Duke unveils 18-player 2014 football recruiting class
Because of so much effective work early, Duke has most of its 2014 recruiting class locked in before its wildly successful season last fall.
That school-record 10-win season, though, did help make an already good class a little better over the last three weeks.
“It certainly did here at the end,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Wednesday.
The last two commitments Duke landed before Wednesday’s national signing day, defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord and wide receiver Trevon Lee, made their decisions after watching Duke win the school’s first ACC Coastal Division championship.
Cerenord, from Plantation, Fla., committed to Duke on Jan. 19 after visiting campus the weekend of the team’s football banquet, which celebrated the 10-4 season and Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance. He picked Duke over offers from Tennessee, Arkansas, Cincinnati and Wake Forest, among others.
Lee, from Fort Lauderdale, pledged to Duke on Monday night, picking the Blue Devils over Vanderbilt. He had also visited Mississippi and California.
Lee is a 4-star recruit by ESPN, giving Duke four four-star players among the 18 newcomers who signed their scholarship papers on Wednesday. The others are linebacker Zavier Carmichael of Mobile, Ala., quarterback Nico Pierre of Miami and running back Shaun Wilson of Charlotte.
By comparison, Duke had no four-star recruits in its 2013 class, which still included several players who saw significant playing time last season. Those players included cornerbacks Bryon Fields and Breon Borders, safety Deondre Singleton and wide receivers Ryan Smith and Johnell Barnes.
All five of those players were rated as three-star recruits.
Cerenord has that designation along with 13 other incoming freshmen for Duke who are looking to add to the school’s burgeoning football reputation.
Of Duke’s 18 incoming freshmen, 16 of them committed to the Blue Devils before they put together their memorable eight-game winning streak that included a second consecutive win over rival North Carolina.
Many of them committed before Duke even played a game last season.
As much as Cutcliffe likes the talent and the geographic diversity in his class (nine states are represented), he’s even more happy with the caliber of people.
“We have signed good football players,” Cutcliffe said. “These guys are going to be really good teammates. Probably the most important thing a guy can strive to be is a good teammate. That’s what Duke football is made up of.”
Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils did best in acquiring long-term help at offensive line, wide receiver and in the running game.
Six of the new players — 33 percent of the class — are offensive linemen. They include tackle Kameron Schroeder of Elk Grove, Calf., guard Jake Sanders of Carrollton, Ga., Christian Harris of Suwannee, Ga., center Zach Harmon of Toledo, Ohio, tight end Davis Koppenhaver of Valencia, Calif., and N.C. Shrine Bowl tackle Trip McNeill from Mocksville’s Davie County High School.
Lee, the highest-rated player in the class, could help immediately at wide receiver, where the Blue Devils are already strong. ESPN listed him as the No. 33 receiver in the class and the 235th best player overall in the class.
Cutcliffe also likes what Chris Taylor, a first-team all-state receiver from University School in Miramar, Fla., brings to the Blue Devils. Taylor caught 47 passes for 856 yards and 12 touchdowns last fall.
At running back, Duke gets more depth with the addition of Wilson, from Charlotte’s West Mecklenburg High School. Wilson rushed for 1,857 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior and was selected for North Carolina’s Shrine Bowl team.
Even though those players signed before or during Duke’s breakout 2013 season, Cutcliffe said they were able to bond over it among themselves and with their new teammates thanks to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in addition to texting and email.
“I love the fact that some of them that hadn’t even met have become great friends through technology,” Cutcliffe said. “They have developed relationships.”
The next step is for Cutcliffe and his staff to develop them into teams that keep Duke winning football games.
