DURHAM By far the most newsworthy item to come out of Duke’s first day of football practice was the suspension of starting tight end Braxton Deaver. Coach David Cutcliffe brought it up unprompted.
“Braxton is not going to join us until (Saturday) August 9,” Cutcliffe said. “He’s doing a few things to satisfy me, which I expect to be done in a timely manner. He should be finished with those things and ready to go and in great spirits and attitude by August 9. I’m looking forward to that for him.”
Deaver’s suspension included the summer months, too, as quarterback Anthony Boone confirmed the tight end was not part of the Blue Devils’ player-led workouts while school was out.
Boone and Deaver are close – they’re roommates, and they’re both from the greater Charlotte area, so they did work out together over the summer, Boone said. Boone expected the two would talk football when he returned home after practice.
“When I go home he is going to ask me how practice was, and we’re going to watch film together,” Boone said. We know Deaver can do it; he’s going to be our guy.
“He’s ready to come back, he’s ready to work, that’s the only mindset he has. He’s ready to come out here and prove to the team that he’s ready to play football.”
Deaver, who earned third-team All-ACC honors last season, started all 14 games and caught 46 passes for 600 yards and four touchdowns. He had an especially productive bowl game, recording a career-high 116 receiving yards on six catches against Texas A&M. His highest number of catches in a single game (seven) came at North Carolina.
In the meantime, David Reeves will get first-team reps at tight end this week. Duke fans may remember him for his fourth-quarter tightrope, 21-yard touchdown reception against the Aggies. The hope, according to Boone, is that the Blue Devils emerge from this with a rock-solid backup tight end. Laura Keeley
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