A 4-3 start to the 2008 season has greatly increased the exposure of the Duke football program and their first-year head coach, David Cutcliffe. The benefits are also being seen on the recruiting trail where the Blue Devils were the recent recipient of a commitment from a three-star Florida linebacker.
Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay linebacker Austin Gamble held offers from the likes of Louisville, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin. A recent official visit to Duke, however, convinced Gamble he wanted to be a Blue Devil.
"I did commit to Duke," Gamble confirmed. "I took an official visit up there and met the linebackers coach, Jim Collins. We had a talk and I met some of the players there. It just felt like a good fit for me.
"I was kind of leaning towards Duke before the visit, then when I got there and talked to the linebackers coach I liked who he was, the kind of person he was and how he coached. He asked me what my plans were and I told him I wanted to commit. Later on that day I had a meeting with the head coach, Coach Cutcliffe, and I made it official that I wanted to commit."
Gamble had kept a close eye on Duke this fall to see how the Blue Devils were faring on the football field. Off the field, he was already sold on what the school could offer.
"The first thing was the academics there," Gamble said. "Of course they have the new head coach and he is doing real good. They are 4-3 right now and I think that's one of the best records they've had in awhile so he's starting to rebuild."
Prior to his official visit to Duke, Gamble had not officially visited any other school. He did partake in a football camp at Pittsburgh this summer, but now that he has made a commitment to Duke, he does not have plans to visit any other schools.
"I'm all set. I'm not going to take anymore visits," Gamble said.
Gamble has led Cypress Bay to a 7-1 record this season. They have back-to-back district games the next two weeks and will take home the district title if they can win both games.
"We've probably had the toughest season in our history. We've had a couple of the top teams down here," Gamble said. "I think I have been a lot more productive than last year."