David Cutcliffe: Mannings' annual workouts benefit Duke players

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Peyton Manning and Eli Manning aren't Duke alums, but coach David Cutcliffe is happy to claim the star quarterbacks as honorary Blue Devils.

"They're our advantage," Cutcliffe said during Tuesday's ACC Kickoff event.

The Manning brothers, who both played for Cutcliffe in college -- Peyton at Tennessee and Eli at Ole Miss -- have visited the Duke campus annually to work out.

This spring, they brought along receivers from the Broncos and Giants, and as Cutcliffe touted at Tuesday's ACC Kickoff, it has become an opportunity for the coach to reconnect with his protégés and a chance for young Duke players to get a firsthand lesson on what it takes to excel at the next level.

"What's great is for our players, they see this work ethic, see not only Peyton and Eli, but the receivers and how they're running routes, and they just soak it all up," Cutcliffe said. "It's fun for me, but it's meaningful for our team."

The close ties between Cutcliffe and the Mannings is a key entry on the Duke coach's résumé, and the ongoing relationship has helped make Duke a more attractive destination for young quarterbacks.

"Obviously when you get some national attention, it makes a difference," Cutcliffe said.

Duke is coming off three straight bowl appearances under Cutcliffe, its best run of success since the early 1990s. In Tuesday's media poll, the Blue Devils were picked to finish fourth in the ACC Coastal.