Class of 2014 Duke Football Recruiting Class
Name Pos Ht. Wt. Hometown High School
Tinashe Bere B 6-1 220 Cincinnati, Ohio Sycamore
Zavier Carmichael B 6-0 210 Eight Mile, Ala. St. Paul’s Episcopal
Edgar Cerenord L 6-1 300 Miami, Fla. American Heritage
Quaven Ferguson L 6-2 305 Easley, S.C. Easley
Zach Harmon L 6-3 280 Toledo, Ohio Central Catholic
Christian Harris L 6-6 290 Suwanee, Ga. Collins Hill
Davis Koppenhaver L 6-4 210 Valencia, Calif. Hart
Trevon Lee B 6-1 175 Plantation, Fla. Cardinal Gibbons
Johnathan Lloyd QB 6-0 195 Graham, N.C. Southern Alamance
Trip McNeill L 6-5 300 Advance, N.C. Davie
Zach Muñiz B 5-11 170 Chesterfield, Mo. Christian Brothers College
Nicodem Pierre QB 6-2 205 Miami, Fla. Coral Reef
Jake Sanders L 6-5 330 Carrollton, Ga. Carrollton
Alonzo Saxton II B 5-11 170 Columbus, Ohio Bishop Hartley
Kameron Schroeder L 6-5 275 Elk Grove, Calif. Cosumnes Oaks
Taariq Shabazz L 6-3 230 Kennesaw, Ga. Kennesaw Mountain
Chris Taylor B 6-1 170 Miramar, Fla. University
Shaun Wilson B 5-9 180 Charlotte, N.C. West Mecklenburg
Key: B-Back, L-Line, QB-Quarterback.
Individual Player Profiles
B • 6-1, 220
Cincinnati, Ohio (Sycamore)
Four-year letterman at Sycamore under Scott Dattilo ... listed as the No. 41 middle linebacker in the country by Scout.com ... charted as the No. 44 inside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports.com ... helped squad to four-year ledger of 29-13 with a pair of state playoff berths ... in senior season, carded 75 tackles four sacks, four caused fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception ... named the Greater Miami Conference Defensive Player of the Year following senior campaign ... also tabbed to the Cincinnati Enquirer All-Star team ... as a junior, totaled 85 tackles, seven tackles for loss and three sacks ... three-time All-Greater Miami Conference selection ... also participated in track and field and wrestling ... born August 2, 1995 ... son of Musatya and Thenjiwe Bere.
B • 6-0, 210
Eight Mile, Ala. (St. Paul’s Episcopal)
Four-year letterman at St. Paul’s under Steve Mask ... charted as the No. 30 outside linebacker in the country by ESPN.com ... helped team to four-year record of 42-10 with four state playoff appearances ... as a senior, posted 103 tackles with two sacks and two fumble recoveries ... logged 76 tackles, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries in junior season ... finished career with 283 tackles, eight sacks, nine fumble recoveries and four interceptions ... also lettered in track and field ... one of five finalists for the Watkins Award, an honor presented annually to the top African-American high school student-athlete in the country ... born October 24, 1995 ... son of Robbin and Sidney Carmichael.
L • 6-1, 300
Miami, Fla. (American Heritage)
Four-year letterman at American Heritage Plantation under Mike Rumph ... charted as the No. 39 defensive tackle in the country by 247Sports.com ... listed as the No. 49 defensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com ... helped team to four-year record of 40-10 with four state playoff berths ... led squad to a 15-1 record and the Florida 5A state championship in senior season ... first team (5A) all-state pick by the Associated Press as a senior after posting 74 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five sacks and one interception ... three-time all-county choice ... finished career with 268 tackles and 14 sacks ... also lettered in track and field and wrestling ... born October 11, 1995 ... son of Gary Cerenord.
L • 6-2, 305
Easley, S.C. (Easley)
Three-year letterman at Easley under Grayson Howell ... helped team to three-year record of 24-13 with three state playoff appearances ... recorded 93 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, six sacks and two caused fumbles as a senior to earn first team (Division II AAAA) all-state honors from the High School Sports Report ... also received Class 4A Upper State Lineman of the Year honors from the South Carolina Football Coaches Association ... had 63 tackles including 7.5 tackles for loss as a junior ... two-time all-region selection ... finished career with 216 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five caused fumbles ... also lettered in basketball ... born January 4, 1996 ... son of April and Kevin Ferguson.
L • 6-3, 280
Toledo, Ohio (Central Catholic)
Three-year letterman at Toledo Central Catholic under Greg Dempsey ... listed as the No. 14 center in the nation by Rivals.com ... charted as the No. 20 center in the country by Scout.com ... helped squad to a three-year ledger of 34-6 record including the 2012 Ohio Division II state championship ... served as team captain as a senior ... suffered season-ending neck injury in week three of senior campaign ... first team all-conference and honorable mention all-state pick as a junior ... also participated in wrestling ... born June 27, 1996 ... son of Lisa and Wes Harmon.
