The Blue Devils' defensive line play was a major area of improvement in position coach Ben Albert's first season last year, but Duke will now have to adjust on the fly after losing two more contributors in the offseason.
Sophomores Brandon Boyce and Marquies Price were dismissed from the Blue Devil program for "failing to meet the standards of a member of the program," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe announced Tuesday afternoon. The news was first reported by Steve Wiseman of The Durham Herald-Sun.
Both players saw meaningful action each of the past two seasons as part of the Blue Devils' deep rotation of defensive linemen, with Price starting 11 of 12 games last year and Boyce playing in eight contests after being suspended for the first three games of his sophomore campaign for a disciplinary issue.
The tandem combined for 30 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2016. Combined with the departure of star defensive tackle A.J. Wolf due to graduation, their departures leave a major hole near the line of scrimmage for defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
Duke has five sophomores up front who will now be expected to step into more prominent roles, and four-star recruit Drew Jordan could factor into the Blue Devils' formula up front as well.
Cutcliffe's team started spring practice Feb. 3 and will have its spring showcase March 4 before opening the 2017 season against N.C. Central Sept. 2.