Last summer, Marcus Lind was an unknown commodity, a Swedish exchange student playing American high school football for the first time. Several months later, however, Lind has become one of the nation's most hotly recruited offensive line prospects.
Once the fall season began, the 6-foot-4, 285-pound Lind received scholarship offers from the likes of Miami, Auburn, N.C. State and South Carolina. And this weekend, Lind highlights a group of high-priority recruits making official visits to Duke.
"He's a very, very strong young man, he's a very intelligent man, and he's very hard-working," said George Smith, Lind's coach at St. Thomas Aquinas high school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "I think he's going to be a very good college football player."
Although Lind has minimal experience playing high school football and is unranked by the major recruiting services, he distinguished himself quickly as a top-notch prospect on an offensive line that featured two All-Americans and one other four-star prospect, according to scout.com.
"This kid's massive," said Scott Kennedy, recruiting analyst for scout.com. "He's just raw; he's from out of the country, hasn't been playing for a whole lot."
That didn't stop him from drawing heavy recruiting interest from the nation's top programs, however. Smith said Lind is "very close" to Sam Young, Dan Wenger, and Marcus Gilbert, the other three superstars on the St. Thomas Aquinas high school offensive line.
"He has experience playing the game, rudimentary obviously, but he adapted very well here. He just got better and better," Smith said. "The kid is a very, very fast learner. He's done a hell of a job mastering the English language. He's mastered the SAT and the ACT."
In addition to Lind, the Blue Devils will look to bolster their linebacking corps when Nick Macaluso visits this weekend. A standout player on Middletown South, one of the nation's best high school teams, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Macaluso would provide Duke with a quality edge rusher from the outside linebacker position.
"Great instincts, great tackler, physical, and great leader," said Macaluso's coach Steve Antonucci of his best attributes. "[Duke's coaches] like his ability to run from side to side."
A three-star prospect according to scout.com, Macaluso has received scholarship offers from Northwestern, Stanford and Rutgers in addition to Duke. Along with Georgia prospect Vandaral Shackleford and Duke commitment Quenton Davie, he is believed to be among Duke's top uncommitted linebacker prospects for the class of 2006.
In addition, head coach Ted Roof will host two-star offensive line prospect John Lubischer. Despite receiving only a two-star rating, Lubischer has an impressive list of scholarship offers that includes Clemson and N.C. State. Although projected to play on the offensive line in college, Lubischer is athletic enough to play tight end on the high school level.
"He's really a standout blocker," Kennedy said. "Bring in a guy like that, put forty or fifty pounds on him and you've got yourself a lineman in three to four years."
Lubischer is also strongly considering the Wolfpack and Colorado State, according to scout.com. In addition, the Boca Raton, Fla. prospect plays on the same team as Duke commitment Tyler Rice, who will accompany him on his visit this weekend.
Lind, Macaluso and Lubischer would add to an already strong Duke recruiting class, a particularly impressive feat considering Duke's 1-10 record last season. Although the class lacks a superstar prospect such as Vince Oghobaase, its overall talent is better than that of the Class of 2005, Kennedy said.
"They've done a really good job recruiting the blue-collar players that make up the bulk of your team," Kennedy said. "I think Ted Roof and [assistant coach] Glenn Spencer have done a great job of upgrading Duke's talent level. I hope everyone stays patient with [Roof] because they're getting some players now."
That patience could be rewarded with winning seasons, bowl games and possibly more in future years.
"I don't think there's any reason why Duke can't compete on the same level that Northwestern and Stanford do," Kennedy said. "If Northwestern can compete for the Big Ten championship, there's no reason Duke can't compete for the ACC championship."
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