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LB Humphreys Growing Fast For Duke’s Defense

You won’t see this sort of praise for a sophomore very often.

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NCAA Football: North Carolina Central at Duke
Sep 12, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Central Eagles running back Idreis Augustus (25) gets taken down by Duke Blue Devils safety Evrett Edwards (2) and linebacker Ben Humphreys (34) and defensive end Allen Jackson (96) in the second half of their game at Wallace Wade Stadium. 
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll have a more formal preview of the Wake Forest game soon, but for now, we’d like to draw your attention to an article in the News & Observer about the Duke defense with a focus on middle linebacker Ben Humphreys.

Like a lot of this year’s team he’s young - just a sophomore - and he’s the conduit between the coaches and the rest of the defense. And he’s apparently very good at communicating those instructions. Check out what defensive coordinator Jim Knowles says about the defense and you’ll see how much of it directly relates to Humphreys: he says that Duke makes the fastest defensive play calls in the country. That’s a really striking thing to say.

Humphreys is a bit small for a linebacker - Cutcliffe long ago chose speed over sheer bulk, even telling his first Duke team that it was the fattest team he’d ever seen - but his speed isn’t limited to how fast he moves his feet. It’s also how fast he organizes the defense. This is not a common gift.