With the 2016 campaign in the books and the Blue Devils failing to make a bowl for the first time since 2011, head coach David Cutcliffe and his staff are busy on the recruiting trail.
After a hot spring and summer that saw a number of commitments, Duke has mostly filled out its 2017 class with 21 commitments as signing day looms Feb. 1. But some late-November drama did play out regarding the quarterback position. The Blue Devils received a verbal commitment from four-star prospect Jack Sears back in August, but the San Clemente, Calif., native decommitted Nov. 13 and committed to USC instead.
This left a huge vacancy in the class, but it seems as if Duke's coaching staff had a backup plan. A day later, three-star prospect Chris Katrenick flipped his own verbal commitment to the Blue Devils from Bowling Green. Katrenick is ranked as the 45th-best pro-style passer in the 2017 class by 247Sports.com, but was not heavily recruited by Power 5 schools aside from Duke and Virginia.
Katrenick and 16 of the Blue Devils' other 2017 commits—including four-star defensive end Drew Jordan—are headed to Durham this weekend for official visits, according to 247Sports.com's Adam Rowe.
Duke's class is currently ranked 24th in the nation by ESPN, ahead of traditional powerhouses Oregon, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Louisville. The Blue Devils, however, sit behind Clemson, Miami, Florida State and North Carolina in those rankings, giving them the fifth-best class in the ACC. Unless Duke loses a big recruit between now and signing day, it should have a good chance at finishing with a top-35 recruiting class.
The coaching staff is already building off the Blue Devils' heightened success during the past few years, which fans can clearly see paying off on the field. Duke is no longer athletically outmatched by some of its top-tier national opponents, which was demonstrated in this year's win against Notre Dame and a close loss to Louisville even though the team finished the year with just four wins.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.