47. Duke Blue Devils Football Best Players of All time

John Rizzo

The Duke Blue Devils Football program has been a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1953 and is one of the most storied programs in all of college football. The team is currently led by head coach David Cutcliffe, who was named ACC Coach of the Year for 2010 after leading them to their first Coastal Division title that season.

Since then, they have gone on to win three consecutive bowl games (2013-2015), including an appearance in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl against Texas A&M where quarterback Anthony Boone threw for 427 yards, setting a new school record for passing yards in a single game.

With over 800 wins as a program under its belt and with some highly talented players coming through every year, it’s no wonder why so many fans are passionate about supporting this great university and cheering on their beloved Blue Devils.

Table of Contents

1. Patrick Mannelly

Long snapper

Patrick Mannelly Career

  • Chicago Bears (1998–2013)

Mannelly was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1998 and played for them until 2013. Mannelly played long snapper for the Bears, as well as punter and placekicker for a few years before becoming a full-time player.

He won two Super Bowls with Chicago (Super Bowl XLI, Super Bowl XLII) and was an All-Pro selection twice (2007, 2008). 

After leaving Chicago, Mannelly spent time with the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks before retiring in 2015 at age 38.

In his retirement press conference he said that he had suffered from chronic pain throughout his career but refused to retire because of it; instead seeking treatment from specialists each offseason so he could continue playing football. 

Mannelly is now working as a color commentator on Fox Sports 1's NFL coverage where he provides analysis of games along with other former players such as Kurt Warner and Julius Peppers.

Patrick Mannelly is a former American football fullback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for fifteen seasons. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft and played his entire career with them, retiring after Super Bowl XLI. 

Mannelly was known as a powerful running back and receiver out of college, earning All-America honors from both The Sporting News and College Sports Journal.

He also earned First Team All-Pro recognition from the Associated Press in 2000 and Second Team accolades from The NFL Players Association that same year. 

After spending his rookie season on injured reserve, Mannelly made an immediate impact with Chicago during their run to Super Bowl XXXVIII, catching eight passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns en route to MVP honors. 

Injuries plagued Mannelly over the next few years; he missed most of 2002 due to injury but rebounded strong enough to be named Comeback Player of Year by ESPN following 2003's 11-5 campaign where he led all backs with 863 rushing yards on 137 carries (5 average).

ACL early in training camp which ended his season prematurely; however, 2005 proved much more fruitful as he averaged 5 yards per carry while amassing 1,337 combined net rushing/receiving yards.

Sixth-best overall in NFL history at that point – including nine receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown against.  Green Bay Packers in NFC Championship Game which gave Bears their first-ever appearance in Super Bowl XLII.

Also Played For: chcago bears, chicago bears

2. Daniel Jones


Daniel Jones Career

  • Senior Bowl MVP (2019)
  • Independence Bowl MVP (2018)
  • Quick Lane Bowl MVP (2017)

Daniel Jones was a standout quarterback for the Duke Blue Devils. He was drafted in the first round by the New York Giants in 2019. Jones has started all but one of his 32 career games and is one of Eli Manning's favorite targets.

Daniel, who stands at 6 ft 5in tall and weighs 230lb, is an accurate passer with good mobility on the field as well. 

Daniel Jones emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL during his sophomore season. He led Division III Eastern Kentucky to a national championship and was named MVP of the Senior Bowl.

As a rookie, Daniel Jones started all 16 games for the New England Patriots and passed for 3,581 yards with 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions. 

In 2019, he helped lead Eastern Kentucky to another national title before being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the NFL Draft. Daniel Jones is an exciting quarterback with great arm strength who can make difficult passes look easy on film.

His ability to run makes him even more dangerous in open spaces or when scrambling out of trouble.

Also Played For: new york giants, nfl playoff

3. Sonny Jurgensen


Sonny Jurgensen Career

  • High school: New Hanover (Wilmington)
  • College: Duke (1954–1956)
  • NFL Draft: 1957 / Round: 4 / Pick: 43
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1957–1963), Washington Redskins (1964–1974)
  • NFL champion (1960), First-team All-Pro (1961), 3× Second-team All-Pro (1966, 1967, 1969), 5× Pro Bowl (1961, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969), 5× NFL passing yards leader (1961, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1969), 2× NFL passing touchdowns leader (1961, 1967), NFL passer rating leader (1967), NFL completion percentage leader (1970), NFL 1960s All-Decade Team, Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame, Washington Commanders Ring of Fame, Washington Commanders No. 9 retired, NFL record, 99-yard pass play (tied)
  • Pass attempts: 4,262, Pass completions: 2,433, Completion percentage: 57.1, TD–INT: 255–189, Passing yards: 32,224, Passer rating: 82.6
  • Pass attempts: 4,262
  • Pass completions: 2,433
  • Completion percentage: 57.1
  • TD–INT: 255–189
  • Passing yards: 32,224
  • Passer rating: 82.6
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame

Sonny Jurgensen was one of the most decorated quarterbacks in NFL history. He won four Super Bowls and is seventh all-time in career passing yards (47,837).

Jurgensen also had a successful career with the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. In his 13 seasons with the Eagles, he led them to six NFC Championship Games and three Super Bowl appearances, including victories over Pittsburgh in 1975 and Dallas in 1976.

After finishing his playing days, Jurgensen served as an analyst for NFL games on ABC from 1983 to 1994 before retiring completely at the end of that season. Sonny Jurgensen was a Hall of Fame quarterback who is best known for his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

He led his team to two NFL championships and five Pro Bowl appearances during the 1960s. Sonny Jurgensen also holds several passing records, including most career attempts (4,262) and completions (2,433). 

In 1967 he became the first player in NFL history to lead the league in both passing yards and passer rating. After retiring from playing football, Sonny Jurgensen served as general manager of the Washington Redskins until 1983. He was inducted into both the Eagles and Redskins Halls of Fame in 1985 and 1998, respectively.

Sonny Jurgenson passed away at age 78 on January 2nd, 2017 after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

Also Played For: washington football team

4. Mike Curtis

Baltimore Colts


  • High school: Richard Montgomery
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14
  • AFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 3 / Pick: 21
  • Baltimore Colts (1965–1975), Seattle Seahawks (1976), Washington Redskins (1977–1978)
  • Super Bowl champion (V), NFL champion (1968), 2× First-team All-Pro (1968, 1969), 4× Pro Bowl (1968, 1970, 1971, 1974), First-team All-American (1964)
  • Games played: 166, Interceptions: 25, Touchdowns: 2
  • Games played: 166
  • Interceptions: 25
  • Touchdowns: 2
  • Player stats at PFR

Mike Curtis was a linebacker who played in the NFL for the Baltimore Colts and then in the AFL for the Arizona Cardinals. He had a long career, lasting from 1965 to 1975.

In his time he won two Super Bowls with Baltimore and also made an appearance in another one with Arizona. After his playing days were over he became involved in coaching, eventually becoming head coach of the Indianapolis Colts before retiring at the end of the 2006 season.

Curtis was drafted in the 4th round of the 1976 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. In 1978, he was traded to Washington Redskins where he played for two seasons before retiring at the end of 1980 season. 

Curtis is a 2-time Super Bowl champion and 4x Pro Bowler with 25 interceptions over 166 career games played (16 starts).

