Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

New kids on the Duke football gridiron: Taariq Shabazz

With every new season come new players. Most of the time, the new kids on the block are freshmen. For the 2014-2015 season, Duke signed a plethora of true freshmen.

Here’s the lowdown on defensive end Taariq Shabazz.

Shabazz hails from Kennesaw, Ga. and was primarily recruited by schools in the south. He had offers by Cincinnati, Duke, East Carolina, Georgia State, Southern Miss, Central Florida and Vanderbilt. Georgia Tech and Michigan State also expressed interest. He signed with Duke on July 26, 2013. His visit before his commitment to Duke was on July 6 of last year.

“After that visit I finalized my decision with my family and decided to get it done,” Shabazz said. “It was a really nice campus. They sold me on the education there and I really liked the coaches.”

Shabazz will thrive in Duke’s defensive system. Duke’s defensive system currently has four down linemen with two linebackers and five defensive backs. Shabazz will be lining up in a two-point stance, which is what he prefers. With him lining up in the stance that he prefers, he will be able to utilize his speed. Shabazz has been clocked at a 4.9 second 40-yard dash and a 4.8 second 20-yard shuttle.

Shabazz is the 24th rated weak-side defensive end in his recruiting class and is a three-star recruit, being the 53rd rated recruit coming out of the state of Georgia.

His junior season was his better season between his junior and senior campaigns, having 16.5 tackles for loss and accounting for three sacks. During Shabazz’s senior year, he suffered a hamstring injury, making his stats lackluster. Currently, Shabazz’s injury is nothing to worry about, as it’s highly possible that he will see significant playing time this season. Duke only retains half of their defensive ends from last season.

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