Sluggish Duke football program dealt major injury blow in secondary

Duke football cornerback Mark Gilbert (Photo by Nell Redmond-Pool/Getty Images)
Duke football cornerback Mark Gilbert (Photo by Nell Redmond-Pool/Getty Images) /

Major injury news was handed down to the Duke football secondary this week.

Entering the 2020 season, the secondary was set to be a strong point of the Duke Blue Devils, but that will be pressed just two games into the year after two significant injury blows.

Cornerbacks Mark Gilbert and Josh Blackwell both came out of the 26-6 loss to Boston College with injures that resulted in surgery, and both players will be out indefinitely.

Gilbert, who had not played since September 8, 2018, prior to this season, had a procedure to remove a loose bone fragment in his foot, according to the team, and Blackwell had surgery on a torn right meniscus.

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The injury that prevented Mark Gilbert from seeing the field in almost two years was a hip injury, so it’s a major positive that he did not reaggravate that injury.

In his two games played this season, Gilbert accumulated eight tackles and one interception while Blackwell has posted four tackles this season.

Who will fill in for the Duke football cornerbacks?

Leonard Johnson and Jeremiah Lewis are the most likely players to replace the starting duo for the Blue Devils, and luckily for David Cutcliffe, there is some experience with his two reserves.

Johnson, a redshirt junior, played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman and 12 games as a redshirt sophomore, with his best season coming one year ago with 48 total tackles, seven passes defended, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.

As a redshirt junior, the Hayden, Alabama native just has one tackle.

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Jeremiah Lewis, a redshirt sophomore, has significantly less experience than Johnson as he has a total of 10 tackles and one pass defended in his Duke career.

The Blue Devils secondary will be tested right away as Duke travels to face the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday, September 26 at 4:00pm EST on the ACC Network.