Athlon Magazine has ranked all 119 Division I-A schools for the 2008 season, and the Blue Devils earned the lowly spot of No. 80. Actually, it's not that bad, considering they were consistently honored in ESPN.com's Bottom 10 last season.
Duke has a lot of heavy lifting to do, however, as every one of its I-A opponents this season are ranked ahead of them. In order, the Blue Devils first take on Division I-AA James Madison, then Northwestern (58), Navy (72), Virginia (67), Georgia Tech (56), Miami (43), Vanderbilt (73), Wake Forest (24), NC State (57), Clemson (10), Virginia Tech (21), and North Carolina (37).
In recruiting news, the Blue Devils have one verbal commitment for their class of 2009--Ryan Hall, a three-star tight end from Florida--and are continuing to move in on others. According to Rivals.com, Duke has extended offers to seven four-star recruits, but already four have committed elsewhere. Of the remaining high schoolers still deciding, Jordan Reed (No. 11 dual-threat quarterback), Brennen Williams (No. 13 offensive lineman), Jon Bostic (No. 5 outside linebacker) still list Duke as a possible option.
Rivals is also reporting that Dontae Aycock, a four-star running back from Tampa Bay, FL, has most likely narrowed his choice down to Georgia Tech and Duke, the two schools that are recruiting him the most heavily.
Obviously, it's still early to be talking about the 2009 recruiting class, but undoubtedly everyone will be keeping an eye on it during the season as it should serve as a good indication of what's ahead under new head coach David Cutcliffe. We'll keep you posted as more news becomes available.
--by Matthew Iles