brodhead-Juda standout took an unofficial visit to Durham, N.C. last week

As anyone who follows Duke football will tell you, the key to the class of 2006 was bolstering the offensive line. After hosting Brodhead, Wis., offensive tackle Mitchell Lederman last week on an unofficial visit, the Blue Devils received some good news Monday night as the 6-foot-8, 325-pound athlete verbally committed.

"I haven't had a chance to call Coach Roof [Duke head coach Ted Roof] yet," Lederman said. "But I did have a chance to speak to Coach Yano [offensive line coach Don Yanowski] tonight and told him that I was going to be a Blue Devil. I think he was really excited."

That is probably an understatement as Lederman becomes the second offensive lineman to commit to Duke, joining Florida prospect Jarrod Holt (6-6, 300).

After seeing his stock rise dramatically in the last year, Lederman began feeling the heat of the recruiting process with interest from several teams including Ball State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Illinois State and Youngstown State. He was planning to attend camps at Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Northwestern, Duke and Western Michigan this summer.

Though he is still learning the game, Brodhead-Juda head coach Jim Matthys says the future Blue Devil is going to be among the best prospects in the state.

"His size is what makes him an elite prospect right now," Matthys said. "He's also a great team leader and has a big work ethic. I think his senior season is going to be when he really finds out just how good he can be. He's played with elite players for two years now (Northern Illinois recruit offensive lineman Kevin Skatrud and defensive tackle/tight end A.J. Curtis, who is headed to Iowa on a track scholarship), so now we'll see how he does as a senior."

All that promise and potential wrapped up into a big frame, and yet he still had not received the kind of attention he had hoped for from the home-state Badgers.

"I am not sure what the deal was there," Lederman said. "Basically I'm not worried about it. If they really wanted me then they would have worked harder. The bottom line is I am happy with my decision, and it won't change."

And just what was it about the Blue Devils' pitch that won over this big-time lineman?

"It's just a beautiful campus and the weather is a bit warmer that it is up here," Lederman said. "Also the coaches were very upfront and honest with me the entire time. Plus, a Duke degree is pretty tough to pass up."

And on the field?

"People say Duke hasn't been successful in years past, but those people don't know how hard the coaches are working," Lederman said. "When you look at the kind of players they've gotten since Coach Roof took over, you can see that things are definitely going to change down there, and quick. I'm just excited to be part of it."

A very big part of it, indeed.

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