Although Duke's 1-10 record this season may have been discouraging, football fans can take solace in one point-the season has not drastically dampened head coach Ted Roof's success on the recruiting trail.
At this point last year, Roof had already secured eight verbal commitments from players rated three stars or higher according to scout.com. Although Duke has just six such commitments this season, Roof continues to attract ACC-level talent to Durham with three three-star prospects in town this weekend.
Among those prospects is Justin Roper, the Blue Devils' top quarterback target. Standing 6-foot-6, the lanky quarterback's athleticism and throwing ability have attracted interest from some of the nation's top offenses. Roper has received scholarship offers from Oregon and Louisville and has received interest from Tennessee, according to Buford High School athletic director Dexter Wood.
"He's got excellent mechanics and his dad's a former college coach, so he was raised from the get-go with the proper fundamentals of throwing the football," Wood said. "He's quite a phenomenal athlete."
Roper used those athletic skills to guide his Buford squad to a 12-1 record this season. Earlier in his career, Roper was part of a team that set the Georgia high school consecutive wins record with 47. Although he is used to a winning culture, the Blue Devils' recent struggles have not diminished his interest in their program.
"The attraction to Duke is that they're building and he really has connected with the coaches, probably more than anyone," Wood said. "He really feels like he could succeed in [offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien's] system and help build the program."
Roper would not be the only Buford alum fighting to return Duke to respectability. Sophomore linebacker Zach Smith and freshman wide receiver Ryan Wood both attended Buford, and Duke verbal commit Matt Pridemore, who will also be visiting this weekend, currently plays with Roper.
"That's a huge attraction," Dexter Wood said. "I know he loves seeing Zach and Ryan on the field."
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