The Duke Blue Devils are coming off arguably their most successful season in program history in 2013 and will be looking to keep their momentum rolling into 2014. As David Cutcliffe attempts to defend Duke’s Coastal Division title, he’ll lean on on some young talent that has stepped in and infused some talent into the Blue Devils’ roster. Leading the charge of young stars will be sophomore cornerback Breon Borders, who could emerge in 2014 as one of the elite cover men in the ACC.
Coming out of high school, Borders was considered a good prospect but wasn’t expected to make an immediate impact. He was rated as a three-star recruit and ranked as the No. 108 cornerback in the 2013 class. But the Statesville, North Carolina, native came into fall camp as a true freshman ready to make an impact and earned his way into the defensive rotation immediately.
Despite playing behind second-team All-ACC corner Ross Cockrell and never starting a single game in 2013, Borders managed 26 tackles, a team-high four interceptions (good for fifth in the ACC), and eight pass breakups. This season, he’ll move in the top corner spot after both starting corners from 2013 (Cockrell and Garett Patterson) graduated and has added some bulk to his long, 6-foot frame. That will allow him to be a more physical and difficult matchup for receivers at the line of scrimmage.
While Borders is still a bit raw in terms of his technique, he has the experience and playmaking ability to blossom into one of the best defenders in the conference this fall. If he takes his game to the next level in 2014 and builds off his strong freshman campaign, Duke will have some serious staying power in the ACC title race.