Best Duke Offensive Player
WR T.J. Rahming, Sr.
The smallish, quick target fits the Duke receiver style, able to come up with high-volume grabs and even get deep once in a while. He’s not a big scorer with just five touchdowns in three seasons, but he’s been an all-star target with 178 career catches for 2,108 yards averaging close to 12 yards per grab. He’s the consistent No. 1 guy, but he’ll need a little more help to take the heat off.
2. QB Daniel Jones, Jr.
3. RB Brittain Brown, Soph.
4. OG Julian Santos, Jr.
5. TE Daniel Helm, Sr.
Best Duke Defensive Player
LB Joe Giles-Harris, Jr.
The 6-2, 240-pounder came up with a fantastic freshman season – making 107 tackles with four sacks – and then he became even better. A big pounder on the inside, he led the team with 125 tackles with 16.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, with the ability to hang back and do things in pass coverage, too. Very quick for his size, he’s a guided missile who’s always around the ball.
2. CB Mark Gilbert, Jr.
3. S Jeremy McDuffie, Sr.
4. LB Ben Humphreys, Sr.
5. DE Victor Dimukeje, Soph.
Key Player To A Successful Season
PK Collin Wareham, Sr.
Or AJ Reed. And throw punter Jackson Hubbard in there, too. Austin Parker was fantastic last season – hitting 17-of-21 field goals – but was off the team before the bowl game for academic issues. Now it’ll be up to the untested Wareham – a walk-on with an okay leg – or Reed, a former good recruit who’s been bad when given the shot.
Parker was the team’s punter, too, averaging over 42 yards per kick. The pressure is on walk-on Hubbard to be great, even with no experience.
Key Game To The Duke Season
Virginia Tech, Sept. 29
The Blue Devils have had some success over the Hokies over the last few years – winning in 2013 and 2015 – but they were rocked 24-3 last year in Blacksburg. This time around, it’s the ACC opener, and with a slew of nasty road games to deal with over the second half of the season, it could be a must-win.
After this, Duke get a week off before going on the road for three of its next four games and four of its next six. To even dream of being any sort of a player in the Coastal race, the Blue Devils need this.
2017 Duke Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: Duke 17-of-27 (63%) – Opponents 6-of-27 (22%)
– Red Zone Touchdowns: Opponents 15-of-25 (60%) – Duke 26-of-53 (49%)
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Duke 84 – Opponents 45