Also Played For: baltimore colts

5. George McAfee

George McAfee Career

  • High school: Ironton (Ironton, Ohio)
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1940 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
  • Chicago Bears (1940–1941, 1945–1950)
  • 3× NFL champion (1940, 1941, 1946), First-team All-Pro (1941), Pro Bowl (1941), NFL 1940s All-Decade Team, Chicago Bears No. 5 retired, 100 greatest Bears of All-Time, Second-team All-American (1939), First-team All-Southern (1939)
  • Rushing yards: 1,685, Rushing touchdowns: 21, Receiving yards: 1,359, Receiving touchdowns: 11, Return touchdowns: 4, Interceptions: 25, Military career, Allegiance  United States, Service/branch  United States Navy, Years of service 1943–1945, Battles/wars World War II
  • Rushing yards: 1,685
  • Rushing touchdowns: 21
  • Receiving yards: 1,359
  • Receiving touchdowns: 11
  • Return touchdowns: 4
  • Interceptions: 25
  • Military career
  • Allegiance:  United States
  • Service/branch:  United States Navy
  • Years of service: 1943–1945
  • Battles/wars: World War II
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • College Football Hall of Fame

George McAfee was born in Corbin, Kentucky on March 13, 1918. He played football and basketball at Ironton High School before playing college football at Duke.

After a brief NFL career with the Chicago Bears (1940-41, 1945-1950), he retired to start his own security company which became one of the largest private companies in the world.

George McAfee died on March 4, 2009 after a long illness aged 90 years old. George McAfee was one of the most dominant players in NFL history. He won three championships with the Bears and was a first-team All-Pro four times.

George also had an incredible career on the ground as he rushed for more than 1,685 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 359 yards and 4 returns for TDs during his time in the NFL. 

One of George's most memorable moments came when he returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants in 1941.

This play helped lead Chicago to their third championship that year. George played his entire 10-year professional career with Chicago before retiring following the 1946 season at age 36 due to injuries sustained while serving in World War II.

6. Breon Borders


Breon Borders Career

  • High school: Statesville, (Statesville, North Carolina)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2017
  • Oakland Raiders (2017)*, Buffalo Bills (2017–2018), Houston Texans (2018)*, Jacksonville Jaguars (2018–2019), Washington Redskins (2019), Pittsburgh Steelers (2020)*, Miami Dolphins (2020)*, Tennessee Titans (2020–2021), Arizona Cardinals (2021), Chicago Bears (2022–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • Total tackles: 42, Pass deflections: 7, Interceptions: 1, Fumble recoveries: 1
  • Total tackles: 42
  • Pass deflections: 7
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Fumble recoveries: 1

Breon Borders was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2017, but he only played for them for two seasons. In 2018, he signed with the Buffalo Bills and had a good year there before being traded to the Houston Texans in 2019.

Breon Borders is a cornerback who stands at 6 feet 0 inches tall and weighs 189 pounds. He has experience playing both on the outside and in the slot for his NFL teams, which gives him valuable versatility. 

As one of just three cornerbacks on the Texans' roster heading into 2020 (along with Johnathan Joseph and Kevin Johnson), Borders should have a chance to play plenty this season – especially if starter Kareem Jackson misses time due to injury or poor performance.

With five interceptions over his first two years in the league, Borderlands is known as an opportunist when it comes to picking off passes – something that could be useful against some of football's taller receivers such as Julio Jones or Aqib Talib.

7. Ben Bennett


Ben Bennett Career

  • High school: Sunnyvale (CA) Peterson
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1984 / Round: 6 / Pick: 148
  • As a Player, ACC Rookie of the Year (1980), 2× All-ACC (1982, 1983), 2× ACC Player of the Year (1982, 1983), Third-team All-American (1983), AFL MVP (1988), 3× First-team All-Arena (1988, 1993, 1994), Second-team All-Arena (1990), AFL Hall of Fame (2000), AFL 25 Greatest Players – #23 (2012)
  • Games played: 1, Completions: 2, Attempts: 5, Passing yards: 25, Touchdowns: 0, Interceptions: 1
  • Games played: 1
  • Completions: 2
  • Attempts: 5
  • Passing yards: 25
  • Touchdowns: 0
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Games played: 81, Attempts-Completions: 1,928-1,069, Passing yards: 14,168, Touchdowns: 267, Interceptions: 81
  • Games played: 81
  • Attempts-Completions: 1,928-1,069
  • Passing yards: 14,168
  • Touchdowns: 267
  • Interceptions: 81

Bennett was a highly successful quarterback at Duke, winning three bowl games and leading the Blue Devils to an ACC championship in his senior season. Bennett's professional career was hampered by injuries, but he played for four different teams during his six-year NFL career.

Bennett is currently the offensive coordinator for San Jose State University football team. Bennett was the head coach of the Milwaukee Mustangs for one season in 1998. 

Bennett then moved on to Duke University where he served as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 1999-2001.

In 2002, Bennett took over as head coach of the Florida Bobcats and led them to a 13-5 record his first year before leaving for greener pastures at the end of 2004. 

Bennett has been an NFL Assistant Coach since 2005 with stops in Dallas, Cincinnati, Chicago, and San Francisco before landing back with the 49ers this offseason.

Also Played For: arena football

8. Jamison Crowder

Wide receiver

Jamison Crowder Career

  • High school: Monroe (Monroe, North Carolina)
  • College: Duke (2011–2014)
  • NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 4 / Pick: 105
  • Washington Redskins (2015–2018), New York Jets (2019–2021), Buffalo Bills (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • 2× First-team All-ACC (2013, 2014)
  • Receptions: 415, Receiving yards: 4,667, Receiving touchdowns: 28, Return yards: 815, Return touchdowns: 1
  • Receptions: 415
  • Receiving yards: 4,667
  • Receiving touchdowns: 28
  • Return yards: 815
  • Return touchdowns: 1

Crowder had a breakout year in 2017 with the Washington Redskins. He caught 72 passes for 1,096 yards and six touchdowns. Crowder was drafted by the Redskins in 2015 and has spent his entire career with them.

He is coming off of a very productive season in 2017. Crowder is an explosive receiver who can take the ball to the house anytime he touches it. His versatility will be key for whichever team drafts him next season.

Crowder is a versatile receiver who excels in the short and intermediate areas of the field. Crowder had an impressive rookie campaign, amassing 1,106 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 66 receptions. 

Crowder has developed into one of Tom Brady's favorite targets over the past few seasons, especially when it comes to stretching defenses deep downfield.

The Jets are hoping that Crowder can help them take another step forward this season after making improvements in all aspects of his game during offseason workouts. 

With Jeremy Kerley now with Buffalo, expect Crowder to have even more opportunities for big plays this season as New England relies heavily on its passing attack.

9. Riley Leonard


  • College: , Duke
  • Bowl games: , 2022 Military Bowl (MVP)
  • High school: Fairhope (Fairhope, Alabama)

Riley Leonard is a sophomore quarterback for the Duke Blue Devils. He was born in Mobile, Alabama and attended prep school at Benedictine Military School in Atglen, Pennsylvania before transferring to Duke.

Leonard has an impressive record as a freshman starter at Duke, throwing for 3,827 yards with 28 touchdowns and six interceptions on his way to being named ACC Rookie of the Year and first-team All-ACC selection.

In 2018 he led the Blue Devils to their fourth consecutive bowl appearance with 2,543 yards passing (20th nationally) along with 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions while rushing for another 184 yards on 43 carries (5th nationally).

Riley Leonard is considered one of the top quarterbacks in college football and is projected by many experts as a high pick in next year's NFL Draft if he decides to leave college early.

10. Anthony Boone



  • Status: Active
  • CFL status: American
  • Position(s): QB
  • Height: 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
  • Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
  • College: Duke

Boone was a quarterback at Appalachian State University before he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Boone played for the Colts through their 2017 season, where he completed 100 passes for 1,236 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions.

