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How does Duke try to replace Mark Gilbert (out for season) and Daniel Jones (out indefinitely)?

The 2018 football season was off to a great start for Duke. After a nice road win over Northwestern, 21-7, the Blue Devils improved to 2-0 — with a road date against Baylor next weekend. Against the Wildcats, Duke played the kind of ball you expected to see from them this year: efficient play from Daniel Jones and a dominant, at times, defense.

The victory, however, was soured — greatly — by news that came out on Sunday.

Star cornerback Mark Gilbert and quarterback Daniel Jones both underwent surgery on Sunday. Gilbert’s procedure dealt with a hip injury; he will miss the rest of the season. Jones, on the other hand, addressed a fractured left clavicle; he is out indefinitely.

Gilbert is coming off a monster 2017 season, and is one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. A season ago, Gilbert had six interceptions (tied for fourth most in the FBS) and defended 20 passes, which was No. 1 in the ACC. Later in the day on Sunday, Gilbert took to Twitter:

Duke will now need more from reserve cornerback Michael Carter II — a former 3-star recruit who intercepted his first career pass in Evanston. Gilbert was a candidate to leave early for the 2019 NFL Draft, but perhaps this sways him to return to Duke for another season.

 

Go — and get better — DJ

On the other side of the ball, though: Jones had been excellent so far this season. The redshirt junior has completed 74.4 percent of his passes (29-of-39) and averaged 10 yards per pass attempt.

Jones is one of six FBS quarterbacks with four touchdown passes, one rushing touchdown and a completion rate over 70 percent. That’s convenient filter usage (on my part), but Jones is joined on that list by other stars: Tua Tagovailoa and Drew Lock.

David Cutcliffe has a few options to go to in an effort to replace Jones; however, the top of that list starts with Quentin Harris, another former 3-star recruit. A redshirt junior, Harris is just 9-of-15 (60 percent) passing the ball for his career. He’s also run for 104 yards on 39 carries (2.7 yards a pop), and two touchdowns — both of which came in the 2017 season.

 

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