Duke head coach David Cutcliffe announced the signing of the Blue Devils' Class of 2016 Wednesday, inking seven four-star prospects. During his press conference, Cutcliffe highlighted some of the touted recruits that will soon be taking the field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Below are his comments.
On Dylan Singleton—rated by ESPN as the No. 10 safety in the Class of 2016 and the younger brother of Duke safety Deondre Singleton:
Dylan is a terrific competitor, he’s a play-maker on offense, and he just wouldn’t come off the field. I’ve seen him make runs, catch passes, score, cover a kick-off, line up, make a big hit, knock a ball loose, have an interception. That’s kind of player Dylan [is]. I would call Dylan an extremely productive player on the field. He is very involved in games.
On tight end Mark Birmingham—rated by ESPN as the No. 3 tight end in the Class of 2016:
Love him—just a great young man. We’ve had him in camp. He’s physical, quick, he’s got great character, great competitiveness, a great spirit to him. Everything that Mark displays with character is really strong, and a lot of talent to go with that. He is a very talented young man.
On Duke's two new running backs, Elijah Deveaux and Brittain Brown:
I really like [Deveaux and Brown]. They’re a little different but they’re both big, strong, explosive. I couldn’t be more pleased with where we are right now as we’ve grown that position to where we are.... They’ve still got to come in here and do it, and I believe they will. Elijah’s been part of a championship program at Charlotte Christian—we’ve had great success from everyone we’ve recruited from Charlotte Christian—and then Brittain went out this year and against Roswell—one of the best teams in the state of Georgia—[and] rushed for 275 yards against them. That’s not a little boy’s league down there. There’s just a lot of good indicators with those guys.
On wide receiver Scott Bracey, who played quarterback for his high school team this year and was the first player to commit to the Blue Devils:
He’s a natural receiver—we’ve had him in camp, he catches it easy. I’ve told him, ‘Scott, because you can, you’re going to take some snaps.’ He can throw it and run it—that’s a pretty good threat back there. He’s the kind of guy that’s going to do a lot of different things, but when it comes to route-running, he was as natural as I’ve seen in camp, as far as sticking his foot in the ground and changing direction and catching the ball away from his body. That’s one of the things you look for, and generally in high school you’re more open than what you’re going to be collegiately, and if you have to basket the ball or catch it in here, there’s a DB somewhere near that can get his hands on the ball. When you’re a long-armed, big young man like he is that can catch the ball.... That’s why some guys have 100 catches and other guys have 50 catches. And quarterbacks learn that too. They’re really always open, if they learn how to use their body.
On not signing a quarterback to this year's class. Duke had a verbal commitment from Chazz Surratt, but he later flipped his commitment to North Carolina:
We were okay there, wasn’t sure that we needed to anyway. I like to keep four on scholarship, and that’s where we are. I like that position a lot with our team right now, and so we’re comfortable with where we are.
On kicker A.J. Reed, who will assume the kicking duties that Ross Martin held for the past four seasons:
A.J. has been on a huge arena of pressure games—Prattville High School is one of the best programs in the country, so he’s been there and done that. He’s consistent and that’s one I’ve had my hand on [in camp]. I’ve coached him and coached him and coached him and I know what to expect from him, I’m excited about that and also [Austin Parker] is here and has redshirted a year, a great redshirt freshman year not only as a punter but as a backup holder. So one of the keys is to getting Austin and AJ together to start that process, and then we’ve got Thomas Hennessey there as a veteran—and that’s not an accident. We try to keep someone there to groom in the summer when we’re not there. Thomas knows exactly what we want and how we want it done.
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