Football season is on the horizon, and the squad has been putting the work in all throughout the off-season. As the group prepares to take the field, the Blue Zone takes a look at Duke football's upcoming players and future recruiting classes:
After two years with a bottom-three ACC recruiting class, Duke is finally back on the rise. Heading into the 2022 season, the program has rounded up the eighth-ranked ACC incoming class, according to 247Sports. The future Blue Devils include 17 three-star recruits and one four-star stud topping the crew off. Duke also boasts a top-30 2023 recruiting class, with the most three-stars committed to the program in the nation. Let's take a deeper dive into some new talent ready to leave their mark this season and those joining soon.
Vincent Anthony Jr. (No. 297, DL, 2022, Enrolled)
The Blue Devils are in for a treat with their first four-star recruit since 2019, Vincent Anthony Jr. The Durham-grown 6-foot-5, 232-pound defensive end was the ninth-ranked player in North Carolina. He’s an imposing force with incredible size and has a tantalizing ceiling, so it's no question why the C.E. Jordan product was selected for the 2022 All-American Bowl, a football exhibition that features the country's best players. He also received offers from Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Indiana and Ole Miss, signifying his commitment and enrollment to Duke as a huge recruiting win for new head coach Mike Elko.
Steven Nahmias (No. 691, IOL, 2022, Enrolled)
Nahmias' faithfulness to Duke’s program was never in doubt. With 10 Divison I offers, including the likes of Auburn, Michigan State and Wake Forest, the offensive guard had the cards in his favor. But in his only visit to the Blue Devils, he immediately committed the moment he was offered a spot. His work ethic and all-around loyalty display that the Atlanta native is the kind of man the Blue Devils want protecting their quarterback.
Jaden Watkins (No. 736, WR, 2022, Enrolled) and Mehki Wall (No. 791, WR, 2022, Enrolled)
A pair of three-star North Carolina natives look to add some depth to Duke’s wide receiver position. Watkins and Wall rank 18th and 19th in the state for the 2022 recruiting class, respectively. But despite their near-identical rankings, their story is a tale of two frames. Watkins has breadth, at 6-foot and 190 pounds. Added growth into his stature likely alludes to him becoming one of Duke’s top offensive threats in the future. On the other hand, Wall comes in at just 5-foot-9, 167 pounds, the Greensboro native has thrived through his shiftiness and versatility. Both will be welcomed additions to the Blue Devil’s wide receiver core.
Henry Belin (No. 925, QB, 2022, Enrolled)
The next addition to Duke’s quarterback room comes in the form of a 6-foot-3, 215-pound threat from the Bronx, N.Y. Belin was the top signal caller in New York state and finished his senior season throwing for 2,600 yards and 29 total touchdowns, including 11 on the ground. He’ll be able to learn a lot behind other athletic quarterbacks on Duke’s roster who also have the ability to rely on their feet.
Grayson Loftis (No. 636, QB, 2023, Committed)
Grayson Loftis is the sixth-ranked played in the state of South Carolina and has received offers from top programs, such as Kentucky and reigning national champion Georgia. He committed to Duke in January, which is very early in the recruiting process, but found a fit with the team on an educational aspect.
Semaj Turner (No. 609, DL, 2023, Committed)
Another North Carolina native, Semaj Turner has drawn interest from around the ACC. Recently, he committed to Duke in lieu of offers such as Virginia and Appalachian State. The defensive force comes in at 6-foot-2, 235-pounds, and is primarily positioned as an edge rusher. Turner has thrived on the outside, piling up 83 tackles and 17.5 sacks in his junior season.
Marquise Collins (No. 643, RB, 2023, Committed) and Peyton Jones (No. 695, RB, 2023, Committed)
The upcoming team is already shaping up with a strong running back recruiting class for the Blue Devils. With very similar frames and early July commitments to Duke, the two are expected to have comparable impacts. Collins received more than 30 Division I offers. He also has a track background and scored 42 total touchdowns in just his junior year. Jones was also courted by top programs, such Ohio State and Pittsburgh, and is ranked the No. 54 running back nationally. Both players show a ton of promise as running backs that can both sprint and catch.
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