After spending 2018 out of football due to injury, Boone signed with the Buffalo Bills in January 2019. In his first game with Buffalo against New England on Sunday, March 3rd.

Boone led his team to a 34-31 victory completing 21-of-38 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 19 yards on two carries and catching one pass for eight yards.

With this win over New England, Boone became just the fourth player since 1970 (and first since Ty Detmer in 1993) to record at least 300 passing yards and two touchdown passes in each of their team's debut games.

11. Brian Baldinger

Offensive lineman


  • High school: Massapequa (NY)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 1982
  • Dallas Cowboys (1982–1987), Indianapolis Colts (1988–1991), Buffalo Bills (1992)*, Philadelphia Eagles (1992–1993)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Games played: 143, Starts: 47
  • Games played: 143
  • Starts: 47

Brian Baldinger is a six-foot-four inch, 255 pound center/guard who played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association.

He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1982 but never played for them as he was traded to the Lakers that year. Baldinger spent most of his career with the Lakers, appearing in 883 games over 13 seasons (1984–1992; 1994–1995).

He won three consecutive NBA championships with Laker teams from 1988 to 1990 before retuning to Philly where he won another championship in 2001. Brian retired after playing one final season with Toronto Raptors during 2004-05 campaign aged 42 years old.

In 2006, Baldinger became head coach of USA Men's Select Team which competed at FIBA World Championship 2007 held in Japan finishing 4th place overall behind Spain.

Argentina and Greece respectively losing the semifinal against Serbia 79-73 on August 20th 2007 at Osaka Bay Hall arena Kobe Steel Blue Square Arena.

Also Played For: nfl europe

12. Laken Tomlinson


Laken Tomlinson Career

  • High school: Lane Tech (Chicago, Illinois)
  • College: Duke (2010–2014)
  • NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 1 / Pick: 28
  • Detroit Lions (2015–2016), San Francisco 49ers (2017–2021), New York Jets (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Pro Bowl (2021), Second Team All-ACC (2013), Consensus All-American (2014), Anthony J. McKevlin Award (2015)
  • Games played: 129, Games started: 121
  • Games played: 129
  • Games started: 121

Tomlinson was drafted 28th overall by the New York Jets in the 2015 NFL Draft. After playing two seasons with Detroit, Tomlinson signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2019.

At 6' 3", Laken is a big guard who can block well and move around on the field. He has good speed for his size and is an effective receiver out of the backfield as well. Tomlinson started all 16 games for San Francisco this season, helping lead them to their first Super Bowl victory since 2013.

Laken Tomlinson was an All-American selection in 2014 and a consensus pick for the honor. He started 121 games over his four seasons with the 49ers, including all 16 of their playoff contests. 

Laken is known as one of the most physical running backs in the NFL, able to run through tackles despite not being particularly elusive or fast.

The Jets drafted him with hopes that he can help them replace Chris Ivory's production on offense, but it remains to be seen if he will have enough time to do so before his contract expires at season's end.

13. Lucas Patrick


Lucas Patrick Career

  • High school: Brentwood, (Brentwood, Tennessee)
  • College: Duke (2011–2015)
  • Undrafted: 2016
  • Green Bay Packers (2016–2021), Chicago Bears (2022–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Games played: 80, Games started: 39
  • Games played: 80
  • Games started: 39

Lucas Patrick played college football for Duke and was a three-year starter. After graduating from Duke, Patrick signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2016.

He made his NFL debut in Week 6 of the 2016 season and started 11 games at center over the next two seasons before being waived by the Packers during final cuts ahead of the 2018 season.

Patrick was claimed off waivers by Chicago Bears on September 1, 2018 and has since started all 16 games for them at center this season. Patrick was undrafted in 2016 and signed with the Green Bay Packers.

Patrick started 39 games for the Packers over the last three seasons, including 14 this past season. He has played a total of 208 career NFL snaps, good for sixth on the team's all-time list among linebackers.

Patrick is projected to start at linebacker again in 2019 under new head coach Matt LaFleur, who was an offensive assistant with the Bears during Patrick's time there from 2018-2021 as their defensive coordinator/linebackers coach (under John Fox).

Also Played For: chicago bears best current players

14. Thomas Hennessy

Long snapper

Thomas Hennessy Career

  • High school: Don Bosco Prep, (Ramsey, New Jersey)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2017
  • Indianapolis Colts (2017)*, New York Jets (2017–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • Games played: 97, Total tackles: 20, Forced fumbles: 1
  • Games played: 97
  • Total tackles: 20
  • Forced fumbles: 1

Thomas Hennessy is a long snapper for the New York Jets. Hennessy played college football at Duke and was undrafted in 2017. He has been with the Jets since 2017 and had his first NFL game on September 10th, 2018 against the Miami Dolphins.

Hennessy attended Don Bosco Prep high school in Ramsey, New Jersey where he was a two-time All American kicker and punter before playing football for the Blue Devils from 2011 to 2015.

 In 2016, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent but failed to make their final roster out of training camp that year.

After being released by Jacksonville, he joined the Jets as their longsnapper during preseason games in August of 2017 before making it onto their 53 man roster later that month.

Thomas Hennessy is a young player who has had success in the NFL so far. Thomas Hennessy was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 and he has played for them since then.

He started all 16 games for the Colts this season and had 20 total tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception. He will be an important part of the New York Jets' defense next year and will continue to improve his skills as he plays more football games.

15. Matt Skura


Matt Skura Career

  • High school: Worthington (OH) Kilbourne
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2016
  • Baltimore Ravens (2016–2020), Miami Dolphins (2021)*, New York Giants (2021), Los Angeles Rams (2022–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • First-team All-ACC (2015), Third-team All-ACC (2014)
  • Games played: 68, Games started: 65
  • Games played: 68
  • Games started: 65

Matt Skura was a highly touted center prospect out of high school, but went undrafted in 2016. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens and played there for three seasons.

In 2018, he was named to the Pro Bowl after leading all centers in tackles (54) and assists (20). The Rams drafted him with the 64th overall pick in 2020 and he is currently their starting center.

A versatile player who has started at left guard, right guard and center in his career, Skura is a reliable veteran presence on the Dolphins' offensive line. A two-time All-ACC selection (2015, 2014), Skura was a key part of Miami's ground game that ranked No.

8 in the NFL last season. In 2017 he helped pave way for running back Jay Ajayi to rush for 1,272 yards and 10 touchdowns on 222 carries (4.9 average). 

An undrafted free agent out of Duke in 2016, Skura will be looking to build off an impressive rookie campaign where he started all 16 games at center for New York Giants before being traded to Miami this offseason.

16. Ace Parker


Ace Parker Career

  • College: Duke (1934–1936)
  • NFL Draft: 1937 / Round: 2 / Pick: 13
  • Brooklyn Dodgers (1937–1941), Boston Yanks (1945), New York Yankees (1946)
  • NFL Most Valuable Player (1940), 2× First-team All-Pro (1938, 1940), 2× Second-team All-Pro (1937, 1939), NFL interceptions leader (1940), NFL passing yards leader (1938), Second-team All-AAFC (1946), Consensus All-American (1936)
  • Passing yards: 4,698, Passing touchdowns: 30
  • Passing yards: 4,698
  • Passing touchdowns: 30
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • College Football Hall of Fame
  • Baseball career
  • Shortstop
  • Batted: Right, Threw: Right

Ace Parker was one of the greatest quarterbacks in Duke University history. He played for three years and led the Blue Devils to a 34-7 record, two ACC championships, and a berth in the 1936 Rose Bowl.

After playing football at Duke, Ace Parker went on to play for the Baltimore Colts (1937-1941), Green Bay Packers (1942-1945), and New York Giants (1946). 

