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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Eli Pancol, Darrell Harding Jr., Tony Davis, Jacob Monk and Jalen Alexander
Freshmen Adjusting to Life at Duke
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/28/2019
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DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke football program completed its 10th spring practice Friday morning with five signees from this year’s crop who enrolled at Duke in January. Defensive back Jalen Alexander, defensive back Tony Davis, wide receiver Darrell Harding Jr., offensive lineman Jacob Monk and wide receiver Eli Pancol are spending their springs in Durham.

GoDuke.com caught up with each of the five true freshmen to talk about their transition to Duke football and college life.

Jalen Alexander
Alexander, a native of Loganville, Ga., lettered three years at Grayson High School under head coach Christian Hunnicutt. He was a consensus three-star prospect at the time of his signing and earned 8-AAAAAAA all-region first team accolades at defensive back following his junior and senior seasons.

GoDuke.com: What is one lesson you’ve learned from Duke football since arriving in January?
JA: One lesson I’ve learned from Duke football is to have a strong mentality. I think I already had a strong mentality, but since I got here it has gotten even stronger. There’s a lot more work to do here. 

GoDuke.com: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome since arriving at Duke?
JA: The biggest challenge I’ve overcome is handling responsibilities. In high school, a lot of things were already set up for you or planned out. When I got here, I had to do a lot of things on my own. I had to make my decisions on my own. 

GoDuke.com: You have to wear a shirt with one word on it for one year. Which word do you choose?
JA:
Patience, because you never know when your time will come, but when it does come, you have to be ready for it. 

Tony Davis
A four-year letterwinner at Hunter Huss High School under head coach Jamar McKoy, Davis is an in-state product from Gastonia. The consensus four-star prospect was a four-time All-Big South 3A selection, three-time All-Gaston Gazette pick and a USA Today American Family Insurance ALL-USA North Carolina Football Team first team honoree as a senior.

GoDuke.com: What is one lesson you’ve learned from Duke football since arriving in January?
TD: Never be late. You have to be on time to help out the team and everybody else.

GoDuke.com: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome since arriving at Duke?
TD: Time management. You have to have your stuff done on time or there will be consequences.

GoDuke.com: You have to wear a shirt with one word on it for one year. Which word do you choose?
TD:
Whisper. That’s the nickname they gave me here. 

Darrell Harding Jr.
The 2018 Orlando Touchdown Club Player of the Year, Harding Jr. received four letters at West Orange High School under head coach Robert Head. Harding Jr. was a two-time All-Metro and All-Central Florida selection and added All-Orlando Sentinel first team accolades as a senior. The Winter Garden, Fla., native set West Orange single-game records with four receiving TDs and 235 receiving yards against Ocoee on November 2.

GoDuke.com: What is one lesson you’ve learned from Duke football since arriving in January?
DH: You have to make sure you’re finishing and working as hard as you can. No matter what the circumstances are, make sure you’re giving your best.

GoDuke.com: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome since arriving at Duke?
DH: I would say balancing football and school. I have to make sure I’m focused on football when I’m supposed to be focusing on football and focusing on school when I’m supposed to be focusing on school. It’s still a process, but I’m getting better at it.

GoDuke.com: You have to wear a shirt with one word on it for one year. Which word do you choose?
DH:
#BangBangDukeGang, as one long hashtag.

Jacob Monk
Another North Carolina product, Monk grew up right down the road in Clayton and received three letters under head coach Adam Khavari at Corinth Holders High School. At the time of his signing, Monk was rated by ESPN.com as the No. 6 center in the country. Monk was selected to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and took part in The Opening Finals.

GoDuke.com: What is one lesson you’ve learned from Duke football since arriving in January?
JM: One lesson I've learned is be five minutes early. Five minutes early is on time. Being “on time” is late.  

GoDuke.com: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome since arriving at Duke?
JM: Adjusting to the speed of the game. I’ve gotten better at it, but I still need to improve on that, and the flow of the game.

GoDuke.com: You have to wear a shirt with one word on it for one year. Which word do you choose?
JM:
Win. 

Eli Pancol
A two-year letterman at Pendleton Heights High School under head coach Jed Richman, Pancol was a consensus top-100 wide receiver nationally at the time of his signing. A product of Pendleton, Ind., Pancol was named to the ALL-USA Central Indiana high school football Super Team, Indiana Football Coaches Association All-State team and Associated Press All-Indiana squad following his senior season.  

GoDuke.com: What is one lesson you’ve learned from Duke football since arriving in January?
EP: The 55 (alignment, assignment, execution, effort, finish) and everything about it. We need to be together as a team and finish really hard.

GoDuke.com: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome since arriving at Duke?
EP: Time management. You go to practice and work really hard. Then you go to class and do that. That’s been my biggest struggle, but there has been a lot of help from my teammates.

GoDuke.com: You have to wear a shirt with one word on it for one year. Which word do you choose?
EP:
#DukeGang

#GoDuke 

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