DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe handed out the program’s annual spring football awards on Friday, highlighting five Blue Devils for their outstanding performances during the spring practice period.
Rising senior offensive guard Julian Santos and true freshman wide receiver Darrell Harding Jr. shared most improved offensive player accolades. Last fall, Santos played in all 13 games, starting seven at left guard. He also was a primary member of the special teams units. Harding Jr. enrolled at Duke in January upon his graduation from West Orange High School. He was the 2018 Orlando Touchdown Club Player of the Year, a two-time All-Metro and All-Central Florida selection and a 2018 All-Orlando Sentinel first team honoree.
Defensively, rising redshirt sophomore safety Damani Neal and rising redshirt freshman linebacker Shaka Heyward shared most improved player accolades. Last fall, Neal played in 10 games, recording 16 tackles, 1.0 tackle for lost yardage, 1.0 sack and one caused fumble. He carded half of his season’s tackle total versus Temple in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl and added the year’s sack versus the Owls. Heyward experienced action in four contests during the 2018 campaign. The Hoschton, Ga., product was on the field for 18 total snaps.
Rising junior punter Jackson Hubbard received the Blue Devil Heart Award.
Duke, which returns 50 lettermen and 15 starters from last year’s squad, began spring drills on March 1 and will conclude its stretch of 15 practice dates on Wednesday, April 10.
The Blue Devils open the 2019 season versus Alabama inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on August 31. Tickets for the contest, as well as season tickets, may be purchased by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 919-681-BLUE or online at GoDuke.com/FootballTix.