With the 2018 season right around the corner, The Chronicle breaks down each of the eight major position groups: quarterbacks, running backs, receivers, offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs, linebackers and specialists.

Duke had an impressive start to the 2017-18 season, with four wins against teams including Tobacco Road rival North Carolina and Baylor. The team was led by then redshirt sophomore Daniel Jones, who boasted career high numbers in the first four games. Jones had a dominant outing in the team’s 41-17 defeat of Northwestern, rushing for 108 yards and two touchdowns. 

However, despite this four-game win streak, the Blue Devils faltered and lost six-straight games, before winning their last three to end the season above .500. While Jones had some tougher games, completing only 33 percent of passes with two interceptions against Virginia, he bounced back to end the season on a high note against Wake Forest. Jones passed for a season high 346 yards, adding two touchdowns. 

Jones is one of three returning quarterbacks to the team, with redshirt junior Quentin Harris the only other quarterback on the team having any game experience at all. Daniel Karlin is the third member of the group, with no playing time his freshman year. Joining them are freshmen Gunnar Holmberg and Robert Nelson, along with redshirt freshman Chris Katrenick. 

Key player lost: Parker Boehme 

Duke only lost one quarterback after the 2017-18 season—Duke alumnus Parker Boehme. In his last season with Duke, he played in all 13 games but mainly as a holder on placement kicks. He only had two passing attempts and rushed twice for 15 yards. 

Projected starter: Daniel Jones

Jones has secured his starting position for a second year in a row. After having a few breakout games—and breaking the school’s freshman record for passing yards—in his first season, Jones guaranteed himself a starting position over former quarterback Thomas Sirk. Now, as a leader on the team and a whole season worth of starts under his belt, nothing has changed. 

The redshirt junior had six games with two passing touchdowns last season. He has proven to be a dual-threat quarterback, having the potential to throw over 300 yards while also having the agility to rush for over a hundred yards and score the touchdown himself. 

Despite a few bad games in the middle of the season, Jones finished on a high with a Bowl win against Northern Illinois where he boasted 252 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. The Charlotte native showed the potential that had head coach David Cutcliffe discussing his NFL potential at the beginning of last season. 

After a season of averaging 207 passing yards per game with 14 total touchdowns, Jones showed what he can do. With that year of experience under his belt, this season could prove to be an exciting one for the Charlotte native. 

Dark horse: Gunnar Holmberg

While Duke has a backup quarterback in Quentin Harris, who was able to complete seven-of-13 pass attempts and ran for 71 yards and two touchdowns, the Blue Devils have an exciting newcomer in Gunnar Holmberg. 

The Wake Forest native was rated a four-star prospect as well as a top 30 pocket passing quarterback by ESPN. He finished his high school career with just under 7,000 passing yards and 65 touchdowns, with 26 of those coming in his senior year. He set the passing yard and touchdown total records for a single-season at Heritage. Holmberg led his team to a 12-2 season his senior year, as well as a third-round appearance in States. 

The six-foot-three freshman has shown improvement throughout his high school career, with less interceptions and more passing touchdowns. While he may not bring the rushing component to the field that Jones does just yet, he has the potential to grow into this role, as his former high school coach described him as “a legitimate fast guy.”

For a look at Duke's specialists, go here. And come back tomorrow as we break down who will fill out the running back stable behind Brittain Brown, as well as options in the defensive backfield, including All-American contender Mark Gilbert.