With the 2020 season right around the corner, The Chronicle breaks down each of the eight major position groups for the Blue Devils: Quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, defensive backs, linebackers and specialists.
With teams shifting their focus from within the program to preparing for upcoming matchups, Duke needs to identify a starting quarterback. The Blue Devils find themselves with the best combination of talent and depth they’ve had in years at the quarterback position. Head coach David Cutliffe will have no trouble finding eager bodies to fill the position. Having depth at the quarterback position is exciting, but there can only be one starter. Three competitors, one job: whose will it be?
Players lost: Quentin Harris
Harris, the dynamic 6-foot-1, 200 pound graduate, had a hand in 62.1 percent of Duke’s touchdowns last season. His impressive skill set in both the running and passing game, along with his leadership and experience, will be missed.
Projected Starter: Chase Brice, Chris Katrenick or Gunnar Holmberg
Chase Brice, standing at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, has a compelling case. In addition to his experience in championship locker rooms, Brice’s size and strength make him a threat to defenses. His ability to add to the running game and break tackles will be much appreciated by a Duke offense who gave up 28 sacks last season. Brice’s upside is probably the highest of the three candidates. However, due to the unusual nature of this offseason, Brice did not join the team until mid-July, and how quickly he assimilates into Cutcliffe’s offense is an area of question.
Chris Katrenick, the 6 foot-3 redshirt junior weighing in at 215 pounds has real game experience playing for the Blue Devils. Katrenick has logged snaps in “mop-up duty” throughout his career, and played in 5 games last season. With the limited amount of practice time that players have gotten under these unusual circumstances, Katrenick’s years spent building chemistry with the team may give him the day.
Gunnar Holmberg, the 6 foot-3, 190 pound redshirt sophomore, brings a resumé that is a combination of his two competitors. Holmberg has the hours logged with the team, yet also gives fans the unknown excitement of desperately wanting to see him play in Duke Blue. Holmberg suffered a knee injury that caused him to sit out last year. Now fully recovered, Holmberg brings his former talents along with a newly strengthened mental game that developed from hours behind the scenes.
Dark horse: Luca Diamont
The 6 foot-3, 185 pound freshman from Venice, California, is another risk-reward player. Diamont is expected to redshirt, to give him time to learn the playbook. Should one of the three immediate competitors for the starting job get injured, Diamont’s redshirt status may change. Diamont had a plethora of offers coming out of high school. His athletic mobility and ability to make every throw on the field may remind Blue Devil fans of Daniel Jones, the current starting quarterback for the New York Giants. Diamont feels that Duke is a perfect fit for him, and that he will work well with Cutcliffe’s system. Diamont’s talent is undeniable, but he is yet to take a snap in college.
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