Brandon Braxton was first asked to consider moving from wide receiver to safety, one of the first people he talked to was his dad.GREENSBORO, N.C. – When
David Braxton knows a little bit about defensive football. He was a fine college player and a second-round draft pick who played six seasons as a linebacker in the NFL. Their conversation convinced his son it would be a good move for his career at Duke.
So Brandon talked things over with Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe and said if it would help the team, he would make the move. His education as a safety began in spring practice and he has been a starter in all of Duke’s games this season.
“I feel relatively settled in,” Braxton said. “I’m still learning week by week for sure. Certain things came more naturally than others. I’d make plays here and there but I’d also mess up a lot. The mistakes have definitely helped me learn to become a better safety.”
Braxton has made his presence felt with 28 tackles (17 solo and 11 assists), which are second on the team. His play has helped Duke take a 3-1 record into Saturday’s game at Wake Forest.
“I’m the quarterback of the defense,” he said about his role. “I’ve got to know all the checks, I’ve got to know formations and read my keys and be patient but also play fast.
“It’s a ton of fun. There’s always something going on. A lot is making sure I’m in the right place but it’s also running around and making plays, which I enjoy a lot.”
This is relatively new for Braxton, whose only previous experience on defense was playing safety briefly as a junior in high school. He was always a receiver and he wasn’t just a spare part going unused in Duke’s offense. In two seasons he caught 54 passes, including 40 in 2011. He also played on special teams, where he really caught the eye of Cutcliffe.
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