JUCO tight end Cooper Helfet, running back Joshua Snead, and quarterback Brandon Connette have enrolled early sources confirmed on Monday morning. All three players will begin classes and regularly scheduled off-season workouts this week.
Connett, ranked as the nation's No. 59 overall quarterback prospect by Scout.com, committed to the Blue Devils back in May of 2009 - choosing Duke over Stanford, Boise State, South Carolina, and others. The 6'2, 210 pound Connette was born in Charlotte before moving to California. He is rated as a three star prospect.
He will enter Duke as one of three quarterbacks in the class, which means immediate competition with classmates and with two other Blue Devil signal callers.
"Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Roper have told me they want me to get ready to compete every day. They want me to be as competitive as I can be. They don't want me coming in with the mindset that I'm just a true freshman and so I'm automatically a scout team guy. I know I'll be working with a lot of talented guys in Sean Renfree, Sean Schroeder, and Anthony Boone. It will make us all better. That kind of environment pushes everyone to get better because if you don't work hard, you could drop down the depth chart."
Snead is rated as a three star prospect and the nation's No. 95 running back per Scout. He committed to Duke just a week after Connette and enjoyed a solid senior campaign for Smithfield-Selma - earning an invitation to the Shrine Bowl in December.
Upon committing to Duke, Snead - who measures out at 5'9 and 175 pounds with a 4.5 forty time - spoke of exactly what his role is expected to be.
"They want to come in and play either running back or slot," he said. "I prefer playing the slot or coming out of the backfield. I am labeled as an athlete. Whatever is best I can be a factor for the team."
"My biggest strengths is my speed. I have great vision. With the ball in my hands I can do a lot of things with it on offense or defense."
"I know how to read defenses. My coach has told me the thing I need to get us
The third member of to enroll may also be the most intriguing. Cooper Helfet, a 6'4, 235 pound tight end, comes to Duke by way of Santa Rosa Junior College.
After playing at Redwood (Calif.) High School under coach Jim Nelson, Helfet attended Johns Hopkins University on a lacrosse scholarship in the fall of 2007. He played the 2008 and 2009 seasons for coach Keith Simons at Santa Rosa.
A native of Kentfield, Calif., Helfet helped Santa Rosa to an 8-3 record in 2008 by catching 28 passes for 382 yards including a 12-reception, 188-yard, three-touchdown performance in the Bear Cubs’ 28-20 win over Sierra (Calif.) College in the Premiere Bank Bowl. This past fall, he had 40 catches for 657 yards and seven touchdowns as Santa Rosa posted a 5-5 ledger.
Because of his status as a signed recruit, Cutcliffe was able to provide his thoughts on his latest addition:
"Cooper is a physical playmaker who we feel could have an immediate impact on our program," Cutcliffe said. "He has good size and speed and played in an excellent offensive system at Santa Rosa. We’re looking forward to having him join us next month."