- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Duke football can no longer be overlooked on the football field.
Or on the recruiting trail.
The Blue Devils have capitalized on their Coastal Division championship with an impressive commitment list for the class of 2015 so far. The latest coup? ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Petite chose Duke over USC on Wednesday.
Excited to finally announce my commitment to Duke University! Thanks to all who helped along the way! #dukegang2015
— Tyler Petite (@TylerPetite) July 2, 2014
Petite is now the second ESPN 300 commitment the Blue Devils have secured. Duke has never signed more than one ESPN 300 player in any given class.
Perhaps most impressive of all? Duke is getting pledges from players who are spurning more prestigious football programs. Not only did Petite pick Duke over USC; ESPN 300 receiver Keyston Fuller chose the Blue Devils over offers from Auburn, Clemson and hometown Georgia to name three.
Just last month, Duke also picked up a commitment from three-star offensive lineman Reno Rosene, who had offers from Notre Dame, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Duke has worked the California recruiting trail hard under David Cutcliffe, but the Blue Devils also have reaped the benefits of staying closer to home, too.
As ESPN Recruiting Nation reporter Jeremy Crabtree points out, Duke has made particular headway inside the state of Georgia for this class, with six commitments to date. He writes:
Keep an eye on three-star receiver T.J. Rahming's stock, too. He has a big upside and could shoot up the rankings with a solid senior season. One ACC coach called him “the biggest sleeper in the state of Georgia.”
Cutcliffe has never had a class finish in the top 50 of the ESPN recruiting rankings, but he has been reaping the rewards of his team's on-field success. Back in February, the Blue Devils signed four four-star players -- including one in the ESPN 300 -- the best group of talent they have signed to date.
That earned the Blue Devils a No. 51 ranking from ESPN, its highest ever. Now consider: Duke has made back-to-back bowl games and its first ACC championship game without top-rated recruiting classes.
What will Cutcliffe be able to do with all the talent he is now assembling?
23hDavid Ching and Edward Aschoff
3dESPN Stats & Information