In 1941, he became only the second player in NFL history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a season – an achievement that still stands as one of his most memorable moments as an athlete.

Ace Parker retired from professional football after playing with the Giants during their championship season of 1946. He later served as athletic director at his alma mater Duke University until his retirement in 1984. 

Ace Parker is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks ever to play college football and was inducted into both the College Football Hall Of Fame and Pro Football Hall Of Fame posthumously.

17. Tony Benjamin

Tony Benjamin Career

  • Position(s): Fullback
  • College: Duke
  • NFL draft 1977 / Round: 6 / Pick: 142

Tony Benjamin was a fullback for the Duke Blue Devils football team from 1974-1976. He was selected as a first-team All American in 1975 and 1976 by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).

Benjamin also won three ACC Player of the Year Awards, including back to back honours in 1975 and 1976. He played professionally with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1978–1981), Philadelphia Eagles (1982) and Detroit Lions (1983).

Benjamin finished his career with 1,069 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and 290 receiving yards in 82 games played. 

After retiring from professional football, he served as an assistant coach at Towson University for two seasons before joining Penn State's coaching staff in 1995 where he remained until 2006 when he was fired after one season at Temple University.

18. Dave Brown


  • High school: Westfield
  • College: Duke
  • Supplemental draft: 1992 / Round: 1
  • New York Giants (1992–1997), Arizona Cardinals (1998–2001)
  • Passing attempts: 1,634, Passing completions: 892, Completion percentage: 54.6, TD–INT: 44–58, Passing yards: 10,248, Passer rating: 67.9
  • Passing attempts: 1,634
  • Passing completions: 892
  • Completion percentage: 54.6
  • TD–INT: 44–58
  • Passing yards: 10,248
  • Passer rating: 67.9

Brown was a quarterback at Westfield High School in Summit, New Jersey. He then attended Duke University and played for the Blue Devils from 1988 to 1991.

Brown was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1992 NFL Supplemental Draft but only played one game for them before he was released. 

After being cut by Pittsburgh, Brown signed with the Buffalo Bills but failed to make an impact there either before being traded to the Seattle Seahawks in 1997 where he had his best season statistically (272 completions out of 410 attempts for 3,717 yards with 21 touchdowns).

From 1998 until 2003 Brown spent time with different teams including stints with Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1998-2000), Indianapolis Colts (2001) and Oakland Raiders (2002-2003). 

In 2004 Brown retired after playing 12 seasons in the National Football League and spending three years as offensive coordinator of William & Mary's football team prior to that role starting up again at Rutgers University from 2009 until. 

2011 when he left due to health concerns related to multiple myeloma diagnosis which required chemotherapy treatments every two weeks throughout his tenure as head coach; however, since December 2012 Dave has resumed full time duties coaching quarterbacks at Rutgers while also continuing treatment.

19. Steve Lach



  • Position(s): HB
  • Height: 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
  • Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
  • College: Duke
  • NFL draft 1942 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
  • Drafted by: Chicago Cardinals

Steve Lach was a Hall of Fame high school football player and captain. After graduation, he played college football at Bucknell University before being drafted in the ninth round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1941.

He served as a radioman on B-17 bombers during World War II, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel. Following his discharge from military service, Lach returned to play for the Eagles and helped them win their first championship in 1948.

In 1951, he was traded to the Chicago Bears where he spent three seasons before retiring after playing one final season with the Washington Redskins in 1956. 

Lach then worked as an assistant coach at various colleges until his death from a heart attack at age 40 two years later Steve Lach was a standout defensive back at Duke University, where he won two varsity letters and played in the Blue Devils' 1941 Rose Bowl victory.

He was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in 1942, but never made an appearance in the NFL due to World War II. After serving his military duty, Lach returned to pro football with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1946-1947 before retiring at age 25. 

Steve Lach is one of only three players ever drafted fourth overall who has been elected to both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame (the other two being Jim Brown and Jerry Rice).

In 2008, he was named one of ESPN's 50 Greatest Players in College Football History.

20. Ross Cockrell


Ross Cockrell Career

  • High school: Charlotte Latin School, (Charlotte, North Carolina)
  • College: Duke
  • Position: Cornerback
  • NFL Draft: 2014 / Round: 4 / Pick: 109
  • Buffalo Bills (2014), Pittsburgh Steelers (2015–2016), New York Giants (2017), Carolina Panthers (2018–2019), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020–2021)
  • Super Bowl champion (LV), 2× First-team All-ACC (2012, 2013)
  • Total tackles: 266, Forced fumbles: 1, Fumble recoveries: 2, Pass deflections: 52, Interceptions: 7
  • Total tackles: 266
  • Forced fumbles: 1
  • Fumble recoveries: 2
  • Pass deflections: 52
  • Interceptions: 7

Cockrell was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2014. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2015-2016, and then joined the Oakland Raiders in 2017. Cockrell has recorded 38 tackles and two interceptions in his career so far.

Cockrell is a versatile player who can play both cornerback and safety for the Giants. He was drafted by Carolina in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he spent four seasons with the Panthers before joining Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2020.

Cockrell has been an important part of each team he’s played for, recording over 100 tackles and five interceptions in three different stints with New York, Carolina and Tampa Bay respectively.

21. Max McCaffrey

Wide receiver

Max McCaffrey Career

  • High school: Valor Christian, (Highlands Ranch, Colorado)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2016
  • Receptions: 1, Receiving yards: 4, Receiving touchdowns: 0
  • Receptions: 1
  • Receiving yards: 4
  • Receiving touchdowns: 0

Max McCaffrey began his coaching career as an offensive assistant at Duke in 2016. In 2017, he was hired as the offensive coordinator of the Northern Colorado Bears, who finished with a 4-8 record that season.

McCaffrey is known for his creative playcalling and expertise with run and pass offenses. He is expected to take over as head coach of the Packers' running backs unit following Mike McCarthy's departure in January 2019 Max McCaffrey is a wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. McCaffrey has also played for the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers during his career so far. Max McCaffrey is a very talented wide receiver who can do anything on offense, from catching passes to running routes.

His skill set makes him an important part of any team’s offensive gameplan, and he will continue to develop over time as he continues to play in the NFL.

22. Noah Gray

Noah Gray Career

  • High school: Leominster (Leominster, Massachusetts)
  • College: Duke (2017–2020)
  • NFL Draft: 2021 / Round: 5 / Pick: 162
  • Kansas City Chiefs (2021–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Second-team All-American (2019), Second-team All-ACC (2019)
  • Receptions: 26, Receiving yards: 225, Receiving touchdowns: 2
  • Receptions: 26
  • Receiving yards: 225
  • Receiving touchdowns: 2

Gray was a tight end at Duke and had a productive career there. He was drafted by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Gray appeared in all 16 games for Kansas City as a rookie, recording eight receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown.

In Week 2 of the 2022 season, Gray caught two passes for 38 yards against Tampa Bay to help lead his team to victory. Gray was a standout player for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021 and 2022, helping lead the team to back-to-back second-team All American honors.

He finished his two seasons with over 2,000 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns. Gray is an exciting receiver who can make big plays downfield.

23. Charles Bowser

Charles Bowser Career

  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1982 / Round: 4 / Pick: 108
  • Miami Dolphins (1982–1985)
  • Sacks: 20.0, Fumble Recoveries: 1, Games Played: 42
  • Sacks: 20.0
  • Fumble Recoveries: 1
  • Games Played: 42

Charles Bowser was a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins in 1985. He played college football at Duke and helped lead the Blue Devils to an undefeated season in 1984.

