9th ACC (3rd Coastal Division)
3rd: North Carolina
39th: Division I
2017 In a Sentence: Duke’s 2017 season can be broken into three separate segments, good, bad, and good. The Blue Devils won their first 4 games of the seasons, then proceeded to lose 6 straight before winning their last 3 games, including a win over Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: RB Shaun Wilson led the Blue Devils in rushing in 2017 with 818 yards and 6 touchdowns going for 5.0 yards per carry. Wilson also was a big part of the passing game, hauling in 36 passes for 263 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wilson also handled the bulk of the kick return duties, averaging 23.4 yards per return over 26 attempts. It is imperative for Duke to find a way to replace such a multi-faceted player if they want to have success in 2018.
Key Player: LB Joe Giles-Harris is a second team preseason All American. Giles-Harris had a great sophomore year for the Blue Devils defense with 125 total tackles including 16 for loss and 5.5 sacks. Duke will want to get all they can out of Giles Harris this year as he is already being talking about as one of the top 5 outside linebackers for the 2019 NFL draft. He is a complete, 3 down linebacker who is great against the run and the pass.
Fearless Prediction: If Duke can work out some of the inconsistencies in their game, the Blue Devils could be in line for a better bowl bid in 2017 and a winning record.
Jamie is a proud 2002 graduate of James Madison University. He’s witnessed the growth of the program from no one in the stands in 1998, to the hiring of Mickey Matthews, to the 2004 National Championship, to the 2008 team, to the struggles in the early 2010s, and finally the rebuild under Mike Houston. He also allegedly really enjoys Washington, DC-based Stanley Cup winners.
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