The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has just rung again,
meaning it's time to take another look at who is rising and falling with their
performances for Blue Devil sports teams. Each week The Blue Zone will look at
whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the
world of Duke athletics.
Bull Market—Trending Up
Jeremy Cash – The
Blue Devils strike safety finds himself on the rise with just a week to go
before the Duke football opens the season at Tulane. The Miami native has
received three first-team All-America selections and four second-team
selections from various sporting publications this season in addition to being named to numerous preseason All-ACC team lists. Cash returns as the only defensive
back in the nation to record more than 100 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and
five sacks and will look to anchor a defense that heads into the season with an
inexperienced front line.
Duke women’s soccer –
Head coach Robbie Church’s team followed its 1-0 victory against No. 22 Clemson in
preseason play by shutting out its first two opponents at the UNC Nike
Classic in Chapel Hill. Although the squad lost eight seniors to graduation, the team seems to have reloaded after landing the nation’s sixth-best recruiting class—led by freshman Taylor Racioppi who was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com National Team of the Week.
The Blue Devils also returned redshirt sophomore Cassie Pecht—who missed the
past two seasons with a number of knee injuries. No. 21 Duke faces a stiff test Friday when it travels to State College, Pa. to
take on Penn State. Read more »
In the past three seasons, Duke has transformed itself from a
perennial ACC cellar-dweller to one of the top teams in the Coastal division.
This offseason, the Blue Devils are finally getting the
respect they deserve.
Duke landed three players—safety Jeremy Cash, center Matt
Skura and all-purpose returner DeVon Edwards—on ESPN’s preseason All-ACC team.
Cash also earned a spot on ESPN’s preseason All-America team, adding to his
already impressive collection of preseason honors. Read more »
This week's edition of Sportswrap features women's soccer freshman midfielder Taylor Racioppi, who scored three goals during Duke's unbeaten weekend at the UNC Nike Classic in Chapel Hill. Freshmen scored six of the Blue Devils' nine goals.
Freshmen net three goals as Duke women's soccer cruises in opener: Racioppi became the third Blue Devil ever to score twice in her first career start and classmate Kayla McCoy added another goal as the Blue Devils won their season opener, 5-0. A year after the offense sputtered in its first weekend of competition, Duke flipped the script Friday, allowing the Bulldogs just one shot on goal.
The Plumlee brothers have long been a popular family lineage at Duke, with Miles, Mason and Marshall all displaying their talents in front of capacity crowds at Cameron Indoor Stadium and bringing banners back from Indianapolis.
But another family name may be a household one within the next few years.
Safety Dylan Singleton—the younger brother of current Duke safety Deondre Singleton—announced his decision to commit to the Blue Devils Friday night. Dylan Singleton is slated as the No. 282 player in the 2016 ESPN 300 and also held offers from traditional powerhouses such as Ohio State, Auburn and Georgia.
During their Blue Devil careers, Jamison Crowder, Takoby Cofield and Laken Tomlinson were key cogs in the offense and members of the teams that helped rebuild the Duke football program.
Head coach David Cutcliffe paid his former players some respect when the entire Blue Devil football team attended Thursday's preseason game between the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
Tomlinson became the program's first player to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft in the last 28 years when he was chosen 28th overall by the Lions back in April. Crowder followed soon after, coming off the board in the fourth round and heading to Washington. Cofield was added to Washington's roster as an undrafted free agent earlier this summer. The three seniors were part of the second-winningest class in program history and led Duke to the ACC Championship in 2013. Read more »
The Blue Devils have excelled in special teams during the last two seasons and the success Jamison Crowder and DeVon Edwards had in the return game during that time span was a major reason why. Duke averaged 13.54 yards per punt return last season, good for tenth in the nation and averaged 25.25 yards per kick return, which was the eighth best mark in the FBS. With David Cutcliffe continuing to place an emphasis on special teams, look for his squad to continue to succeed on returns despite the loss of Crowder, who was an All-America punt returner.
Key Players Lost: Jamison Crowder
Crowder was hands down the best punt returner in recent memory for Duke Football. He scored a program-record four touchdowns off punt returns in 2013 and 2014 alone and was an all-ACC return specialist in both seasons. The Monroe, N.C., native was a player who could break out of a tackle at any moment and zoom down the field for an unexpected touchdown off a punt—as illustrated by his thrilling touchdown against Arizona State. Although Crowder's services will be sorely missed in Durham, there is a good chance we'll be able to watch him return punts on Sundays in the near future. Read more »
With the regular season less than a month away, the Blue Devils roster is starting to round into form.
So is the way the squad will look when it takes the field this season.
Duke released images of its football uniforms for the upcoming season on social media earlier this week. The new uniforms designed by Nike feature the Blue Devils traditional colors—black, blue and white—in different combinations and mark a return to a familiar design after Duke wore throwbacks in 2014.
If you ask most fans about the most important position on the football field, few would respond by naming a player on special teams—much less a kicker or punter. But in case you forgot, the kicking game can have a big impact on the result of a game, as Duke learned last season at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.
It certainly may not be the most glamorous job in the game, but with five games being decided by a touchdown or less in 2014—including a 17-16 heartbreaker at home against Virginia Tech where two missed field goals proved costly for Duke—having a reliable kicking unit on the field is key in close games. With the Blue Devils returning starters at kicker, punter and long snapper to lead the special teams squad, look for Duke to have just that this season.
For the second straight season Duke will be without All-ACC linebacker Kelby Brown, but this time around Jim Knowles’ defense will have to rely on a slew of new faces to take over in his absence. With new faces comes new talent as a hard-hitting linebacker corps gives way to a quicker, more agile unit that is looking to strike opposing offenses early and often in the trenches.
This season the speed and tenacity of a new unit will be used to improve last year’s No. 12 ranked total defense in the ACC—which particularly struggled on the ground and gave up the second-highest rushing yards per game in conference.
A year ago, the new-look ACC sent six teams to the NCAA tournament and was one of the strongest conferences in the nation from top to bottom.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, don't expect the league's television exposure to drop off at all.
ESPN announced its schedule for this season's "Big Monday" broadcasts Wednesday afternoon, which features three appearances for the defending national champion Blue Devils. Duke is set to host Syracuse Jan. 18 at Cameron Indoor Stadium and Louisville Feb. 8—the Cardinals' first trip to Durham as a member of the ACC.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski's squad will also travel to Coral Gables, Fla. for a matchup against Miami Jan. 25. The Hurricanes dealt the Blue Devils a double-digit loss when they traveled to Durham a year ago, breaking Duke's 41-game home winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Read more »