After playing with the Dolphins, he spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots before retiring in 1998. Charles is now a commentator on NFL games and also provides commentary for ACC Network broadcasts of Duke sports events.

In 2006, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as part of its first class of members. Charles married his wife Kathy in 1987 and they have two children together - daughter Kaitlyn (born 1989) and son Charlie Jr.(born 1992). Bowser was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round of the 1982 NFL Draft.

Bowser played for the Dolphins from 1982 to 1985 and recorded 20 sacks during that time. After his playing career, Bowser became a coach with the team he once starred for -the Miami Dolphins.

Serving as their defensive line coach from 1995 until his retirement in 2004. In 2007, Bowser was inducted into the Dolphin's Hall of Fame, and he currently coaches at Booker T Washington High School in Miami Gardens, Florida where he has led them to multiple state championships over his tenure there.

24. Patrick Bailey


  • High school: San Antonio (TX) Alamo Heights
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2008
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2008–2009), Tennessee Titans (2010–2013)
  • Super Bowl champion (XLIII)
  • Tackles: 71
  • Tackles: 71

Patrick Bailey was born on November 19, 1985 in Elmendorf, Texas. He played college football at Duke and was never drafted by an NFL team. In 2008 he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs but only played one game before being released.

Since then he has played for the Dallas Cowboys (2010-2013), Seattle Seahawks (2014-2015) and Arizona Cardinals (2016). Bailey is a linebacker who primarily plays in run defense or as a pass rusher off the edge; his height of 6' 4" makes him very effective against short passes to running backs or tight ends.

As of 2017, Patrick Bailey is still playing professional football and is currently with the Arizona Cardinals Patrick Bailey was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. 

He played for the Tennessee Titans from 2010 to 2013, and won a Super Bowl with them in 2013. Bailey has 71 tackles during his time in the NFL, including 2 sacks and 1 interception.

Patrick Bailey is currently an analyst on NFL Network's coverage of Thursday Night Football games.

25. Bob Brodhead


  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1958 / Round: 12 / Pick: 144
  • TD–INT: 0–3, Percentage: 28.0, Passing yards: 75, Rushing yards: 100
  • TD–INT: 0–3
  • Percentage: 28.0
  • Passing yards: 75
  • Rushing yards: 100

Bob Brodhead was a quarterback in the NFL for two seasons, playing for the Buffalo Bills and Saskatchewan Roughriders. He had a brief but successful career, earning MVP honours with the Riders in 1960.

Brodhead later became an executive with the NFL, serving as vice president of football operations from 1985 to 1996.

He died from cancer at age 59 in 1996, leaving behind a wife and three children. Brodhead was one of the most successful general managers in NFL history, leading both the Houston Oilers and Portland Thunder to WFL championships.

Brodhead's tenure with the Oilers is particularly noteworthy; he helped build a team that went on to win two Super Bowls in 1971 and 1975. 

After leaving the NFL, Brodhead became athletic director at LSU before rejoining football in 1988 as AD at Southeast Louisiana. Bob Brodhead passed away in June of 2016 at age 82 after a long battle with dementia.

26. Billy Bryan


  • High school: Burlington (NC) Williams
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 4 / Pick: 101
  • Denver Broncos (1977–1988)
  • Roster status: Retired

Billy Bryan was a versatile center for the Duke Blue Devils, playing both offense and defense. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the fourth round of the 1977 NBA Draft and played there for two seasons before moving on to other teams.

He returned to Duke as a assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski from 2001-2003, then rejoined him full time as an assistant coach in 2004. Bryan has also served as head coach at Elon University (2005-2009) and Davidson College (2010-2013). 

In May 2014 he was named men's basketball coordinator at UNC Wilmington after serving one season as interim head coach there following Roy Williams' departure for Texas A&M University.

Billy Bryan is a three-time ACC Player of the Year (1981, 1982, 1983), two-time First Team All American (1981, 1982) and recipient of numerous other honors including induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

27. Victor Dimukeje


  • High school: Boys' Latin School, (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • College: Duke (2017–2020)
  • NFL Draft: 2021 / Round: 6 / Pick: 210
  • Arizona Cardinals (2021–present)
  • Roster status: Active
  • Second-team All-ACC (2019)
  • Total tackles: 3
  • Total tackles: 3

Dimukeje was a highly touted recruit out of high school, and he chose to play college football at Duke. Dimukeje played in all 14 games as a true freshman for the Blue Devils in 2017, recording 33 tackles and 1 interception.

As a sophomore in 2018, Dimukeje totaled 54 tackles with 2 sacks and 2 interceptions on the season. He also made 4 starts at outside linebacker. 

In his final year at Duke (2020), Victor recorded 97 tackles with 10 sacks and 3 interceptions en route to being named first-team All-American by Associated Press & NFL Draft Scout.

Dimukejes' strong performance at the collegiate level has led many analysts to believe that he will be drafted very early in the 2021 NFL Draft - most likely around Round 6 or 7 where he was taken 210th overall by the Arizona Cardinals last year.

28. Juwan Thompson

Running back

Juwan Thompson Career

  • High school: Woodward Academy, (College Park, Georgia)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2014
  • Denver Broncos (2014–2016)
  • Super Bowl champion (50)
  • Rushing attempts: 80, Rushing yards: 346, Rushing touchdowns: 4, Receptions: 10, Receiving yards: 76, Receiving touchdowns: 0
  • Rushing attempts: 80
  • Rushing yards: 346
  • Rushing touchdowns: 4
  • Receptions: 10
  • Receiving yards: 76
  • Receiving touchdowns: 0

Juwan Thompson is a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was undrafted in 2014 but signed with the team as a free agent. Thompson has played for the Steelers since then and has had some success, including being named to the Pro Bowl in 2018.

He was also selected to play in both Super Bowls (2017 and 2018). Thompson is coming off of his best season yet, rushing for 1,291 yards on 159 carries with six touchdowns during the regular season alone. 

Thompson will be looking to continue this type of performance when he takes on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 of the NFL playoffs Juwan Thompson was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

He played college football at Colorado and finished his career with 2,044 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 327 carries. In his rookie season he recorded 334 yards from scrimmage (146 rushing) and caught one pass for six yards as a receiver. 

In 2015, Juwan Thompson became just the second player in NFL history to record 1,000 combined rushes (1,099), receiving touches (319) and punt returns for touchdown within their first three seasons - joining Gale Sayers who accomplished this feat during the 1967-1969 seasons.

Thompson had another productive year in 2016 recording 945 total yards from scrimmage including 519 on the ground with four touchdowns while also catching 26 passes for 333 yards and two more scores through the air.

29. Steve Jones


  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 5 / Pick: 129, (By the Los Angeles Rams)
  • Buffalo Bills (1973–1974), St. Louis Cardinals (1974–1978)
  • ACC Player of the Year (1972)
  • Rushing attempts–yards: 299–1204, Receptions–yards: 87–629, Touchdowns: 17
  • Rushing attempts–yards: 299–1204
  • Receptions–yards: 87–629
  • Touchdowns: 17

After playing college football at Duke, Steve Jones was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1973 NFL Draft. He would go on to play for Buffalo Bills and later with the San Francisco 49ers.

In his career, Jones rushed for over 12,000 yards and scored over 50 touchdowns. His best season came in 1974 when he averaged 7 yards per carry and finished with 1,312 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

In 1988, Jones retired from professional football after a brief stint with the Dallas Cowboys. He now works as an assistant coach at East Carolina University where he helped lead them to their first conference championship since 1987 this past season.

A three-time All-Pro selection (1974–1976), Steve Jones is one of only two players in NFL history to rush for more than 10,000 yards while recording 100 or more receptions (the other being Walter Payton).

