The start of the 2016 college football season is fast approaching. Its time to take a look at what to expect from the Blue Devils on the gridiron this fall
Duke has had the luxury of being able to have a lot of quality receivers on their roster for a while now. Last season was a bit of a rebuilding year for the wide receiving group and did not see a true go to receiver develop. The talent is there, however, and with more experience under their belt this season should be another great year for Blue Devil receivers.
Things really started to come together for redshirt junior Anthony Nash last season. Nash was always thought to have a ton of potential at the receiver position, standing at 6’5 with great speed, but never really saw the field for any extended time until last year. Nash finished the season with 32 catches for 475 yards and 1 touchdown last season and seems to have cemented his place in the starting lineup. Nash’s size and speed makes him a great weapon for the offense and he should get plenty of looks in 2016. Sophomore TJ Rahming also returns this year. Rahming had a stellar freshman season, tallying 43 catches for 571 yards and 2 touchdowns. Duke didn’t have much success throwing down the field in 2015, but Rahming showed some big play potential. With an offseason of strength and conditioning and the continued development of the receiving group as a whole, Rahming could gain even more comparisons to Jamison Crowder this season.
True freshman Scott Bracey is one of the most highly touted recruits to ever commit to Duke and could be in line to start from day one. His talent is unquestioned. Bracey has been slowed by a hamstring injury in practice so far, so him getting healthy is the first step to contributing this fall. Bracey should add a whole new level to the Duke offense this year. Tight end Daniel Helm is also going to be a new face that Duke fans will see a lot of this season. The former 4 star recruit is eligible to play this year after redshirting in 2015 following a transfer from Tennessee.
Those four figure to be the starters for most of the season, but there are plenty of other talented pass catchers who will rotate through the lineups. Chris Taylor returns after seeing some action as a true freshman last year. Punt returner Ryan Smith will also have a reserve role. Jonathan Lloyd has been getting some first team reps in practice and could turn into a big time contributor this fall. Trevon Lee, Keyston Fuller, Quay Chambers, and Aaron Young could all earn some playing time, as well.
While Helm will probably start at the tight end position Erich Schneider should see plenty of time this fall also. Schneider caught three touchdown passes last season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Blue Devils roll out an occasional 2 tight end set. Davis Koppenhaver and Dan Beilinson will back Helm and Schneider up.
Check out our other preseason position previews: