The Duke Blue Devils made it to their first bowl game in 18 years in 2012. One of the biggest reasons for their resurgence was an ability to recruit players from all over the country that met the strict academic standards of the university while bringing a higher level of football talent than Duke had known for quite some time.
They had recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Lubick, who has left Tobacco Road for the same job with the Oregon Ducks, to thank for it. Head coach David Cutcliffe will have to adjust to life without Lubick quickly if he hopes to keep the Blue Devils’ turnaround going.
One of Lubick’s biggest contributions to Duke was the West Coast connections he used to recruit players to Durham. Looking at the 2012 Blue Devils’ roster, there are 11 players from California, Arizona, Nevada or Colorado, which is a much higher number than you would expect for a non-football power on the East Coast. Lubick was able to use his energy and enthusiasm to bring recruits into the program, even if they had to come across the country to do it.
Cutcliffe recognized how good Lubick was, calling him “simply the best recruiter I’ve ever worked with.” This offseason, Lubick had Duke in the running for several high-profile recruits including a pair of offensive line recruits that had offers from Oregon. The Blue Devils were in the lead for three-star offensive tackle Elijah George out of Las Vegas until Lubick left for Eugene and took George with him.
Duke will likely still get the benefit of some of Lubick’s work next season with a number of recruits from Northern California, Southern California, Nevada and Texas committed to come east in 2013 thanks to Lubick. Cutcliffe will need to find a new pipeline to the West, however, for the 2014 recruiting class. If he can’t, he’ll watch the stream of recruits coming East to Duke dry up, making a return trip to the postseason all the more difficult.