To read Part I of our interview with Duke’s David Cutcliffe, click here.
Did you feel like it was easier to recruit this year, not necessarily because of the success of this season, but because you guys have been recruiting better every year?
DC: Absolutely. How many other programs in the league -- not many -- do you have the coach coming back for the seventh year? I think there’s three of us. You’ve got Frank [Beamer], Paul Johnson and myself. People like stability and familiarity. You get that in this program. I think that’s had a huge impact on our recruiting. Plus, we’ve had the same guys recruiting the same areas for long periods of time, and we’re very familiar with the younger prospects. We’re going in the same sets of schools and areas, and a lot of the people we’re signing, we have been working on them since they were sophomores to some varying degree, or had them on campus.
What particular needs did you fill in this class?
DC: You look at both lines. We signed eight offensive and defensive linemen combined. That was really important to me. As you look at your team and you evaluate two years out, one reason we’ve gotten better is we’ve had a better flow of linemen growing up and maturing. You look at our defensive and offensive fronts this coming year, after losing three starters on defense and two starters on offense, we’re still veteran and older and mature enough and physical to compete with our peers. I don’t ever want to get caught where we’re playing with a bunch of young people on both lines, so I’m very pleased with this crop. We needed seven or eight guys out of this class that were going to be quality linemen and I believe we did that.
I know you got that receiver, Trevon Lee. Is he a different level of recruit than Duke has been able to bring in in the past?
DC: Well, he’s been interested in us all year. I think it helped a lot. It’s become a lot cooler to come to Duke. Let’s face it. You know that and I know that. Guys who had as much attention in a very highly recruited area, South Florida, a lot of them would never stop and listen. If you could get one to stop and listen, they were interested, but we couldn’t get them to. Our season just continued to increase the interest in a guy like Trevon Lee. He’s like everybody else, he’s got to come in here and prove himself. He knows that. We don’t have entitled players and don’t want them. But I certainly do think he’s a product, and [DT] Edgar Cerenord had a lot of chances and opportunities to go a lot of places. He certainly started paying a whole lot more attention to who we were as we continued to win.
Were there any surprises for you?
DC: No. It’s interesting. The quality of people we recruit, and the technology today ... I was talking to all of them [Tuesday night]. They’ve got my number, they call me. They can call as much as they want, and those guys call all the time. It doesn’t have the drama. I watch a little bit of the TV, and I think it’s kind of comical, the guys who still want to pull the hat out of a podium or under a table or whatever. If you look at it from the standpoint of, if you’re truly doing that, and nobody knows -- which I doubt -- then you may have cost another youngster a scholarship. Because if there are three or four schools waiting on you, they haven’t committed that scholarship to some other worthy person. I never want to participate in that.