30. Anthony Dilweg


  • High school: Walt Whitman
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1989 / Round: 3 / Pick: 74
  • Green Bay Packers (1989–1990), Los Angeles Raiders (1991)*, Montreal Machine (1992)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • ACC Player of the Year (1988)
  • TD–INT: 8–7, Yards: 1,274, Passer rating: 72.3
  • TD–INT: 8–7
  • Yards: 1,274
  • Passer rating: 72.3

Dilweg was a three-time Pro Bowler in the NFL, and he played for the Green Bay Packers from 1989 to 1990. Dilweg is best known for leading the Pack to victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXXI, which is still considered one of the greatest upsets in American sports history.

After playing briefly with the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints following his career with Green Bay, Dilweg retired from professional football at age 36 due to a shoulder injury. 

Today, Dilweg works as an analyst on ESPN's Sunday Night Football coverage, where he provides play-by-play commentary for select games each season.

Anthony Dilweg was born on March 28th 1965 in Washington Dc., USA Dilweg was a consensus first-team All American and ACC Player of the Year in 1988. 

Dilweg played nine seasons in the NFL, all with the Raiders from 1991 to 1995. He started all 16 games for the Raiders in his final season, passing for 2,812 yards with 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

After leaving football behind, Dilweg opened up his own personal training business before retiring in 2010 at age 43.

31. Randy Cuthbert


  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 1993
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (1993–1994)
  • ACC Brian Piccolo Award (1992)
  • Rushing Att. / Yds.: 1 / 7, Receptions / Yds.: 1 / 3, Touchdowns: 0
  • Rushing Att. / Yds.: 1 / 7
  • Receptions / Yds.: 1 / 3
  • Touchdowns: 0
  • Player stats at PFR

Randy Cuthbert was a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1993-1994. He was undrafted and did not make it in to the NFL, but he played in several leagues after that including with the Pittsburg Steelers.

Randy is now a broadcaster for ESPN covering college football games and also does some work as an analyst on games. Randy Cuthbert was a versatile player in his NFL career. He played running back, wide receiver and defensive back for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Randy Cuthbert was an All-American at Duke University where he led the Blue Devils to their first NCAA Championship appearance in 1988. 

In 1992, he won the ACC Brian Piccolo Award as the best college football player in North Carolina. After going undrafted out of Duke, Randy signed with Cincinnati as a free agent and made an immediate impact on both sides of the ball.

In 1995, he became one of only three players ever to have 1,000 yards rushing and 100 receptions in a season - joining Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison - while also registering 10 touchdowns that year alone. 

Randy’s versatility paid off when he caught on with Kansas City Chiefs after spending two seasons with Baltimore Ravens (1996-97). During his time there, he helped lead them to their first playoff appearance since 1993.

Released by KC following injury troubles late into his tenure however bounced around between teams before retiring from playing professional football at 31 years old due to persistent injuries.

32. Thad Lewis

Thad Lewis Career

  • High school: Hialeah-Miami Lakes (FL)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 2010
  • As player:, 2× Second-team All-ACC (2008, 2009)
  • Pass att / comp: 189 / 115, Percentage: 60.8, TD–Int: 5–4, Passing yards: 1,296, Passer rating: 81.4
  • Pass att / comp: 189 / 115
  • Percentage: 60.8
  • TD–Int: 5–4
  • Passing yards: 1,296
  • Passer rating: 81.4

Thad Lewis played football at Duke and was an undrafted free agent in 2010. He became an assistant wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013.

Lewis is best known for his time with the Cleveland Browns, where he served as a backup quarterback from 2011 to 2012 and then became their assistant wide receivers coach later that year.

Lewis has also had coaching stints with the St Louis Rams (2010) and Detroit Lions (2013). Thad Lewis was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 6th round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played for three seasons with the Bills before being traded to Houston Texans in 2012.

Lewis spent four years with the Texans, including a Pro Bowl year in 2013. After spending two seasons with Cleveland Browns, he signed as an unrestricted free agent with Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and won Super Bowl LII that year. 

In 2017, Lewis signed a contract with Baltimore Ravens and helped them make it to playoffs twice during his tenure there (2018 & 2019).

33. Wes Chesson


  • Position(s): Wide receiver
  • Height: 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
  • Weight: 195 lb (88 kg)
  • College: Duke

Wes Chesson was a standout wide receiver at the University of North Carolina and played in the NFL for thirteen seasons. Wes Chesson is one of only five players in NFL history to have over 1000 receiving yards in each of their first ten seasons, and he won two Super Bowls with the Baltimore Ravens.

Wes Cheson has been inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame, and he currently serves as an analyst on ESPN's Sunday Night Football broadcasts. 

Wes Chesson was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1971 NFL Draft. Wes played for the Falcons from 1971 to 1973 before being traded to Philadelphia Eagles.

He finished his career with the Eagles and retired after playing in 1974. Wes has since worked as a football analyst for ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Sports among other outlets. 

In 2007, he wrote a book about his life titled "Wes: My Life on and Off the Field." Wes is married with two children and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

34. Leo Hart


  • High school: Grainger
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1971 / Round: 3 / Pick: 59
  • Atlanta Falcons (1971), Buffalo Bills (1972)
  • TD-INT: 0-3, Yards: 53, QB Rating: 7.6
  • TD-INT: 0-3
  • Yards: 53
  • QB Rating: 7.6

Leo Hart was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 3rd round of the 1971 NFL Draft. He played for four teams over 13 seasons, starting with the Chiefs and finishing with the Green Bay Packers.

Hart led his team to two Super Bowls (XI and XII) and was named MVP of both games. Hart is one of only three quarterbacks to win two Super Bowl rings, along with Joe Montana and Tom Brady. Leo Hart was a versatile player during his time in the NFL.

He played both offense and defense, making him very valuable to any team he played for. Hart had an impressive career as a passer, completing nearly 60% of his passes throughout his career. 

His best year came in 1972 when he threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions while leading the Buffalo Bills to their first ever playoff appearance.

Leo Hart is still remembered fondly by many Falcons fans after helping lead Atlanta to their only Super Bowl appearance in 1992 - where they were narrowly defeated by the San Francisco 49ers.

35. Cedric Jones


  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1982 / Round: 3 / Pick: 56
  • New England Patriots (1982–1990)
  • Duke football Hall of Fame
  • Receptions: 191, Receiving yards: 2,703, Touchdowns: 16
  • Receptions: 191
  • Receiving yards: 2,703
  • Touchdowns: 16

Cedric Jones was a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions in the NFL from 1982-1994. Cedric Jones had an impressive career, recording over 1,000 yards receiving in four of his five seasons with the Lions.

In 1994, Cedric Jones signed with the Atlanta Falcons and played until 1997. After retiring from football, Cedric Jones started a successful business career as president and CEO of Pioneer Foods International Incorporated.

He has also been involved in humanitarian work through his involvement with Operation Smile and other organizations dedicated to improving children's lives around the world Cedric Jones was a versatile wide receiver for the New England Patriots from 1982 to 1990.

He had 191 receptions for 2,703 yards and 16 touchdowns during his career. Cedric Jones was a crucial part of the Patriot offense during their dynasty years in the 1980s and early 1990s. He helped lead New England to five Super Bowl appearances and three championships (1986, 1988, 1989).

Cedric Jones retired with the second-most receiving yards in NFL history behind Jerry Rice and is sixth all-time in receptions. His 16 touchdown catches are also third most in league annals. 

After retiring as a player, Cedric Jones served as an assistant coach for various teams including Boston College (1991–1992), Rutgers (1993) and Virginia Tech (1994–1996).

