Last spring, Duke’s Brandon Braxton made the move from receiver to safety, where he finished with 38 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and a pass breakup, in eight games. This spring, Braxton will return to his original position to help the Blue Devils at wide receiver, coach David Cutcliffe said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Duke’s receiver position was thin following the graduations of Conner Vernon and Desmond Scott, not to mention the absence of Blair Holliday, a player filled with potential whose career was cut short by a serious jet ski accident last summer.
Braxton could be part of the answer.
“He’s pretty excited about it,” Cutcliffe said. “I felt like it was in his best interest and in our best interest as a program and as a team to do that, and I don’t just jump in there and tell him. We had conversations, but he certainly agreed with me. He’s a fine young man and a team player. He had to have some shoulder surgery, and all the way around the board, it’s going to be better for him as we move forward and our program that he plays receiver as a senior.”
It’s uncertain if Braxton will be able to fully participate in spring drills because of his shoulder injury, but Duke has three practices prior to spring break, and the staff is hoping to get a clearer picture of its injury list for the fourth practice.
Duke was also looking to get more physical at tight end, and moved former defensive tackle Nick Sink to the position during the bowl game preparations. Issac Blakeney, Erich Schneider and Braxton Deaver are expected to shift among the slot, wideout and tight end positions to make for a more versatile rotation.