DURHAM, North Carolina — Duke doesn't always bring in the big-name players. Coach David Cutcliffe believes he once again signed the right ones.
The 17 recruits announced by Cutcliffe on Wednesday looks like a typical Duke class. It's full of players the major recruiting services have evaluated as two- and three-star prospects.
Cutcliffe said a strength of his program is "we are not just the measureables" and while he is pleased with how his recruits look on paper, "I like this class way beyond that."
Much of the core of a team that reached three straight bowls and won the ACC's Coastal Division title in 2013 is gone. Cutcliffe said this group features "top-of-the-shelf folks."
The defense-focused class is led by linebacker Ben Humphreys, Duke's only four-star recruit.
Humphreys was listed as the nation's No. 9 outside linebacker, according to Scout.com.
The Blue Devils' class includes one quarterback, one punter, seven linemen and eight backs. Duke regularly classifies all non-quarterbacks or specialists as either backs or linemen.
Defensive end Twazanga Mugala of Charlotte had 16.5 sacks as as senior. Rivals.com rates cornerback Jeremy McDuffie as a top-50 prospect.
"We went after some defensive linemen — that kind of leads the group," Cutcliffe said. "We have helped ourselves, again, I think, defensively at linebacker and in the secondary."
The top offensive signee might be receivers T.J. Rahming and Keyston Fuller. Fuller caught 61 passes for 974 yards with 11 touchdowns as a senior while Rahming had 70 catches for 1,546 yards and 22 TDs.
"We've really got some guys that can catch the football," Cutcliffe said.
McDuffie, Rahming and Fuller are among seven signees from Georgia. Cutcliffe says "all of us" recruit that state and listed five assistants who have specific recruiting responsibilities there.
"It's not an accident," Cutcliffe said. "We put a lot of emphasis in an area we think is rich with Duke-quality players and people."
Top 25 class: No
Best in class: LB Ben Humphreys.
Best of the rest: C Zach Baker, WR T.J. Rahming.
Late addition: DB Jeremy McDuffie, DE Twazanga Mugala.
One that got away: Cutcliffe said there was "no drama" on signing day, although two players — TE Tyler Petite (Southern California) and WR Flynn Nagel (Northwestern) — decommitted in the past two months and signed elsewhere.