Recruiting Roundup: Blue Devils offer 2017 4-star shooting guard, Duke legacy Alex O'Connell

If four Duke freshmen elect to leave school after one year, head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff might have to replace a total of seven players from this year's team.

The way they are offering players in the Class of 2017, it seems like they will be ready for that scenario come next spring.

The Blue Devils recently offered four-star shooting guard Alex O'Connell a scholarship, making him the fourth shooting guard they have offered and 14th player in the class overall. 

Duke football 2016 position preview: Wide receivers and tight ends

Duke football 2016 position preview: Wide receivers and tight ends

With the 2016 season right around the corner, The Chronicle's football beat writers break down each of the nine major position groups: quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs, linebackers, kicker/punter and punt/kickoff returners to prepare you for the regular season.

With Zac Roper now at the helm of the Blue Devils’ offensive attack, Duke will look to push the ball more downfield and create opportunities for big plays from its wideouts and tight ends. The Blue Devils will face an uphill battle as they look to mitigate the losses of key seniors at the skill positions.

Although Thomas Sirk could be healthy in time for Duke's opener against N.C. Central Sept. 3, the Blue Devil wide receivers and tight ends have worked throughout the spring, summer and fall with Sirk’s backups as he rehabbed from an Achilles injury. Duke concludes training camp with a cloudy picture at both positions and clarity may not come until the Blue Devils have a few games under their belts.

Key players lost: WR Max McCaffrey, WR Johnell Barnes, TE David Reeves, TE Braxton Deaver

Duke will lose four players who all appeared in at least 10 games a season ago and were responsible for half of the team’s passing touchdowns. McCaffrey ranks as arguably the biggest loss for the Blue Devil offense, as he developed a solid connection with Sirk in the slots and intermediate passing game. The wide receiver was also one of the team’s leaders in the locker room and will leave a void that some of Duke’s young talent will be tasked to fill. Read more »

Duke football 2016 position preview: Running backs

Duke football 2016 position preview: Running backs

With the 2016 season right around the corner, The Chronicle's football beat writers break down each of the nine major position groups: quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs, linebackers, kicker/punter and punt/kickoff returners to prepare you for the regular season.

With the help of dual-threat quarterback Thomas Sirk, Duke's running attack gashed defenses for 192.9 yards per game last year, its highest total since 1977. But since Sirk went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon in spring practices, the running backs may not have much help at the beginning of the season, especially in the read option, a favorite of ex-offensive coordinator Scottie Montgomery in 2015.

With Sirk a question mark as the season’s signal-caller, the running backs will be called on to lead the offense, as the two-headed monster of junior Shaun Wilson and redshirt senior Jela Duncan with the help of reserve Joseph Ajeigbe will need to set the tone for the Blue Devils to sustain drives and move the chains.

Read more »

Duke football 2016 position preview: Quarterbacks

Duke football 2016 position preview: Quarterbacks

With the 2016 season right around the corner, The Chronicle's football beat writers break down each of the nine major position groups: running backs, quarterbacks, receivers, offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs, linebackers, kicker/punter and punt/kickoff returners to prepare you for the regular season.

It’s no secret that the fate of Duke football’s offensive success this season lies under center, but the position still carries a lot of uncertainty for the Blue Devils less than two weeks before their Sept. 3 season opener. Returning starter Thomas Sirk ruptured his left Achilles tendon back in February, and although the redshirt senior has made a swift recovery, he still has not participated in any live-action drills in fall camp.

Sirk will almost definitely step in as the starting quarterback as soon as he is fully recovered, and there is reason for optimism that he can replicate impressive passing and rushing stats from 2015. But Sirk will be facing a slew of tougher defenses this fall and will have to adapt to new offensive coordinator Zac Roper.

Key Players Lost: None

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Report: Tommy Amaker adds Duke men's basketball staff assistant, former manager Mike Sotsky to coaching staff

Former Duke player and assistant coach Tommy Amaker has hired Blue Devil staff assistant Mike Sotsky to be an assistant coach at Harvard, CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein reported Sunday evening.

Although Harvard had made no official announcement as of late Monday night, Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel congratulated Sotsky—a former Blue Devil manager—on Twitter.

