Live tracker: Updating the transfer portal changes for Duke football ahead of head coach Manny Diaz's tenure

Manny Diaz at Duke's annual Blue and White game.
Manny Diaz at Duke's annual Blue and White game.

After the departure of former head coach Mike Elko, new head coach Manny Diaz is using the transfer portal to revamp the Blue Devil roster. Follow along here for rolling updates on these moves:

Transfers out

Monday, Nov. 27

CB Jaden Watkins: The redshirt freshman was the first Blue Devil to enter the portal after Elko’s departure. Watkins has not played in a game yet, after switching from wide receiver to cornerback after his redshirt season. He came into Durham as a three-star prospect hailing from Asheville, N.C.

DT Aeneas Peebles: Peebles becomes the first major contributor to depart Durham, announcing on X Monday that he will be entering the transfer portal as a graduate transfer. The senior was a constant factor in a deep defensive line room this season, racking up 44 tackles, five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The Raleigh native ends his career as a Blue Devil having played 841 career snaps. 

Update Dec. 18: Peebles announced via X his decision to join Virginia Tech for his final season, and the new Hokie will get to face his former team at Wallace Wade Stadium in 2024.

Wednesday, Nov. 29

QB Riley Leonard: Just days after Elko announced his departure, Duke lost its starting quarterback. Leonard was also a 2023 team captain. The junior had a standout sophomore campaign before battling injury at times this year. In the last two years as a Blue Devil, Leonard has been under center for all of the biggest moments. The team still retains redshirt freshman Henry Belin IV and freshman Grayson Loftis at quarterback, and has four-star recruit Tyler Cherry coming in next year. According to ESPN's Pete Thamel, Notre Dame is likely to target the dual-threat signal caller.

Update Dec. 12: Leonard has committed to Notre Dame, giving the Fighting Irish their second ACC transfer at quarterback in the last two seasons. The Fairhope, Ala., native will succeed Sam Hartman and likely will be expected to be able to bring a national championship to South Bend, Ind., in 2024. 

Thursday, Nov. 30

K Charlie Ham: The kicker becomes the fourth Blue Devil to announce their intentions to leave, as the graduate student will elect to use his last year of eligibility elsewhere. Ham was the starting kicker for Duke from 2021-2023, making 36-of-50 career field goals. However, he was moved to kickoff specialist this season as Todd Pelino manned the placekicker spot. 

S Jaylen Stinson: Duke loses another one of its veteran leaders, as Stinson will elect to use the remainder of his eligibility outside of Durham. The senior racked up 82 tackles this season to go with three tackles for loss, and also had a play all Blue Devil fans will remember after he had a 55-yard fumble recovery in the season opener against Clemson. Duke will now have to replace at least two starters in the secondary from this year, as Stinson and Al Blades Jr. will not return in 2024.

Update Jan. 15: Stinson becomes the third Blue Devil this offseason to enter the transfer portal and return to Durham, as the veteran safety withdrew his name from the portal Monday and will play his fifth season at Duke. The Opelika, Ala., native’s return gives Diaz a veteran leader in the defensive backfield and a special teams ace. Stinson and rising junior Terry Moore have the potential to be among the better safety duos in the conference in 2024. 

Friday, Dec. 1

DE R.J. Oben: While already presumably losing stalwart defensive tackles DeWayne Carter and Ja’Mion Franklin this offseason, Duke will also now be without a third member of its starting defensive line, as Oben has entered the transfer portal. The redshirt senior started nearly every game for the Blue Devils over the past three seasons, racking up 67 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks over his Duke career. 

Update Dec. 13: Oben announced Wednesday via X his intentions to join Leonard for another year, as the edge rusher will use his last year of eligibility in South Bend, Ind., to help the Fighting Irish contend for a national title. 

Sunday, Dec. 3

LB Dorian Mausi: Duke loses its fifth player on the defense to the transfer portal, as linebacker Dorian Mausi becomes the next Blue Devil to announce his intention to leave Durham. This year, the senior linebacker racked up 61 tackles and also caught the game-sealing interception against Clemson in the season opener. Duke will now likely rely on returning linebackers Tre Freeman and Nick Morris Jr. to replace the Detroit native. 

Update Dec. 20: Mausi announced via X that he will be taking his talents to the SEC, as the linebacker will join Auburn for his last year of eligibility. 

