Summer may technically be the offseason for Duke football, but the team produced had no shortage of news over the last few months. While players awaited the start of training camp and the 2012 campaign, the Blue Devils were busy in a summer full of changes and adjustment heading into this season.
Here are all the key notes from the team’s summer, with scrimmages already underway and the first get set for Sep. 1 against Florida International.
The summer began on a sad note when wide receivers Blair Holliday and Jamison Crowder collided in a Jet Ski accident, leaving Holliday in critical condition with a serious head injury. The Duke community began to raise money in support of the Holliday family, with the Blair Holliday Recovery Fund generating $19,413 to date to cover his medical expenses at the UNC Trauma Center in Chapel Hill and the Shepard Center in Atlanta, where he currently resides.
Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe remains in constant contact with Holliday, who walked for the first time since the accident Tuesday night.
On the recruiting trail
At the same time, Cutcliffe remained vigilant on the recruiting trail, receiving verbal commitments from a number of three-star recruits over the summer. The Blue Devils now have 15 verbal commitments in the 2013 recruiting class.
Vernon earns preseason accolades
Wide receiver Connor Vernon was named to the preseason All-ACC Team after catching 70 passes for 956 yards in the 2011 season. He is quickly closing in on both the Duke and ACC all-time receiving records for both receptions and receiving yards.
Braxton, Scott and Connette prepare for new roles
As training camp got underway, many familiar faces returned to the Blue Devils, but several will be seen in different locations on the field this year. Brandon Braxton, who caught 40 passes for 352 yards at wide receiver last year, will play safety and could crack the starting lineup. Desmond Scott will move to wide receiver this season after rushing for 367 yards and two touchdowns last year as a running back.
Brandon Connette’s role on this year’s team remains to be seen. After missing most of last year due to injury, Connette may see time again at the quarterback position this season, but could also be utilized as a running back or tight end. The jury is still out on Connette’s exact role, though Cutcliffe has used him creatively in preseason scrimmages.
Blue Devils unveil new lids
Duke also unveiled two new helmets last week. Formerly wearing strictly white helmets with a blue logo, the Blue Devils also introduced a blue helmet with a white logo and a black on black helmet as well. After debuting their black uniforms for the first time last season in a season-opening loss to Richmond, Duke will don their black helmets at least once this season in an all-black outfit.