True freshman defensive end Vincent Anthony, Jr. has been named an All-American. So, how on earth can a guy who has not played a solitary snap in a college football game be an All-American? The answer is he was listed on 247Sports’ Preseason True Freshman All-American team.
This is a big deal for Duke football. Anthony is the crown jewel of their 2022 recruiting class and is the highest-rated and only four-star recruit the program has reeled in since 2019. Recognition like this now becomes a selling point in recruiting for new head coach Mike Elko and his staff. They can point to the attention Anthony is receiving and let a potential recruit know they can come to Duke and get that as well. But, here is the caveat: for that message to really carry weight, Anthony now has to produce on the field.
All reports seem to indicate it has been so far, so good for the 6’6”, 240-pound product of Durham’s Jordan High School. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since arriving on campus, and could be on track to be a starter when the Blue Devils open their season against Temple on September 2nd. At worst, he’ll be in the defensive line rotation. Elko likes what he’s seen so far,
"“He’s gotten a lot of reps with our first team defense and has really handled it. He’s gone against our starting offensive line and he’s done some great things with it. We’re really happy with what he’s doing and his progress.”"
Elko and his assistants need to be given a lot of credit for keeping Anthony in the fold during the coaching change. A top-300 player and the nation’s number thirty-seven defensive lineman (according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings), he was pursued by Indiana and Mississippi, along with ACC rivals Georgia Tech and N.C. State.
When you look at some of the schools who recruited him, Anthony is obviously a very intelligent young man. Blue Devil fans think he made a smart decision to stay home and be at the forefront of what is hopefully the beginning of a resurgence for Duke football.