Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cutcliffe keeps focus on in-state talent

Coach David Cutcliffe broke with recent Duke recruiting strategy earlier this month by signing nine players from North Carolina in his second recruiting class with the Blue Devils.

Cutcliffe made the Blue Devils competitive inside the state when they have often concentrated elsewhere for recruiting in the past. Durham Hillside running back Desmond Scott was among the in-state prizes Duke landed.

“The high school talent in North Carolina, don’t let anybody tell you it isn’t exceptional,” Cutcliffe said Wednesday while entertaining as the guest speaker at the Raleigh Sports Club.

According to Cutcliffe, there are going to be about 35 to 40 football players from North Carolina signing with BCS schools each year. Cutcliffe plans to remain a contender for many of those players, and already has three juniors from inside the state committed for next year’s class.
Some other highlights from Wednesday’s speech:

- Five to seven players are going to change positions heading into spring practice. Cutcliffe wouldn’t elaborate on the changes because they’re not all finalized, but it’s known that backup quarterback Zack Asack will move to a new position for his senior season.

- Sean Renfree, the highly recruited redshirt freshman quarterback from Scottsdale, Ariz., has impressed Cutcliffe. “He’s got every one of the ingredients to go to the next level (NFL),” Cutcliffe said. Asack’s move should make Renfree the backup to returning starter Thaddeus Lewis.

- After spending 26 straight years coaching in the SEC, Cutcliffe was impressed with the quality of ACC head coaches and assistants in his first season as an ACC coach. “Don’t let anybody tell you the ACC is not up to par,” he said.
- Ken Tysiac

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