Twitter reacts to Mike Krzyzewski winning third straight Olympic gold medal

Twitter reacts to Mike Krzyzewski winning third straight Olympic gold medal

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski wrapped up his 11-year tenure as Team USA's head coach with a 96-66 victory Sunday against Serbia in Rio de Janeiro to win his third straight Olympic gold medal. Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel was on Krzyzewski's staff this summer and former Blue Devil point guard Kyrie Irving was a major contributor for Team USA.

Several current, former and future players at Duke and other NBA stars took to Twitter to congratulate USA Basketball and the trio of Blue Devils for winning the gold medal. The Blue Zone compiled some of their reactions here.

Jabari Parker says in Player's Tribune column he hopes to eventually use Duke degree to become a teacher in Chicago

Jabari Parker says in Player's Tribune column he hopes to eventually use Duke degree to become a teacher in Chicago

Multiple former Blue Devils have said after leaving school early for the NBA that they want to return to Durham to get their degrees. 

Few have done so with goals as lofty as Jabari Parker's. 

In a first-person column in The Player’s Tribune published Monday, the Milwaukee Bucks forward and former Duke star discusses his experience of growing up on the south side of Chicago. Parker pledges to help tackle gun violence and inequality in the city. The 2013-14 All-American says after finishing his NBA career, he plans to return to Duke to finish his degree and become a teacher.

Parker notes that his father, Sonny, seventh grade teacher, Ms. Reed, and former NBA player Juwon Howard—another Chicago native—helped inspire him to give back to the community.  Read more »

David Cutcliffe lets graduate assistant Sam McGrath skip first fall practices to cheer on fiancé Abby Johnston in Rio Olympics

David Cutcliffe lets graduate assistant Sam McGrath skip first fall practices to cheer on fiancé Abby Johnston in Rio Olympics

Although some Blue Devil fans have their eyes on the opening of training camp this week, most people around the world are focusing on this summer's Rio Olympics.

Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe and graduate assistant defensive coach Sam McGrath, who works with the team's linebackers, have the pleasure of keeping their eyes on both.

The Blue Devil head coach took time Monday during Duke's media day before starting fall camp to recognize the tremendous effort put in by the Duke contingent in both reaching and performing at this summer's games. Twelve current and former Blue Devil players and coaches have cast a wide net at Rio, competing in several events, including diving, fencing, soccer, golf and basketball. 

"I can’t start this thing without commenting about the Olympic games—an incredible Duke presence there, which makes me proud," Cutcliffe said. "Certainly as an American, I’m one of those people, I get pumped, and I’m chanting 'U-S-A, U-S-A' seeing those young people compete."   Read more »

Duke football lands 4-star quarterback Jack Sears

Duke football lands 4-star quarterback Jack Sears

With fall practice set to open this week, the Blue Devils received a big piece of news that could usher in more bowl victories in the coming seasons. 

Four-star quarterback Jack Sears committed to Duke, becoming arguably the top commit in program history. The San Clemente, Calif., native spurned offers from in-state powerhouses such as UCLA and Southern California, as well as traditional powerhouses including Florida State and Tennessee. 

Blue Devil head coach David Cutcliffe took to Twitter to express his excitement about what figures to be a major stepping-stone in his efforts to continue building the Duke football program.  Read more »

Highlights from summer 'Devils Life' columns by Grayson Allen, Chase Jeter and Amile Jefferson

Highlights from summer 'Devils Life' columns by Grayson Allen, Chase Jeter and Amile Jefferson

Three current Duke men's basketball players—Grayson Allen, Chase Jeter and Amile Jefferson—have written first-person columns this offseason for the team's "Devils Life" website. Freshman Jayson Tatum, assistant coach Nate James and former players Seth Curry and Gerald Henderson have also published columns on the site. 

Here are some highlights from the columns by Allen, Jeter and Jefferson, which can be viewed in their entirety here.

Allen, who has taken 4.5 classes during Duke's two summer sessions, on returning to school for his junior season and getting close to finishing his degree in three years:

I have a personal goal in mind. The goal is to use this summer and the upcoming school year to get as close as possible to graduating from Duke University. I’ve been working on this plan with Kenny King, our academic advisor, since the end of my freshman year. Read more »