Our scouting report on Virginia Tech's latest recruiting class is back for the 2022 cycle and we're kicking it off by taking a look at standout RB Bryce Duke.
Duke brings an impressive pedigree to Virginia Tech having won the prestigious Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year award as the best high school football player in the Washington D.C. metro.
That shouldn't come as a surprise as Duke put up video game type numbers this past season for in-state Tuscarora High School with an insane 2,852 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns on 322 carries this past season. That works out to be an impressive 8.86 yards per carry, almost a first down for every time he runs the football. Combine that with 17 receptions for 256 yards and 5 touchdowns, and you have someone who has the versatility to make an impact in multiple different areas.
Having that type of proven production is also a major plus as there's something to be said about a player who produces on the stat sheet for his team and doesn't just pass the tests at different spring and summer camps.
So with all that in mind, let's take a look at his tape.
The first thing that sticks out to me with Bryce Duke is his agility and nimbleness as a runner. That all starts with the fact that Duke is light on his feet almost like a ballerina and is able to change directions quickly because he isn't planting himself but is ready to change directions or even hit a nice spin move. He also can take a more powerful plant step to change directions when he needs to as well but even when he does that, he still is light enough on his feet to ensure that the move is plenty quick enough.
Agility starts with being light on your feet and part of what makes Duke a productive playmaker is his plus agility and nimbleness as a runner.
His speed and burst is also a plus as he shows plenty of good burst exploding through the holes that he sees and burning through the second and third levels without giving the defense much of a chance. Additionally, one of Duke's biggest strengths is his long-distance speed as though his front-end burst is solid, Duke has the type of long run speed that makes it hard to chase him down unlike some RBs who may have better burst but the long term speed that turns what could be a 70-yard TD into a 50-yard gain.
His motor and toughness are also very good as you can see how he can be relentless at a runner and break through weaker tackles that some RBs might go down on. Duke keeps driving at times in holes that may not always be the best ones, but you can see on the tape that his motor makes a difference and helps him gain extra yards or even break through some holes that really weren't there.
Duke has pretty good vision for finding holes though there's definitely some moments where he probably is a little too aggressive. His patience including waiting for holes to open up more is something that he definitely has the most room to grow in as he makes the jump to the collegiate level. However, there's plenty of potential that's shown on his tape that he has some of the raw skills in those areas.
Additionally, Duke's HUDL lists him at a 4.57 40 speed and while he does show good burst and especially good long-range speed, there's room for growth. Additionally, Duke could probably put on some more weight to his 5'11'', 196-pound frame though a year in a collegiate weight room should be able to help in both those areas.
Duke may not be a day 1 difference maker, but he definitely has the potential to become a very good ACC running back and a lead back down the road. He also has the talent to develop into a nice complimentary piece in the backfield behind likely lead back Malachi Thomas within the next couple of seasons with an outside chance at doing so as a freshman.
Tech isn't likely to sign another RB this cycle and though Duke isn't highly rated, he looks underrated on tape and a guy that should have Brent Pry and new RBs coach Stu Holt comfortable with what they have at RB this cycle.