Wednesday, Dec. 6

RB Jaquez Moore: Another key offensive player will not be returning to Durham next season, as Moore announced via X his intention to enter the transfer portal to use his last year of eligibility. The junior has been a staple in the running back room the last two seasons, tallying 1,121 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns during his time at Duke. This season, the Live Oak, Fla., native had two 100-yard rushing games, crossing that mark against Virginia and Florida State. With the room already losing Jordan Waters and Jaylen Coleman to graduation, the Blue Devils look set to rely on freshman Peyton Jones as their featured back in 2024. 

Update Dec. 11: It was reported that Moore would be withdrawing his name from the portal, as Diaz evidently was able to convince the junior to stay. His return gives the Blue Devils a major contributor in the backfield next year, as he will almost certainly be the top running back for Diaz’s inaugural season. 

RB Jordan Waters: Duke loses its most productive back, as graduate student Waters intends to enter the transfer portal as well, per a report from 247Sports’ Brad Crawford on X. Waters was spectacular all year long, running for 12 touchdowns this season to go with 753 yards, leading the Blue Devils in both categories.

Update Dec. 18: Waters becomes the second Blue Devil this off-season to transfer within the conference, as the running back will be moving just down the road to join the N.C. State Wolfpack. Waters will host his former team in Raleigh in 2024.

Wednesday, Dec. 13

WR Malik Bowen-Sims: The senior becomes the first Blue Devil receiver to get into the transfer portal this offseason, as the senior will elect to use his last year of eligibility elsewhere. This season, the Mount Juliet, Tenn., native had three catches for 13 yards, and he finishes his Duke career with 13 receptions for 107 total yards and will likely be in search of a school where he can receive more opportunities to catch the ball. 

Update Dec. 17: Bowen-Sims announced via X that he is committing to Austin Peay, where former Duke co-offensive coordinator Jeff Faris is the new head coach.

N Brandon Johnson: Diaz now loses his most versatile weapon on defense, as Johnson entered the transfer portal Wednesday afternoon. Johnson was stellar this season on defense, serving as a Swiss Army knife for the Blue Devils, racking up 56 tackles and 8.5 tackles for loss to go with two interceptions. In 2022, the Newton, N.C., native was similarly effective, finishing with 55 tackles and 5.5 sacks and garnering Honorable Mention All-ACC honors. The junior will not be an easy player to replace, and his role will likely have to be shared by multiple defenders in 2024. 

Update Jan. 17: Johnson announced his decision to transfer to Oregon for his final year of eligibility. The standout nickel will join a loaded Ducks squad that will look to make a title run in their first year in the Big Ten. 

Friday, Dec. 22

DE Ryan Smith: The defensive end’s name popped up in the transfer portal Friday night, making the senior the third defensive lineman to enter the transfer portal this offseason. In 2023, the Acworth, Ga., native racked up 23 total tackles along with three tackles for loss and two sacks, earning ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors after Duke’s game against Wake Forest. Smith was also the recipient of the team’s Special Teams Player of the Year award in 2022. 

Update Jan. 8: Smith has withdrawn his name from the transfer portal, the second Blue Devil to do so this offseason. His return will provide a solid veteran presence for a defensive line group that is losing leaders DeWayne Carter and Ja’Mion Franklin, and will give returning defensive ends coach Harland Bower a proven weapon to deploy in 2024. 

Saturday, Dec. 30

RB Grissim Anderson: Anderson is reportedly entering the transfer portal after four years at Duke. He has played sparingly in his Blue Devil career, with most of his action coming on special teams due to a crowded running back room. 

Monday, March 4

C Scott Elliott: Despite all of the additions new offensive line coach Jeff Norrid has made since joining the staff under Manny Diaz, he just lost a major piece for next season, as center Scott Elliott entered the transfer portal Monday. The Harvard transfer was a key cog to a Duke offensive line unit that struggled with injuries in 2023, providing a reliable presence inside. Now, the Blue Devils will have to find a replacement for a player who made 10 starts for them at center this past season as Elliott will spend his last year of eligibility elsewhere. 

Monday, April 8

OL Jake Long: After transferring to Durham from Angelo State University last offseason, Long is on the move again, as he announced his intention to enter the transfer portal Monday. The Waco, Texas., native did not appear in any games this season for the Blue Devils.

