Evrett Edwards, a cornerback from Woodbridge (Va.) High School, committed to Duke on Wednesday, partly because of the impression David Cutcliffe, coach of the Blue Devils, left on him during a recent visit.
A 45-minute meeting was key. So was the fact NFL stars such as Peyton and Eli Manning still feel close to their former college coach.
“He's serious about relationships as evidenced by Eli and Peyton coming back,” Edwards said, perhaps referring partly to Peyton Manning's return to Duke to work out with Cutcliffe as the NFL quarterback returned from neck surgery.
Cutcliffe's pedigree meant a lot as well. He was a longtime offensive coordinator at Tennessee, where he coached Peyton, and also a head coach at Ole Miss, where he coached Eli.
“Coach Cutcliffe, he's an SEC coach at Duke, and I like which direction he's taking the football program,” Edwards said.
The sudden commitment was a bit surprising, even for Edwards.
“I originally planned on November or December but when you catch that feeling,” he said.
The visit earlier this month in which Edwards spoke with Cutcliffe and toured the campus was huge. Edwards raved about the trip upon his return.
“I prayed about it,” he said. “When I went down there I felt good about it.”
Edwards also had scholarship offers from Boston College, Wake Forest, Ohio, West Virginia and Illinois.
Duke now has three commitments for the 2013 class.