L • 6-6, 290
Suwanee, Ga. (Collins Hill)
Three-year letterman at Collins Hill under Kevin Reach ... listed as the No. 57 offensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com ... helped team to three-year record of 21-13 with three state playoff berths and a region championship in 2013 ... first team all-county as a senior ... selected to play in the Georgia Coaches Association North-South Classic and Gwinnett County All-Star Game ... born January 15, 1996 ... son of Danielle Lee-Hagwood and Scott Hagwood.
L • 6-4, 210
Valencia, Calif. (Hart)
Three-year letterman at Hart under Mike Herrington ... charted as the No. 37 tight end in the country by ESPN.com ... helped squad to three-year record of 28-11 with three state playoff berths and the 2013 CIF championship ... named to the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA California Football Team by USA Today ... all-state pick by both MaxPreps (2nd team) and Cal-Hi Sports(3rd team) ... first team all-league, all-area and all-CIF selection following senior season ... as a senior, caught 85 passes for 981 yards and five TDs ... career totals included 121 receptions for 1,525 yards and 10 TDs ... also lettered in basketball, earning all-league honors ... born January 24, 1996 ... son of Dave and Sharon Koppenhaver.
B • 6-1, 175
Plantation, Fla. (Cardinal Gibbons)
Three-year letterman at Cardinal Gibbons under Mike Morrill ... listed as the No. 33 wide receiver in the country and the No. 235 overall prospect nationally by ESPN.com ... consensus national top-100 wideout ... helped team to three-year record of 25-8 with three state playoff berths ... had 48 pass receptions for 743 yards and five TDs in senior season ... caught 35 passes for 704 yards and 11 TDs as a junior ... finished career with 115 catches for 2,154 yards and 26 TDs ... set school career records for pass receptions and receiving yardage ... became first player in school history with three seasons of 700+ receiving yards ... three-time all-county selection ... also lettered in track and field ... born December 4, 1995 ... son of Devon Lee.
QB • 6-0, 195
Graham, N.C. (Southern Alamance)
Four-year letterman at Southern Alamance under Andrew Carrouth ... charted as the No. 28 athlete in the nation and the No. 13 overall prospect in North Carolina by Rivals.com ... as a senior, threw for 3,068 yards with 26 TDs and seven INTs while rushing for 755 yards and 11 TDs to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors for the region from the Burlington Times-News ... compiled 2,663 yards of total offense along with 33 total TDs as a junior ... four-time all-conference and three-time all-region pick ... in prep career, threw for over 5,500 yards with 48 TDs while rushing for over 3,000 yards and 39 TDs ... also participated in basketball and baseball ... in December, 2013, participated in Duke’s on-campus practices prior to the program’s appearance in the 46th annual Chick-fil-A Bowl ... enrolled at Duke in January, 2014 ... born December 4, 1995 ... son of Angela and Heith Lloyd.
L • 6-5, 300
Advance, N.C. (Davie)
Four-year letterman at Davie under both Doug Illing and Devore Holman ... listed as the No. 28 offensive tackle in the nation by ESPN.com and the No. 50 offensive guard in the country by Scout.com ... helped team to four-year record of 31-21 with three state playoff berths ... two-time first team all-state pick by the Associated Press ... named to the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA North Carolina Football Team by USA Today ... two-time all-conference selection ... member of the North Carolina squad for the 77th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas played on December 21, 2013 in Spartanburg, S.C. ... also participated in track and field and wrestling ... born August 13, 1996 ... son of Frank and Donna McNeill.
B • 5-11, 170
Chesterfield, Mo. (Christian Brothers College)
Three-year letterman at Christian Brothers under Scott Pingel ... charted as the No. 57 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com ... helped team to three-year ledger of 33-5 with three state playoff berths ... logged four interceptions and 10 pass breakups as a senior en route to earning second team all-state (Class 6) honors from both the Missouri coaches and media ... in junior campaign, posted three interceptions and 14 PBUs ... two-time all-conference selection ... born May 21, 1996 ... son of Cheryl and Edgar Muniz.