Tuesday, April 16

S Da’Quan Johnson: With the spring transfer window opening up Tuesday, Duke had its first departure in Johnson, who announced that he is entering the portal. The Flomaton, Ala., native made three career starts and also racked up 73 tackles during his time in Durham. 

Wednesday, April 24

OT Ethan Hubbard: Hubbard becomes the third offensive lineman to depart from the program this spring, as the redshirt freshman announced his intention to enter the transfer portal. The Hoover, Ala., native was also one of five lineman to suit up for Duke during the spring game. 

WR Mekhi Wall: Wall was the second player to enter the transfer portal on Wednesday, as the redshirt sophomore will search for a new home. After being a highly touted player at nearby Dudley High School, the receiver only played one snap in Durham.

Update May 2: Wall announced via X that he will be continuing his collegiate career at North Carolina Central. 

Thursday, April 25

WR Apollos Cook: Cook entered the portal with four years of eligibility remaining. He enrolled at Duke in January 2023 as one of the better prospects from the state of South Carolina. At 6-foot-3, he will bring size to any wide receiver room with great potential. 

Update May 14: Cook announced his commitment to Mercer via X

Saturday, April 27

OL Calib Perez: Perez is the next offensive line departure this offseason, as he entered the portal Saturday. In 11 career games, the Pearland, Texas., native played 81 snaps. 

Monday, April 29

CB Quentin Ajiero: Ajiero was another early enrollee last season who declared for the portal. The former three-star prospect will have four years of eligibility remaining. 

Update May 3: Ajiero has withdrawn from the portal

Tuesday, April 30

S River Hanson: Hanson put his name in the portal Tuesday with four years of eligibility remaining. He played sparingly last season, appearing in four games for the Blue Devils. 

Transfers In

Tuesday, Dec. 19

DL Will Seiler: Duke lands its first transfer of the offseason, as Seiler announced his decision to join the Blue Devils via X. The grad transfer comes to Durham after four years at Penn, where he appeared in every game the last three seasons. In 2023, the Atlanta native racked up seven solo tackles and one sack and will help round out a defensive line group that suffered a mass exodus this offseason. 

Friday Dec. 22

QB Maalik Murphy: Diaz has found his quarterback of the future, as former Texas quarterback Maalik Murphy has reportedly committed to Duke according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. The redshirt freshman was ranked as the fourth-best quarterback in the transfer portal and the 20th player overall according to 247Sports. The Inglewood, Calif., native was thrown into the spotlight this season after an injury to star quarterback Quinn Ewers, and Murphy performed admirably, going 2-0 as a starter including an overtime victory over then-No. 23 Kansas State, keeping the CFP dreams alive for the Longhorns. The gunslinger has three remaining years of eligibility. 

Friday, Dec. 29

OL Jack Purcell: Duke adds a huge piece to help offset the losses of starting offensive tackles Graham Barton and Jake Hornibrook, as Purcell is choosing to use his last year of eligibility in Durham after spending five years at Penn. The graduate transfer has 27 career starts between both tackle spots, and will likely slot in at one of these two spots along with redshirt freshman Brian Parker II. The Glen Mills, Pa., native was also a second team All-Ivy selection this season. 

Saturday Jan. 6

WR Javon Harvey: Diaz lands his first weapon for Murphy in the portal, as he flipped the Old Dominion transfer away from Elko and Texas A&M. This season, the redshirt sophomore accounted for 391 yards and four touchdowns on 29 catches, including a 166-yard performance against Wake Forest. The Norfolk, Va., native will help round out a receiver room led by returning coach Zohn Burden that features Jordan Moore and Sahmir Hagans. 

Wednesday Jan. 17

LB Ozzie Nicholas: After the loss of Dorian Mausi to the portal and Cam Dillon to graduation, Duke has re-upped its linebacker room as the Princeton transfer Nicholas announced his intention to use his last year of eligibility in Durham. The Encinitas, Calif., native was spectacular this year in the Ivy League, racking up 102 tackles and 4.5 sacks while garnering First-Team All Ivy honors and he now joins Tre Freeman and Nick Morris Jr. in what figures to be a formidable linebacker corps. 

