Montgomery aims to give Duke top in-state recruits
During Scottie Montgomery’s first term as an assistant coach at Duke from 2006-09, he was responsible for recruiting Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner out of Miami.
Vernon became the ACC’s career leader in catches (283) and receiving yards (3,749), while Varner was a first-team All-ACC pick as a sophomore.
After three years as the wide receivers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Montgomery is back for another term at his alma mater, and he wants to emphasize a closer recruiting ground — the state of North Carolina.
“Watch out for me on the roads of North Carolina, because it’s going to be real,” Montgomery said. “Some of these other college football coaches recruiting around here, if I were you, I’d look somewhere else.”
Currently, 30 percent of Duke’s scholarship players are from the Tar Heel state. The number was nine percent when Coach David Cutcliffe arrived in Durham after the 2007 season.
One homegrown product, Monroe’s Jamison Crowder, caught the winning touchdown pass with 13 seconds left against North Carolina this past season.
“(Crowder) continued to make plays throughout the year that were jaw-dropping,” Montgomery said. “None more satisfying than the one he made against the University of ... I can’t think of their name.”
Montgomery spoke Monday at a news conference announcing his hiring and his new title — associate head coach and offensive coordinator/passing game.
His return will help fill the void left by former recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Matt Lubick, who left for Oregon two weeks ago. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will continue to call Duke’s plays.
“I’m there to assist Kurt in any way that I possibly can in the offense,” Montgomery said. “I came back here because I trusted him and I like what he does.”
Montgomery was an in-state recruit from Cleveland County who led Duke in receiving for three straight seasons from 1997-99 and was a two-time team MVP. He currently is fourth in school history in catches (171) and sixth in receiving yards (2,379).
Montgomery played in the NFL with the Denver Broncos (2000-02) and the Oakland Raiders (2003), and then went back to Duke to be a receivers coach. He spent two seasons each under Ted Roof and Cutcliffe before three years with Pittsburgh.
“When I went to Pittsburgh, my deal was to become a better coach,” Montgomery said. “When I came back to Duke, it’s the same deal — I came back to be a better coach.
“Not only are our players striving for excellence, but one of the things (Cutcliffe) has always pushed on me is that ambition would drive us to another level. And my ambition is to become a better coach, and that’s why I’m here.”
Montgomery said the chance to work with Cutcliffe again made the decision to leave one of the NFL’s most successful organizations easier.
“What he’s been able to do as far as instilling wisdom in his coaches, pride in his players and just an overall attitude in the entire community has been nothing short of great,” Montgomery said.