Duke Football: Chase Brice makes Blue Devils an ACC Coastal contender

dukeDuke will go into the spring without a starting quarterback, but QB1 is on the way in the form of Clemson transfer Chase Brice.

Brice announced over the weekend that he will transfer to Duke after the spring semester, and because he is on track to graduate in May, he will be immediately eligible.

And because Brice is a redshirt sophomore in terms of eligibility, he will have two years of eligibility.

The move makes Duke an instant contender in the ACC Coastal in 2020, after a 5-7 finish in 2019.

The Blue Devils return 45 of the 56 players listed on the two-deeps for offense, defense and special teams at the end of the 2019 season, including 21 of the 29 starters.

The one thing that was missing was at QB, where redshirt senior Quentin Harris (2,078 yards passing/510 yards rushing, 116.1 passer rating, 16TDs passing/6 TDs rushing, 11 INTs in 2019) was basically a game manager.

Brice brings more promise. A four-star recruit in the Class of 2017, Brice got plenty of action in garbage time the past two seasons, throwing for 1,023 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

And actually, it wasn’t all garbage time. You might remember the 2018 comeback win over Syracuse, which had a 23-13 lead on Clemson in Death Valley, with Trevor Lawrence, in his first career start, on the sidelines with an injury.

Brice, then a redshirt freshman, led the Tigers on fourth-quarter scoring drives of 75 and 94 yards, the last culminating with a Travis Etienne touchdown with 41 seconds left that kept Clemson on track toward the national title.

It won’t help Brice that he won’t be able to work in spring practice in coach David Cutcliffe’s offense, but you can expect him to make his way to Durham as soon as is humanly possible in May.

Expect to see him get work in with his receivers in the summer to begin to build rapport with the guys he’ll be throwing to in the fall, and be ready to hit the ground running when camp starts in July.

Cutcliffe, quarterback whisperer that he is, has one of the better weapons he’s ever had at Duke at QB1 in Brice.

Even eventual 2019 first-round NFL draft pick Daniel Jones was just a two-star walk-on coming out of high school, which speaks to Cutcliffe’s ability to develop talent at quarterback.

And the schedule in September is favorable to giving Brice time to get his feet under him. Duke opens with home games against Middle Tennessee, Elon and Charlotte before its first tough test of the season, on the road on Sept. 26 at Pitt.

Should make things even more interesting in the ACC Coastal, which has no clear-cut favorite months out from the 2020 season.

Reigning Coastal champ Virginia has to replace its starting quarterback, but has most of its two-deep back. Miami landed a prized grad-transfer QB of its own in D’Eriq King. Virginia Tech lost its last two after a long winning streak, and is enduring another offseason of turmoil.

North Carolina was three plays from a nine-win season in 2019, and three plays from a three-win season in 2019, but coach Mack Brown does have the division’s best QB, Sam Howell, back to put points on the board.

Those four had already figured to get first-place votes in the preseason polling at the ACC Kickoff this summer. You can add Duke to that mix as well now with Brice coming on board.

Story by Chris Graham


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