Duke loses RB Jela Duncan for Chick-fil-A Bowl and 2014 season
No. 22 Duke has lost steady running back Jela Duncan not only for the Chick-fil-A Bowl, but for next season as well.
A sophomore who has gained more rushing yards than any other Blue Devil over the last two seasons, Duncan was suspended by the university on Saturday for a violation of academic policy.
Duke’s leader in rushing yardage (562 yards) this season, Duncan will not be eligible for reinstatement to the school until the spring 2015 semester. Duke’s policies also dictate that Duncan is not allowed on campus until his suspension is lifted.
According to Duke’s student conduct policies, Duncan will have to apply for reinstatement to Duke this fall.
The policy states, “Readmission as a student in good standing is coordinated through the dean of the college or school and, in addition to guidelines set forth by the academic dean, is contingent upon satisfaction of any requirements stated in the original sanction.”
Duke policies on sanctions include suspensions for one, two or three semesters as well as a full expulsion from school.
The most recent example of a Duke athlete being suspended for a violation of academic policy involved women’s basketball player Chloe Wells. In December 2011, she was suspended for the spring 2012 semester. Having started the first 10 games that season, she missed the Blue Devils run to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.
Wells was readmitted to school, played 31 games in the 2012-13 season and has played in all 12 games for Duke this season.
Since Duncan played as a freshman last season in his first year on campus, he will have two years of athletic eligibility remaining should he be reinstated to school for the spring 2015 semester.
Even though he won’t be in school and on scholarship for the 2014 football season, he can essentially redshirt because athletes have five years to play their four seasons.
A Charlotte native who starred at that city’s Mallard Creek High School, Duncan led Duke in rushing as a freshman last season with 553 yards. In 109 attempts, he averaged 5.07 yards per carry.
This season, Duncan carried the ball 113 times and averaged 5.0 yards per attempt. Only seven of his carries this season have resulted in a loss of yards.
Duncan has also excelled in ball security. In 260 career touches (including rushes, kickoff returns and pass receptions), he has fumbled three times with just one resulting in a turnover.
In 26 career games at Duke, Duncan has rushed 222 times for 1,115 yards and seven touchdowns while catching 32 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown.
With Duncan unavailable, Duke will rely on senior Juwan Thompson, redshirt junior Josh Snead and sophomore Shaquille Powell at running back for the Chick-fil-A Bowl game against No. 20 Texas A&M in Atlanta on Dec. 31 (8 p.m., ESPN).
Snead is second behind Duncan with 547 rushing yards this season. He averages a team-best 6.1 yards per carry.
Attempts to reach Duke coach David Cutcliffe for comment Saturday night were unsuccessful.