Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Renfree committed to Duke's success

With quarterback Thaddeus Lewis completing his eligibility for Duke last season, the Blue Devils need a productive, trusted leader to replace him.

Sean Renfree, though just a redshirt sophomore, finds himself first in line for the opportunity.

A highly touted prospect out of Scottsdale, Ariz., Renfree saw limited action behind Lewis last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament last November. While recovering from the injury, Renfree wasn't able to compete in contact drills during spring practice. But he was able to take part in many other drills.

``He got a lot more work in the the spring than I ever thought he would,'' Duke coach David Cutcliffe said.

Renfree's commitment to the Blue Devils goes beyond toughness. Cutcliffe said Renfree received an invitation to attend the Manning Passing Academy this summer, but declined.

For nearly two decades, the Mannings have held their passing camp in Louisiana each year. It brings together NFL, college and high school quarterbacks. Archie Manning and sons Peyton and Eli always attend. (As a reporter covering the New Orleans Saints beat, I first met Eli when he was a teenager at this event. I also watched Chris Simms, among others, as a high school player there).

While honored and intrigued at the opportunity, Renfree chose to stay in Durham working with his Duke teammates this summer, figuring it would help the team more. But Renfree worried about offending the Mannings.

Cutcliffe, having coached Peyton and Eli, told Renfree he'd handle passing on the regrets.

``I told him they wouldn't be angry,'' Cutcliffe said. ``He said, ``I don't want to do it because I feel like I need to be here rehabbing and working with our players.' I think that's indicative of the commitment that Sean has as a player. It made me kind of smile, to be honest with you.''

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