He later became involved in broadcasting alongside play-by-play commentator Bob Beckel on Fox Sports 1's "The Herd" show before his death at age 57 from cancer on November 18th, 2016.

36. Shaun Wilson


  • High school: West Mecklenburg
  • College: Duke
  • Position: Running back
  • Undrafted: 2018
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2018), Washington Redskins (2019), Tennessee Titans (2019–2020)*, Saskatchewan Roughriders (2022)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Rushing attempts: 6, Rushing yards: 29, Receptions: 3, Receiving yards: 5, Return yards: 122, Total touchdowns: 0
  • Rushing attempts: 6
  • Rushing yards: 29
  • Receptions: 3
  • Receiving yards: 5
  • Return yards: 122
  • Total touchdowns: 0

Shaun Wilson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, but did not see any playing time. He signed with the Washington Redskins in 2019 and has seen some action so far this season.

Shaun Wilson is a running back who primarily plays on special teams for the Redskins. Shaun Wilson grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and played high school football at West Mecklenburg High School before attending Duke University where he majored in business management and entrepreneurship studies.

Shaun Wilson had an outstanding collegiate career as a running back for Duke, amassing 2,098 yards on 421 carries (6 touchdowns) with 20 receptions for 131 yards during his four-year career there.

Shaun Wilson is a versatile running back who has spent time in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Wilson was drafted by the Titans in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and made his debut that season. He rushed for 29 yards on six attempts and caught three passes for 5 yards during his rookie season. 

In 2020, he had a better year statistically, rushing for 122 yards on 17 attempts while also catching two passes for 11 yards. The 27-year-old will return to Saskatchewan in 2022 as part of an offseason deal.

37. Josh Blackwell


  • High school: Buford, (Buford, GA)
  • College: Duke (2017–2021)
  • Undrafted: 2022
  • Philadelphia Eagles (2022)*, Chicago Bears (2022–present)
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Roster status: Active
  • Total tackles: 23, Forced fumbles: 1, Fumble recoveries: 1
  • Total tackles: 23
  • Forced fumbles: 1
  • Fumble recoveries: 1

Blackwell was a two-time All-ACC selection at Duke and helped lead the Blue Devils to their first ACC Championship in school history as a junior in 2017.

He was undrafted but signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent after graduating from Duke in May 2021. Blackwell made his NFL debut on September 10, 2021 against the Green Bay Packers and finished the game with one tackle and one pass defensed.

In Week 14 of the 2020 season, Blackwell recorded his first career interception which he returned for 21 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

As a cornerback, Blackwell has totaled 26 tackles (21 solo), three interceptions, six passes defended, one forced fumble and three special teams tackles in nine games played during his rookie campaign with Chicago.

The 22-year old is set to become an unrestricted free agent following this upcoming year's season and will likely be looking for another opportunity to play professional football after showing promise throughout his short time in Chicago so far.

38. Mark Gilbert


  • High school: Terry Sanford, (Fayetteville, North Carolina)
  • College: Duke
  • Position: Cornerback
  • Undrafted: 2021
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2021)*, Detroit Lions (2021), Pittsburgh Steelers (2022)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Total tackles: 3, Pass deflections: 1, Forced fumbles: 1
  • Total tackles: 3
  • Pass deflections: 1
  • Forced fumbles: 1

Gilbert attended Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He played college football at Duke and was not drafted by a NFL team after graduating in 2021.

Gilbert has since started his own business and is currently working as a cornerback for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). Mark is married to Ali Gilbert and they have one child together.

Gilbert has been a force at the linebacker position for the Steelers over the past few years and is set to be an important part of their defense in 2021. Gilbert was recently named to his first Pro Bowl and looks like he's on track for another strong season.

He has great instincts and plays with a lot of intensity, which makes him tough to beat on either side of the ball. 

Gilbert is also versatile, playing both inside and outside linebacker positions, making him even more dangerous as a player. He will be key in helping Pittsburgh retain their status as one of the NFL's top teams this year and into 2020-21.

39. Mike Karmazin


  • High school: Norwin (PA)
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1946 / Round: 24 / Pick: 222
  • New York Yankees (1946), Paterson Panthers (1947)
  • All-America Team (1941), All-SoCon (1941)

Karmazin played guard for the Washington Redskins from 1946 to 1966. He was a two-time All-American and six-time Pro Bowler, winning three Super Bowls with the team.

Karmazin also played for the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Baltimore Colts in his career. After retiring as a player, Karmazin served as an analyst on NFL telecasts for CBS Sports before passing away at age 84 in 2004.

Karmazin is one of only four players ever to be inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame (the other three being Jim Brown, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice). In 2007, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NFL History by The Sporting News magazine.

Karmazin played quarterback for the New York Yankees and Paterson Panthers in the early days of professional football. Karmazin was one of the top quarterbacks in pro football during his time, amassing a record of 41-22 as a starter. 

He also won two All-America honors while playing with both teams and led both squads to postseason appearances.

After retiring from playing, he entered coaching where he has been successful at every stop, leading several NFL teams to playoff berths over his career.

40. Joe Giles-Harris

Joe Giles-Harris Career

  • High school: St. Joseph (NJ)
  • College: Duke
  • Position: Linebacker
  • Undrafted: 2019
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2019–2020), Buffalo Bills (2021–2022)*
  •  * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
  • Total tackles: 25, Sacks: 1.0, Interceptions: 0, Forced fumbles: 0, Fumble recoveries: 0
  • Total tackles: 25
  • Sacks: 1.0
  • Interceptions: 0
  • Forced fumbles: 0
  • Fumble recoveries: 0

Joe Giles-Harris is a linebacker for the Duke Blue Devils. He was a four-year starter at linebacker for the Blue Devils, and he earned first team All-ACC honors as a junior in 2018.

Joe Giles-Harris played youth football with his twin brother, including playing defense for their local NFL side, the Buffalo Bills. After graduating from high school in 2017, Joe Giles- Harris attended Duke University on a scholarship to play football.

He redshirted his freshman year and then started all 11 games at linebacker as a sophomore in 2018 season before earning first team All-ACC honors as a junior this past season. 

Joe Giles- Harris was not drafted by an NFL team after completing his college career and will likely enter the 2019 NFL Draft if he chooses to do so later this year or in 2020.

Joe Giles-Harris was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Joe Giles-Harris played college football at Temple University where he earned First Team All-American and Second Team.

All- AAC honors as a senior after recording 137 tackles, 10 sacks, two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. 

Joe Giles Harris is projected to play outside linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 but can also play defensive end or defensive tackle depending on how teams use their roster depth chart.

41. Scotty Glacken


  • College: Duke
  • Position: Quarterback
  • AFL Draft: 1966 / Round: 7

Scotty Glacken was a quarterback in the AFL who played for seven teams over his career. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1966 and spent three seasons with them before moving to the Houston Oilers.

In 1974, he signed with the Baltimore Colts and led them to their first ever playoff appearance. The Colts lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round but Glacken gained national attention for his spectacular play.

After two more seasons with Baltimore, he joined the San Diego Chargers where he retired after one season due to injury. He finished with a record of 63-37 as a starter, making him one of the most successful quarterbacks in AFL history.

Scotty Glacken died from respiratory failure on December 27th 2006 at age 62 years old Scotty Glacken was an all-star player in the NFL for seven seasons. He is most well known for his time with the Denver Broncos, where he won two Super Bowls and helped lead the team to its first championship victory in 1978.

After retiring as a player, Glacken became a successful coach, leading Georgetown Hoyas to three NCAA championships during his tenure.

