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Coach Cutcliffe Quotes: 2009 Signing Day
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/04/2009
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Head Coach David Cutcliffe
Opening statement:
“I think this is a great start of the 2009 year. I think it’s really important to understand the significance our fan base had in recruiting, because people forget how many of these people came to ballgames, and felt and sensed the enthusiasm surrounding Duke Football. I want to first thank the fans and University and faculty and students – they played a significant part in this class. Next, you move toward the coaches and the staff, everybody surrounding the football operation, who did an unbelievable job of hosting these young men and their families on their official visits and in camp, to unofficial visits, a phenomenal job done by that group of people. I certainly thank our administration – Dr. White, Dr. Brodhead – their involvement in recruiting, their willingness to do whatever they can to help. This has been a most enjoyable year in dealing with high school coaches. In recruiting, the high school coach is the unsung hero. And then the state of North Carolina and the local talent. We’re thrilled – what a state we have. And now to the players – I call this class an emphasis on speed and skill, and size and skill. It’s an emphasis on movement, on being able to move your feet. Football is a game of movement and collision, and if you wonder how you go about identifying football players, they show up in that category. If they won’t run and they won’t hit, then they don’t belong on this level. That was the beginning of the emphasis on all this, and I think if you’ll look at the class it’s very balanced. Unbelievable balance, but tons of speed. The other areas I was most concerned with, after we looked at that ability, was discipline and conditioning. I don’t like poorly-disciplined players. Many of our players played for state championships deep into the playoffs, they’re disciplined young men from disciplined families. I pay attention to the conditioning level, and we’ll ask them to pick it up a notch now that they’re in our fold. Some great people. We’re internationally represented in a lot of ways. Some great stories of great young men who’ve done what they had to do to be successful – a pretty unique group. I pinch myself the most at what kind of people they are, so I’m excited, and again very appreciative of all the people it took to get this done.”
On the speed that the class brings:
“I think as you look at our team, that was probably the biggest deficit we faced overall on both sides of the ball as you compared us to the rest of the league. That’s something we knew we’d address quickly. A lot of these youngsters were in our camps so we know exactly how they run and that’s real critical. As I said, when you really take a look at these guys – this field behind me will see a lot more speed than it’s seen in a long time, maybe ever, as these guys establish themselves. It all remains to be seen, it’s all speculative at this point how a player will transition to college.”
On the reception of Duke football during the recruiting process:
“You would be shocked how good a reception we got. That’s why I started with the thanks to our fan base, to the energy and enthusiasm about Duke Football. It’s carried over into the high schools, into the high school coaches, into the communities. We go to Central Florida, to New Jersey and they say congratulations, ya’ll are back, it’s fun to watch y’all play. People are very aware of Duke football – how much fun is that. I probably owe Mike Krzyzewski a great thanks because he makes everybody in the sports world very aware of Duke, and that helps when you walk into any high school.”
On keeping student-athletes in North Carolina:
“The top programs in the country are the programs that do the best jobs recruiting in the 200-mile radius. We’re doing a pretty extensive study in what’s going on recruiting, and if you look at them – probably Texas does the best job of it – if you poll recruits, the No. 1 factor is not winning, it’s geographic location. They’ll pick a winner nearest them. We’re going to recruit North Carolina heavily, and North Carolina is worthy of being recruited.”
On the opportunity for the class to play right away:
“I think that always interests young men when they can play early, and we’re willing to play anybody early that’s ready. We obviously love to redshirt whoever’s not ready. When you have those fourth-year juniors and fifth-year seniors, you have a mature football team. I think all young men, they won’t tell you this, but most importantly to them is that once they’re there, they want to play. They’re stars, they don’t want to sit on the bench. If they want to play early, we’re going to afford them that opportunity.”
On competing with local schools for recruits:
“It’s a little different, you feel like you’re behind enemy lines a lot. It’s similar to when I was at Ole Miss and recruiting against Mississippi State. Tennessee was different because you dominate the state of Tennessee. Right here for in-state players it’s very competitive, but it’s a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed that.”

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