DT Kendy Charles: Diaz grabs his second defensive transfer of the day in Charles, as the Liberty transfer will help replenish a defensive line that is losing stalwart defensive tackles DeWayne Carter and Ja’Mion Franklin via graduation. Over his career, the Orange Park, Fla., native has racked up 13.5 sacks, including at least five in both 2021 and 2022. In 2022, Charles also helped lead a Flames defense that was first in the country in tackles for loss, as he had 10. The grad transfer has dealt with injuries throughout his career, but at full health, he should play a major role in Duke’s defensive front.  

Saturday, Jan. 27

OL James Pogorelc: Duke adds its second offensive line transfer so far this offseason, as Pogorelc comes over from Stanford to Durham. The Centreville, Va., native comes in at an impressive 6-foot-8 and is the second tackle in as many years to transfer to Duke after Jake Hornibrook. The tackle also was a highly touted recruit before joining the Cardinal, as he was rated a four-star recruit by 247sports.  

Monday, Jan. 29

OL Eric Schon: The offensive line continues to be a focus in the transfer portal, as new position coach Jeff Norrid hauled in his third commit of the offseason in Schon. The Barrie, Ontario, native comes over from Holy Cross, where he was a key factor in the team’s success. The left guard was named as an All-Patriot League first team selection in 2022, and also was second team this past season. The grad transfer will spend his final year of eligibility in Durham, where his arrival will help to offset the departure of standout guard Jacob Monk. 

OL Micah Sahakian: Sahakian is the second offensive lineman of the day to join the Blue Devils, as the Mount Prospect, Ill., native announced his intention to transfer to Duke from Cornell Monday. The senior was a key cog in an excellent Big Red unit in 2022 and 2023, as Sahakian was an All-Ivy League Honorable Mention in 2022 and started at right tackle the past two years for Cornell while also serving as captain this past season. The grad transfer will have two years of eligibility remaining, but may redshirt the 2024 season due to an offseason knee surgery, per a report from Adam Rowe.  

Wednesday, Feb. 28

OL Zachary Franks: Duke continues to rebuild the offensive line in a major way, this time in the form of Northwestern transfer Zachary Franks, who announced his commitment to the program Wednesday. The senior offensive lineman was the Week 1 starter for the Wildcats this fall at right tackle, and now the Baltimore native will help shore up the Blue Devil offensive line for the rest of his collegiate career.   

Wednesday, May 1

LB Alex Howard: The Blue Devils' first get in the spring cycle is Howard, a former linebacker at Youngstown State and Texas A&M. He played his collegiate ball for the Penguins, and then initially transferred to the Aggies in December, before announcing his commitment to Duke. He had 76 tackles and 3.5 sacks last season, and comes to Durham with one year of eligibility remaining. 

Monday, May 13

OL Bruno Fina: After an exodus of offensive lineman during the spring transfer portal window, Duke has landed an impact player at the position, as UCLA transfer Bruno Fina announced he would be transferring into the program Monday. After sparsely playing during his first three years in Los Angeles, the Tucson, Ariz., native burst onto the scene in 2023, starting all 13 games for the Bruins at left tackle. After anchoring an UCLA attack that paced the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game, Fina figures to be a major piece next year for the Blue Devils. 

Wednesday, May 15

DB Tre'Shon Devones: In a big pickup for the Blue Devils, the former Rice defensive back Devones committed to Duke Wednesday. He had a productive 2023-24 campaign after playing sparingly due to injuries for multiple years, recording 45 tackles and two interceptions. The Duncanville, Texas, native had interest from the likes of Notre Dame and Colorado, and will have one year of eligibility remaining. 

Monday, May 15

RB Al Wooten II: Diaz continues to scour the transfer portal for depth at every position, as the program added another piece at running back in Wooten Monday. During his time with the Bears, the Memphis, Tenn., native continued to carve out a larger role within the offense, combining for more than 1000 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns during the last two years. He now joins what figures to be a very talented running back room that already contains Jaquez Moore and Peyton Jones.

Thursday, June 6

RB Star Thomas: New running backs coach Willie Simmons continues to add to his treasure trove, as Thomas becomes the second running back to transfer into the program over the past month. The former New Mexico State Aggie and second-team All-Conference USA honoree has been productive, posting almost 900 yards from scrimmage in his sophomore season to go along with six touchdowns. Standing at 6-feet and 225 pounds, the Homer, La., native may slot in as a short-yardage back to pair with Jaquez Moore. 


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