His mother ailing, Duke QB Connette eyes transfer closer to LA

Apr. 09, 2014 @ 10:57 PM

Duke quarterback Brandon Connette is exploring a transfer to a school on the West Coast to be closer to his ailing mother, sources close to Connette said Wednesday night.

Connette, who led the Blue Devils with 14 rushing touchdowns last season, hails from Corona, Calif., outside Los Angeles.

Having played three seasons with Duke while redshirting another, he is considering playing his final season at another school. A decision is expected as soon as Thursday.

Connette’s mother, Nancy, was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer last December. While in surgery to remove the tumor, she suffered a stroke that impaired her memory and motor skills.

With the Blue Devils preparing to play in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Brandon Connette was excused from Duke’s bowl practices so he could travel to California to be at his mother’s side in the hospital.

He returned to the team for a few practices prior to the bowl game, which Duke lost 52-48 on Dec. 31 at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.

“It’s a scary situation anytime a family member goes through something like this,” Connette said last December. “It really ripped my heart out.”

Connette played in all 13 games last season as Duke went 10-4 to set a school record for wins in a season. When Duke quarterback Anthony Boone missed time with a broken collarbone, Connette started in his place. Duke went 1-2 in those games.

When Boone returned in early October, he and Connette split time in a successful two-quarterback system the rest of the season.

Connette completed 90 of 145 passes for 1,212 yards and 13 touchdowns. He rushed 101 times for 381 yards and 14 touchdowns. Boone was second on the team with five rushing touchdowns.

Having entered Duke in January 2010, after graduating high school a semester early, Connette has already graduated. Under the NCAA’s graduate student rules, he would be eligible to play immediately at his new school.

Of course, the NCAA would also have likely granted him a hardship waiver due to his mother’s illness.

As for Duke’s quarterback depth chart, Boone is returning as the starting quarterback for his senior season this fall. He will be backed up by redshirt sophomore Thomas Sirk, redshirt freshman Parker Boehme and freshman Jonathan Lloyd.

Duke spokesman Art Chase said the school had no comment on Connette’s status Wednesday night.