QB • 6-2, 205
Miami, Fla. (Coral Reef)
Four-year letterman at Coral Reef under Chevas Clements ... charted as No. 14 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by ESPN.com ... listed as the No. 19 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals.com ... charted as the No. 30 pro-style quarterback in the nation by 247Sports.com ... helped team to four-year record of 27-15 ... finished career with 4,284 passing yards with 68 total TDs (48 passing & 20 rushing) ... also lettered in basketball ... born May 15, 1994 ... son of Gerard Bapist and Michline Jean.
Alonzo Saxton II
B • 5-11, 170
Columbus, Ohio (Bishop Hartley)
Four-year letterman at Bishop Hartley under Brad Burchfield ... listed as the No. 33 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com ... helped team to four-year record of 50-6 with four state playoff berths including two appearances in the state championship game ... Ohio Division V first team all-state and defensive player of the year pick in 2013 ... posted nine interceptions as a senior ... also participated in track and field ... born February 22, 1996 ... son of Deandra Boll and Alonzo Saxton.
L • 6-5, 330
Carrollton, Ga. (Carrollton)
Three-year letterman at Carrollton under Rayvan Teague ... charted as the No. 51 offensive guard in the country by 247Sports.com ... listed as the No. 53 offensive guard in the nation by Scout.com ... helped team to three-year record of 32-8 with three state playoff berths including two appearances in the 2013 state championship game ... two-time first team all-state (AAAA) selection by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in both 2012 and 2013 ... also earned all-state honors following senior season from the Associated Press, Athlon Sports and Georgia Sportswriters Association ... as a junior, served as team captain in the AT&T Rising Seniors Bowl ... three-time all-area pick ... born February 11, 1995 ... son of Collier and Joan Sanders ... father played tennis at Troy University ... brother, Mark, played baseball at Georgia College.
L • 6-5, 275
Elk Grove, Calif. (Cosumnes Oaks)
Three-year letterman at Cosumnes Oaks under Ryan Gomes ... listed as the No. 71 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com ... helped team to three-year record of 24-11 with three state playoff berths ... served as team captain as a senior ... as a senior, earned Sierra Valley Conference Lineman of the Year honors as well as first team all-metro accolades from the Sacramento Bee ... second team all-state pick by Cal-Hi Sports... first team All-Northern California pick by both Sports Stars Magazine and Max Preps ... three-time all-conference pick ... selected to play in both the North-South Optimist Game and West Coast Bowl ... born February 22, 1996 ... son of Diane and Eric Schroeder.
L • 6-3, 230
Kennesaw, Ga. (Kennesaw Mountain)
Two-year letterman at Kennesaw Mountain under Andy Scott ... charted as the No. 38 weakside defensive end in the nation by 247Sports.com ... listed as the No. 51 defensive end in the nation by ESPN.com ... played in just four games as a senior due to injury, compiling 25 tackles, eight tackles for loss and two sacks ... had 59 tackles including 16 tackles for loss and five sacks as a junior ... born May 11, 1996 ... son of Pamela Miller.
B • 6-1, 170
Miramar, Fla. (University School)
Lettered one season at University School under Roger Harriott ... helped team to a 9-3 record and state playoff berth ... first team all-state (4A) selection by the Associated Press after catching 47 passes for 856 yards and 12 TDs as a senior ... in junior campaign, had 25 receptions for 560 yards and 15 TDs at North Broward Prep ... two-time all-county selection ... born January 5, 1996 ... son of Christine and Rowan Taylor.
B • 5-9, 180
Charlotte, N.C. (West Mecklenburg)
Four-year letterman at West Mecklenburg under Jeff Caldwell ... listed as the No. 46 running back in the nation by ESPN.com ... over final two seasons, helped team to 18 wins and two state playoff berths ... as a senior, rushed for 1,857 yards and 32 TDs ... first team All-Mecklenburg selection by the Charlotte Observer following senior season ... rushed for over 5,500 yards along with 75 TDs in prep career ... four-time all-conference selection ... member of the North Carolina squad for the 77th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas played on December 21, 2013 in Spartanburg, S.C. ... also played basketball ... born December 2, 1995 ... son of Lakesha Huntley and Andre Wilson.