ESPN's Jeremy Crabtree did a really nice profile on Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and his approach to recruiting at a university with high academic standards that had previously struggled to win consistently.
Crabtree drew a lot of parallels between the Duke program and what Jim Harbaugh encountered when he took over the Stanford program. Both Cut and Harbaugh had to learn that in order to find success, they had to value a certain type of player rather than go after the same guys that their league neighbors were chasing.
Cutcliffe and his staff also believe in a very straight forward pitch, telling recruits that if they want to come to Duke, be prepared to put the work in, have no off the field issues, and understand that the demands are going to be both heavy and consistent.
And then there's the strong academic component.
"I've got the academics, I can flip that card out at any time, but I save it for when it really matters. And at that time, it's an ace.'
"I don't start there, and I try to be as sincere as I possibly can throughout the process. But when I flip over that academic hold card, I know it's going to be a winner for us. It's our ace that nobody else out there can really match."
It's an interesting strategy with results that can't be ignored. Duke is 19-7 over the past two seasons with a roster full of kids that have been recruited that way, and the Blue Devils will face Arizona State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl on December 27th.
Read more on Duke's recruiting strategy in the full piece, which can be found here. If you plan to be out on the road recruiting before signing day, it's a must-read piece.