Though he didn't plan on picking a school until later in the summer, Corona (Calif.) Santiago quarterback Brandon Connette received an offer Monday that he just couldn't refuse.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound pro-style passer has committed to Duke.
"I just felt really comfortable with the school," Connette said. "I've been in contact with them for awhile now and calling them to getting to know coach (David) Cutcliffe and coach (Kurt) Roper and seeing where they intend to put the program and how they intend to do it. I just like everything that's going on there."
Duke's academic program was also a big draw for Connette.
"I plan to major in engineering, and they're the top engineering school in the country, so that was also a big factor," he said.
Connette is the fourth pledge for Duke's 2010 class and its second quarterback commit, joining Matthews (N.C.) Weddington dual-threat quarterback Anthony Boone.
Connette passed for 1,406 yards, connecting on 50 percent of his passes, and 14 touchdowns for Santiago last fall. He was also a threat on the run, rushing for 881 yards and 10 touchdowns on a team-high 120 carries. Santiago went 6-5 in 2008.
"I really see myself as a big-play kind of guy who, if the team needs a play then I'm there to get it, whether it's a three yard rush on fourth down or a big play to spark the whole team," Connette said. "I can do it with my legs and also in the air. I can get out of situations in the pocket and still keep my eyes on the play. I think I have a good sense of game control and I'm also a very good leader on and off the field."
Though the Blue Devils are bringing in Boone as well, Connette likes the team's quarterback situation and thinks he can be a factor right away.
"It's a perfect situation in my eyes," he said. "They've got a senior right now, and then after that it's open competition and anyone's position to win. I feel confident that coach Cutcliffe and coach Roper won't just narrow it down to somebody because of his class. They'll really go by who's the most well-prepared and ready physically and mentally to take on the challenge of leading the team into a ballgame."
Behind returning starter Thaddeus Lewis, a senior, Duke may only have two other passers on its roster this fall: sophomore Sean Renfree and incoming freshman Sean Schroeder.
"They're the kind of people who say there's equal opportunity when you come in," Connette said. "Everyone's got a fair shot at each position, which I like. I wouldn't want to be just given the position; I want to work for it. They gave me the sense that they would really like me to be competitive for the position as a true freshman and that they're striving for that."
Connette talked with a number of schools on the West Coast, including UCLA, Oregon, Arizona, Boise State and Stanford, who offered him about a month ago.
In the end, though, he was most comfortable with Duke and had been for over a month. Connette said he was just waiting for them to offer, which they did on Monday.
"I called Coach Roper and was talking to him, and then after talking to him I called Coach Cutcliffe to catch up with him," Connette said. "He told me they were comfortable enough to offer me a scholarship, and after talking with him a little more I made my final decision.
"I didn't plan on committing until early in the summer or late summer, but I felt comfortable enough to do it earlier than planned," he said. "It's a relief. It's nice to know I won't have to worry about the whole recruiting process during my senior year and nice to be able to focus on football."
Though he has plenty of time to reconsider his decision, Connette said he's a firm as possible in his pledge to the Blue Devils.
"It's a closed case. I'm definitely not going to pursue any other schools," he said. "I feel completely comfortable with Duke. I've done my research on all the other schools, I've talked to the coaches. The other schools are great institutions, there's not enough I can say about them, but Duke is the perfect place for me and I think I fit in there well."