DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Duke rarely signs the highest-rated recruits in football. Coach David Cutcliffe believes he's bringing in the right ones.
The Blue Devils announced their 20-man recruiting class Wednesday, and on paper it looks like a typical Duke class. It's full of players the recruiting services rate as two- or three-star prospects.
Cutcliffe said he would call this "a class of playmakers" and he believes they're the players that can help the Blue Devils take yet another step forward.
The veteran coach said his method for evaluating players works because "so far, we've been right most of the time, if you watch our squad."
Duke ended a 17-year bowl drought last season and wants to establish itself as a program that plays in the postseason more often than not.
This year's class is heavy on speed and skill, with two quarterbacks and 14 backs listed. Duke customarily lists all players who aren't quarterbacks or specialists as either backs or linemen, then tags them with specific positions once they arrive on campus and begin practice.
"There are a lot of athletes in this class that can show up one day playing a number of different positions," Cutcliffe said.
The positions of need include cornerback and receiver. Duke's secondary was decimated by injuries last season and the Blue Devils must replace two key receivers - including the leading wideout in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Conner Vernon finished his college career with 283 catches for 3,749 yards.
Five of the defensive backs Duke signed received three stars from Scout.com, headed by cornerbacks Johnell Barnes of Fort Myers, Fla.; Evrett Edwards of Woodbridge, Va.; and Deondre Singleton of Lawrenceville, Ga.
The highest-rated receiver in the class is Miami native Terrence Alls, a three-star prospect who averaged 17 yards per catch in high school.
Duke also signed two quarterbacks, with dual-threat Jacksonville, Fla., native Parker Boehme the highest rated at three stars by Scout.com. Boehme
Boehme, Edwards, cornerback Dequavais Mann and linebacker Dominic McDonald have already enrolled in school and will take part in spring practice when it begins March 4.