Duke quarterback Anthony Boone has only made one career start in college, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s inexperienced. He’s entering his fourth season in David Cutcliffe’s offensive system, giving him a deep understanding of an offense he’s set to inherit from three-year starter Sean Renfree.
While Boone is not the accomplished passer that Renfree was during his time at Duke, he has other skills that defenses will have to account for. At 6-foot 235 pounds, he’s a viable threat in the run game, and Duke plans to take advantage of that. This spring they ran more zone read with Boone than they did in the pass-happy offense that Renfree led.
The jury is still out on whether or not it will be as successful, but Cutcliffe knows he has a unique athlete under center this year.
In an interview with ESPN this spring, Cutcliffe said of Boone:
“He can extend plays with his running ability and his quickness and his strength. He’s a 235-pound guy that’s very quick. I haven’t had a lot of guys that have a cannon as an arm. He’s got that. He’s got incredible range when he extends a play. He’s a guy that’s a playmaker.”
Boone gave Blue Devil fans a glimpse into the 2013 offense when he made a spot start against Virginia last season. He completed 18 of 31 passes for 212 yards with four touchdowns and added 41 more yards on the ground. He showed a calmness in the pocket and excellent touch on the deep ball, burning the Cavaliers repeatedly in a 42-17 victory.
He’ll need to improve his accuracy, particularly on intermediate throws, but that will get better with more reps. He’ll benefit from the return of All-ACC caliber wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who grabbed 76 passes for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore.
The Blue Devils are riding high after playing in a bowl game for the first time since 1995, and they are hoping to play in back to back bowl games for the first time in school history.
Boone’s performance will go a long way in determining whether or not Duke plays in the postseason, but he appears primed for a breakout season. He likely won’t put up the same passing numbers Renfree did, but he can win games in a other ways.
There’s excitement down in Durham, and now Boone is stepping into the spotlight.