42. Billy Granville


  • High school: Lawrenceville School
  • College: Duke
  • Position: Linebacker
  • Undrafted: 1997
  • Cincinnati Bengals (1997–2000)

Billy Granville is a retired American professional wrestler. He was born in Trenton, New Jersey and attended Lawrenceville School where he played basketball and football.

After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Maryland but dropped out after one semester to pursue his wrestling career full-time. 

Granville made his debut for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1995 as Furney/Granvile before joining World Wrestling Federation (WWF) two years later as The Brooklyn Brawler, winning the WWF Intercontinental Championship on his first night on TV from Stone Cold Steve Austin.

After leaving WWF in 1999, Granville wrestled sporadically for various promotions before retiring from professional wrestling in 2004 due to injuries sustained during a match against Sabu at Ring of Honor's Final Battle pay-per-view event.

Billy has since appeared on several WWE Network specials and been involved with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Combat Zone Pro-Wrestling (CZW), Progress Wrestling UK and Dragon Gate USA among others.

Billy Granville retired from professional wrestling back in 2004 due to numerous injuries sustained while competing including THREE surgeries within 6 months.

43. Roy Hord Jr.


  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1957 / Round: 8 / Pick: 88
  • Los Angeles Rams (1960–1962), Philadelphia Eagles (1962), New York Jets (1962)
  • All-American (1957)
  • Games played: 53, Games started: 0, Fumble recoveries: 2
  • Games played: 53
  • Games started: 0
  • Fumble recoveries: 2

Roy Hord Jr. was a standout guard for Duke and played in the NFL for nine seasons, including three with the Los Angeles Rams. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1957 but never saw any action on the field as a rookie due to injury.

In 1960, he joined the Los Angeles Rams and spent two seasons there before retiring from professional football at age 36 due to injuries sustained during an exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys. 

After his playing career ended, Roy worked as a radio commentator and scout for various teams until his death in 2002 after battling colon cancer for several years Roy Hord Jr.

Was a member of the New York Jets for six seasons from 1962-1967. He started all 53 games that he played during his career with the Jets, and recovered two fumbles during that time. 

Hord also had some memorable moments in his career, including scoring a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in 1966 and making an interception against the Baltimore Colts in 1967. 

After playing his final game with the Jets, Hord retired from football and moved to California to become a policeman/firefighter full-time.

44. Chuck Walker


  • Status: Retired
  • Position(s): Defensive tackle
  • Height: 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
  • Weight: 250 lb (110 kg)
  • College: Duke
  • NFL draft 1963 / Round: 12 / Pick: 157
  • Pro Bowls: 1

Chuck Walker was a defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Minnesota Vikings during his NFL career. Walker is best remembered for his time with the Steelers, where he helped lead Pittsburgh to three Super Bowl appearances (1974-1976).

After retiring from football, Walker worked as a television analyst and served as president of the players' union for two seasons (1998-2000). Walker was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 and has been voted to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and All-Pro teams six times each.

In 2012, Chuck received the prestigious Walter Payton Man of The Year Award from Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith – one of only four linebackers ever to win this honour. 

Walker currently resides in Uniontown, Pennsylvania with his wife Bettye and their three children: sons Casey Jr., Chris Jr., and daughter Kelli.

45. Bob Matheson


  • High school: Appalachian, (Boone, North Carolina)
  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18
  • 2× Super Bowl champion (VII, VIII)
  • Interceptions: 12, Interception yards: 152
  • Interceptions: 12
  • Interception yards: 152
  • Player stats at PFR

Bob Matheson was a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns from 1967-1970. He played in four Pro Bowls and helped lead the Browns to an AFL Championship in 1968.

After his playing career, he worked as a coach with the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers before succumbing to cancer in 1994 at age 49. Played linebacker for the Miami Dolphins from 1971-1979.

Led the team in interceptions twice, and also had 12 total tackles and 152 interception yards during his career. Had a brief coaching stint with Duke before rejoining Don Shula as linebackers coach with the Miami Dolphins in 1981.

4 Held that position until 1983 when he was promoted to defensive coordinator of Minnesota Vikings where he spent one season before retiring from football altogether following 1987 campaign with Miami Dolphins.

46. Robert Jackson

Robert Jackson Career

  • High school: North Mecklenburg, (Huntersville, North Carolina)
  • College: Duke
  • Undrafted: 1975
  • Cleveland Browns (1975–1985)
  • Cleveland Browns legends (2014)
  • Games played: 160, Games started: 127, Fumble recoveries: 6
  • Games played: 160
  • Games started: 127
  • Fumble recoveries: 6

Robert Jackson was a standout guard at North Mecklenburg High School in Huntersville, NC. He went on to play college basketball for Duke and was undrafted in 1975.

Jackson played 13 seasons in the NBA with the Charlotte Hornets, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards. He is best known for his time with the Lakers where he helped lead them to three consecutive championships (1982–84).

In 2000, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History by Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jerry West. After retiring from playing professional basketball, Jackson worked as a color commentator for various networks including TNT and ABC/ESPN until.

His retirement in 2014 at age 68 due to health concerns stemming from numerous concussions sustained during his career playing football professionally before joining the NBA full-time after being cut by the Baltimore Colts as an undrafted free agent out of Duke University in 1976.

Although it should be noted that he had been participating semi-professionally since 1973 when he signed with then minor league team Asheville Bears.

47. Bob Grupp


  • College: Duke
  • NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 7 / Pick: 171, (By the New York Jets)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (1979–1981), New Jersey Generals (1984)
  • PFWA All-Rookie Team (1979), Pro Bowl selection (1979), PFW Golden Toe Award (1979)
  • Punts: 214, Punting yards: 8756, Punting yard average: 40.9
  • Punts: 214
  • Punting yards: 8756
  • Punting yard average: 40.9

Grupp has been a consistent performer in the NFL over the past three decades. He began his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, before playing for the New Jersey Generals and finally, with the Jets.

Grupp is best known for being a reliable punter who has helped teams win games on many occasions throughout his career. Grupp was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and played college football at Duke University where he earned All-American honours in 1976 and 1977.

Grupp was drafted by the Jets in 1977 as seventh round pick171st overall and went on to play 11 seasons for them between 1979-1987 before moving onto other clubs including Miami Dolphins (1988), Detroit Lions (1989) and Buffalo Bills (1990). 

In total, Bob Grupp played 97 regular season games during his lengthy professional career amassing 3256 yards on 101 punts along with 10 touchbacks while scoring two touchdowns - one of which came against his former team, Kansas City Chiefs back in 1981.

After retiring from playing professionally, Grupp became an assistant coach for several clubs including Division II Tusculum College (2002–2004) followed by stints at Eastern Kentucky University (2005), Jacksonville State University/ Alabama A&M Aggies(2006–2007).

Marshalltown Community College(2008–2009), Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles(2010-)and most recently Kilmarnock Football Club Fife United FC Scotland where he currently serves as Head Coach since February 2016.

Final Words

The Duke Blue Devils Football program has had a number of great players throughout its history, with some truly elite talent. Some of the best players in Dukes football history include Heisman Trophy winners Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe, as well as Pro Bowlers such as Chris Boswell and DeAngelo Williams.

While there are many stars to choose from, these are just a few examples of the greatest players in Duke Blue Devils History.

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John Rizzo

I am a professional rugby player in the Washington DC-Baltimore area. I have been playing rugby for over 10 years and have had the opportunity to play in many different countries. I am also a coach for both youth and adult rugby teams. I graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in Sports Management and Marketing. I am currently working on my MPA from American University and plan to pursue this career path after graduating next year. LinkedIn

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