Signing Day Fireworks In Durham

Jela Duncan

Heading into late Sunday night there was optimism surrounding the Duke football program, but nobody expected major fireworks. However as Wednesday morning unfolded, the Blue Devils landed the top two prospects on the board.

First came news than Charlotte RB Jela Duncan had fooled the recruiting world by tweeting that he was down to Wake Forest and East Carolina only to pull a Duke had from his bag at a 9 AM press conference at Mallard Creek High.

"I wanted to throw a curve to everyone," said Duncan of the decision. "But in the end my relationship with Coach Cutcliffe was the deciding factor."

Duncan, who has long been identified as Duke's top target - ever since the Spring - had listed Duke as his favorite program throughout the early part of the year before backing off as more and more programs entered the race. At the end of the day, however, it was the old favorite who won the race.

"Coach Cutcliffe said he believed I could come in and really be the piece that finally gets them to turn things around and helps them make the post season. He told me I was the guy they believed in. That's always something you like to hear from a head coach."

Duncan is rated as the nation's No. 37 running back and a three star prospect by Scout.com.

Soon after Duncan made his announcement, the Blue Devils got a shot in the arm on defense when fellow in-state prospect Keilin Rayner picked Duke over East Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio State, NC State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest.

Rayner is ranked as a three star prospect and the nation's No. 36 middle linebacker per Scout.

The Blue Devils were among the first programs to offer, and the offer was one that made a distinct impression.

"I remember that day like it was yesterday, it was when I went there for a Junior. Day. Coach Cutcliffe invited me and my family into his office and offered me on the spot. He said that they are not offering many from the 2012 class but he would like me to be a Duke Blue Devil. He spoke a lot about the excellent gradation rate, the new additions to the program, and the overall future of Duke football. To me it spoke a lot of how they feel about me at Duke."

Rayner projects as a middle linebacker at Duke.

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