Duke will defend its ACC Coastal crown without 27 touchdowns of production from last season.
Duke on Thursday confirmed senior quarterback Brandon Connette has decided to transfer.
CBSSports.com reported Wednesday that Duke's compliance office sent a West Coast school a letter granting permission to contact Connette about "a possible transfer," citing NCAA bylaw 220.127.116.11.
The bylaw says one NCAA school should not make contact with athletes from another without obtaining written permission from the school, “regardless of who makes the initial contact.”
“First and foremost, our prayers and concerns are with Nancy Connette and her quest for good health,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “We thank Brandon for his many contributions to Duke University and our football program. We want nothing but the best for Brandon -- both on the football field and off -- and his personal situation is very close to our hearts. He's been an integral part of our program over the past four years, and we wish him continued success going forward.”
Connette's mother, Nancy, underwent surgery in December to remove a brain tumor.
Cutcliffe gave Connette, who's from California, a leave of absence between the ACC Championship Game against FSU and the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, where Connette scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown against Texas A&M.
Connette completed 90 of 145 passes for 1,212 yards and 13 touchdowns and six interceptions last season. He was especially effective in the red zone, rushing for 14 touchdowns on 101 attempts. Anthony Boone is the primary passer for Duke's offense but Connette was used in an effective dual-threat role.
Connette already has his degree according to his twitter account, so he could play for another school next season without sitting out.
Duke is set up nicely for a repeat ACC Coastal run with a non-conference schedule of Elon, Troy, Kansas and Tulane, while avoiding both Florida State and Clemson in conference play.