Cutcliffe sees pro potential in Renfree

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
9:00
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David Cutcliffe knows a thing or two about NFL quarterbacks.

The Duke head coach's relationship with Peyton Manning -- and the four-time MVP's recovery from neck surgeries -- has been well-documented. And when looking at his current signal caller, Sean Renfree, Cutcliffe sees pro possibilities for the multi-year starter with a strong senior season.

"Well, the one thing they're going to look at is that ratio of touchdown passes to interceptions, which is just a production number. That's why it carries such weight in that quarterback rating. And it's about production," Cutcliffe said. "So I think he's got to handle that. He's got to handle pressure. He's got to do the things that at times have been a problem for us. Is he a pro prospect? Definitely. I think he will get drafted. To what level depends upon this year.

"But good gosh, what a worker, what a great mind. He's got a tremendous arm. He's very, very accurate, and he's -- you just can't believe the work he's putting in right now on his own. He is a very dedicated youngster, and I'm excited about his summer and what he plans to do this summer."

Renfree enters 2012 with two years of starting experience under his belt, having completed better than 65 percent of his passes for 6,352 yards with 31 touchdowns and 30 picks.

The Blue Devils have not had a player drafted since 2004, when the Giants took tackle Drew Strojny in the seventh round. They have not had a quarterback drafted since 1989, when the Packers selected Anthony Dilweg in the third round. (The Giants took Dave Brown in the 1992 supplemental draft.)

Manning was a regular in Durham, N.C., last fall as he readied for his 2012 return with Cutcliffe, his quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator nearly two decades ago at Tennessee. And Cutcliffe thinks the presence of an NFL great rubbed off on his current signal caller.

"Yes. No. 1, having all this Peyton film available to him to study," Cutcliffe said. "I put Peyton through thousands of drills, and we've got all of that on tape, and he looks at Peyton's movements, his footwork, his habits. That's a huge resource, even with Peyton gone. During Peyton's time here, Peyton was good enough to share with those guys, to talk to them about habits just playing quarterback. He was great with [Duke offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach] Kurt Roper. Peyton spent time with him.

"It's immeasurable, but it's continued because of the resource. And now Sean has really studied it and sees some of the things that you try to tell him would make a difference, and now he can see it because I have all of this drill tape of Peyton right here, which is just an unbelievable resource for a young quarterback."

Matt Fortuna | email

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