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Duke football announces addition of 5 transfers to roster

Duke head coach Mike Elko makes his case to the referee during the second quarter of the Military Bowl.
Duke head coach Mike Elko makes his case to the referee during the second quarter of the Military Bowl.

Mere weeks after leading the Blue Devils to victory at the Military Bowl, head coach Mike Elko is back to work, adding five mid-year transfers to beef up the roster just in time for spring practices. 

Graduate defensive back Myles Jones headlines the group, having amassed 29 starts in 49 games at Elko's old outfit, Texas A&M. Jones tallied 124 tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions and 28 pass breakups in his six-year career there, with the final stat tied for tenth all-time in Aggie history. While the Magnolia, Texas native only played in one game this past season and missed all but two games of the 2021 season due to injury, Duke is likely hoping he rekindles the flame with Elko, his defensive coordinator for four of his six years at Texas A&M. Sharing a name with Duke men's lacrosse great Miles Jones, the former three-star recruit can elevate a position group that gave up the third-most passing yards per game in the ACC in 2022. 

Joining the defensive backs with Jones is five-year Miami Hurricane Al Blades Jr. The former four-star's resume includes 93 tackles and four interceptions, as well as more unique entries in a blocked punt and a minor in theatre arts. Though he missed most of the 2021 season due to struggles with myocarditis, Blades came back strong in 2022, eventually registering a season-best five tackles and a pass breakup against his future team in Duke's Oct. 22 win at Miami

The remaining three transfers will round out an offensive line already stacked with returners such as First-Team All-ACC Graham Barton and do-it-all senior Jacob Monk. South Florida's Dustyn Hall, Stanford's Jake Hornibrook and Elon's Michael Purcell are all accomplished and Bunyanesque graduate students who started at least 20 games, and they can only enhance a group that allowed the fewest sacks and the fourth-fewest rushing yards in the ACC. 

In 2021, Hall helped make way for 421 rushing yards against Temple, a school single-game record, in addition to being a three-time AAC All-Academic Team selection. Meanwhile, coming from a very athletic family that includes an MLB player uncle and a record-holding Wisconsin quarterback brother, Hornibrook made the Pac-12 All-Academic Honor Roll twice while in pursuit of a degree in Science, Technology and Society. Finally, Purcell had a breakout 2022 campaign at center culminating in a second-team All-CAA selection after having his 2021 season derailed due to injury. 


Sasha Richie | Sports Managing Editor

Sasha Richie is a Trinity senior and a sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.

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