The Duke Blue Devils are off to a great start in recruiting for the class of 2014. They’ve received 11 verbal commitments at this point, and interestingly, five of those are offensive linemen. The Blue Devils are making a concerted effort to improve up front and think they’ve found five players who fit their schemes well.
Perhaps the best of the bunch is Trip McNeill, a 6-foot-5 290 pound tackle out of Mocksville, North Carolina. In March, he chose Duke over offers from several other ACC schools, giving the Blue Devils early momentum. McNeill is a three star talent who could develop into an outstanding player at the collegiate level.
He will need time to mature physically, but one thing head coach David Cutcliffe won’t have to teach him is toughness. He plays with a mean streak that is evident in the way he gets off the ball and dominates at the line of scrimmage. He uses great leverage to control his man and finishes his blocks very well. His high school team doesn’t throw the ball very much, so he’s inexperienced as a pass blocker but appears to have the feet necessary to become a good one. He’ll likely redshirt as a freshman but could earn playing time the following year.
Duke also received commitments from two other tackles, Christian Harris from Suwanee, Georgia and Kameron Schroeder from Elk Grove, California. Schroeder is a bit of a project at 6-foot-5 235 pounds, but he has shown the ability to make all the blocks at the collegiate level. He will need time to make significant changes to his body, but he has a great motor and does a nice job blocking on the second level.
Harris committed to the Blue Devils just last week. He’s a self-proclaimed Georgia Bulldogs fan and was waiting to see if they made him an offer. It doesn’t appear that they will, so Harris pulled the trigger and became the fifth member of this well-rounded Duke offensive line class.
Finally, Duke also netted two guards during this recruiting cycle. First, they received a commitment from Jake Sanders, a beast at 6-foot-5 317 pounds. He’s played primarily tackle in high school but might lack the athleticism to play on the edge at Duke. Instead, a move to guard seems likely.
The second guard commitment came last month from Zach Harmon of Toledo, Ohio. The Blue Devils beat out several MAC schools for the 6-foot-4 275 pounder who could also play center.
Duke isn’t done building their class for 2014, but they’ve made their presence felt in the trenches. With five commitments, the Blue Devils are showing a desire to continue to improve their run game which ranked 7th in the ACC last year. So far, so good.
B.L. is a sports writer for Rant Sports and can be followed @coachlip on Twitter.