Duke Football Team Preview: Quarterback


As the NFL Draft concludes this weekend in Chicago we can finally close a book on the 2015 NFL draft class and look ahead to summer camp for the Duke Blue Devils football team. A way I will be doing this is going through position by position on the team and giving an assessment of where the position stands and where it ranks in the ACC. First, the most important position, quarterback.

Duke loses one of its most heralded leaders from their 2014 team in Anthony Boone. Boone was a two-year starter at Duke, where he led the Blue Devils to 19 wins. He was the most valuable player on last year’s team as he was selected to honorable mention as an ALL-ACC pick. In his career, he completed 540 passes with a completion percentage of 59% to go along with 38 TDs and 24 INTs. That is a ton of production and experience to lose at a position whose importance is so highly regarded.

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That leaves a rather sizable hole in the Blue Devils’ offensive plans. But there are two names on the depth chart that everyone will be looking at to help replace the production left by Boone.

First is Parker Boehme, a 6-2, 220 pound, redshirt sophomore, who enters the season as the number 2 on the depth chart. In 2014, Boehme played in three games against Elon, Kansas and Wake Forest (not exactly powerhouses). He saw a total of 15 snaps so in reality he has no experience that you can count on. Boehme has very good size for the position and is built well. His throwing motion is not exactly something that makes you say wow but he can be accurate and projects as a player with a high football IQ. He is also a dual-threat possibility which is key in the spread attack that head coach David Cutcliffe employs. Boehme is a nice piece to have as a backup at this point and might be needed if the top man on the depth chart gets hurt.

Speaking of the top man, his name is Thomas Sirk. Sirk is a 6-4, 215 pound, redshirt junior, who looks to take the Blue Devils back to ACC Championship game, a place where they were two years ago. In 2014, Sirk played in 12 games, mostly being inserted as a running threat, to the tune of 47 carries for 238 yards and an impressive 8 TDs. He also completed 10 of 14 passes for 67 yards and 3 TDs. We all remember the game-winning TD he scored in the 51-48 double OT victory at Pittsburgh and the game-winning three-yard TD pass he threw in the 20-13 victory over Virginia. He has more than enough experience to take over for the departed Anthony Boone while still giving Blue Devils’ fans hope going forward. As you can see from his stats, he can run the ball very effectively. He has all the makings of an ALL-ACC level QB because of his size, arm strength and speed. But his understanding of all the ins and outs of the offense can still be questioned. Can Sirk be relied upon to consistently make good decisions in the face of pressure and not just escape the pocket and run? I believe he can.

Replacing Anthony Boone, the leader of teams to bowl berths and raised expectations for an entire fan base, will not be easy. Sirk has all the tools to be a high-level performer at this level. He showcased some of his abilities last season. Parker Boehme is a solid-looking backup. But there are a good 7-8 QBs in the ACC that I would take ahead of Sirk including Deshaun Watson and Brad Kaaya (the two best QBs in the league). Sirk has the ability but only playing time and actual snaps will determine if he can lead the Blue Devils back to the top of the ACC Coastal.

Quarterback Rank in the ACC: 9th