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Duke announces 18-player recruiting class

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP)

Duke rarely signs the highest rated recruits in football - even after one of the best seasons in school history.

Coach David Cutcliffe wants the right ones.

Cutcliffe announced an 18-player class Wednesday that's evenly split between skill players and linemen.

The Blue Devils' class was ranked 66th by Scout.com and tied for 55th by Rivals.com. As usual, it's loaded with two- and three-star players.

Duke won a school-record 10 games and its first ACC Coastal Division title, climbed into the AP Top 25 and made consecutive bowl trips for the first time in program history, losing to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Cutcliffe says the full effect of that success probably won't be felt until future years but ''our guys that were committed have never been more excited.''

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DUKE

National rankings (Rivals T-55; Scout 66).

Best in class: Zach Harmon (Toledo, Ohio) is rated as the nation's 20th-best center by Scout.com.

Best of the rest: Cutcliffe's quarterbacks always attract attention - he's a key mentor for Super Bowl MVPs Peyton and Eli Manning - and his latest QB signees are Johnathan Lloyd (Graham, N.C.) and Nicodem Pierre (Miami). Lloyd enrolled early and took part in Duke's pre-Chick-fil-A Bowl practices, and Cutcliffe says he has ''great feet, about as fluid as you would want to be and he's quick.''

Late addition: Sixteen of Duke's signees committed in 2012 or '13. The last to say he would sign - WR Trevon Lee (Miramar, Fla.) - made his announcement Monday and Cutcliffe said the Blue Devils' big year helped sway him. Cutcliffe says Lee ''has certainly got a lot of talent'' but shied away from saying he would be an immediate difference-maker.

One that got away: None. Duke didn't appear to have any late defections from its class because Cutcliffe doesn't like to play games with the recruiting process. ''You didn't hear the word decommit. ... If you decommit, odds are, you never committed,'' he said.

NOTE: Cutcliffe spent Sunday watching his pupil Peyton Manning lose the Super Bowl from a luxury box at Metlife Stadium and he said ''as I'm going in, maybe in the hundreds of people said, `We followed your team, we love your team, etc. etc.' ... All that does have an effect.''

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Tagged: Duke

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