Unlike most years, there was little drama on National Signing Day for Duke football head coach David Cutcliffe and his coaching staff as they officially added 20 players to the program.
Sixteen members of the 2013 recruiting class faxed in their national letters of intent Wednesday morning to Cutcliffe to go along with four 2013 early enrollees already on campus.
Rivals.com charts Duke's class as the 11th best class in the 14-team ACC for 2013 and 67th best overall.
Here are some of the highlights from Cutcliffe's press conference on Wednesday afternoon:
On the class overall:
“The class, I like a lot. We addressed some needs. There are four lineman, one linebacker and the rest of the guys are speed, skill athletes—a running back and a couple quarterbacks—and then some guys that can just run. They are play-makers.”—Cutcliffe
Returning the entire starting defensive line from a year ago and most of its offensive line, Duke's numbers were strong in the trenches. Thus, the recruiting emphasis for 2013 was to get more athletes on the roster.
On the perimeter-athlete recruits:
“As you saw us this past year, certainly in the secondary, we lost some people to graduation. We had so many injuries that we just about ran out in the secondary. It was an area that we knew we had numbers that we needed to address. We lost two outstanding receivers [Desmond Scott and Conner Vernon]…We wanted receivers and DBs that had the chance to come in and contribute.”—Cutcliffe
The description of "play-makers" was used frequently by Cutcliffe as he discussed his latest crop of freshmen. Many of the play-makers that Cutcliffe referred to will play in the secondary—a unit riddled by injuries in 2012 and was consequently vulnerable to the deep ball—where Duke is adding eight players. The perimeter on the offensive side of the ball will also get an injection of speed and athleticism with four wide receivers and one running back.
On the two quarterbacks in the class:
“Both of these guys can run: Quay Chambers and Parker Boehme. Parker is a big guy that is really, really fast, really fast. He has certainly made a living running and throwing. He is kind of a Tebow-built guy that throws the ball real well. Quay Chambers has started at quarterback three years at a great program in Monroe [N.C.]. And he’s big. I went and watched Quay play basketball and he’s got great quick hands, just a big guy, 6’4”, and can jump run. If you just look what there totals are rushing and throwing, they trend more toward Anthony [Boone], Brandon Connette and Thomas Sirk have done and can beat you two ways."—Cutcliffe
The recruiting class features two quarterbacks: Quay Chambers and early enrollee Parker Boehme. As Cutcliffe alluded to, both are dual-threat signal callers. Chambers, specifically, has been described as an extremely versatile offensive player, so don't be surprised if he ends up playing another position while he is in Durham.
On Evrett Edwards:
“Evrett is a very talented young man. We had him in camp—very committed to his academics, very disciplined young man and a mature young man…He’s a really good football player…He’s everything you thought he was from camp…I’m excited to have a chance to work with Evrett.”—Cutcliffe
Looking for a freshman that might have a chance to make an impact right away? Evrett Edwards, a 5-foot-11 lockdown cornerback, could very well be that guy. The Woodbridge, Va. native has been committed to Duke for months and is an early enrollee. And thankfully so, Edwards was hotly pursed by a handful of ACC, Big 10 and Big East schools that tried to get him to decommit from the Blue Devils.
On Dominic McDonald:
“He's a good football player. He’s got good flexibility. He’s got good natural explosion. But that again, when you start trying to predict, it’s really difficult. Those guys are out there against grown men, you know 23-year olds and people who are developed over three and four years. He’s working really hard.”
A one-time Tennessee commit, McDonald is the only linebacker in Duke's 2013 recruiting class. He too could end up switching positions in his Blue Devil career.
For more on Duke's newest class of players, check out the Chronicle's 2013 individual profiles.