Boys' Latin's Victor Dimukeje could not be more thankful for the nearly 40 scholarship offers he received to play college football.
Still, that many offers gave the All-Metro defensive end a lot to think about. He took his time, did his homework and finally settled on Duke, giving his verbal commitment late last week – shortly before Wednesday's National Signing Day.
"I felt like I had the best relationship with the coaches and they recruited me the hardest," Dimukeje said, "and I felt like it was the best school for me football-wise and academically. It's a top-notch academic school, one of the best in the country, so how could I really turn that down?"
Through the recruiting process, Dimukeje said, he developed a strong connection with head coach David Cutcliffe and defensive line coach Ben Albert, whose Blue Devils finished 4-8 last season but beat Army and suffered four losses by three or fewer points.
Dimukeje, 6-feet-2 and 255 pounds, is rated a 3-star recruit and the No. 4 senior defensive end in Maryland by the recruiting website Scout.com.
At Boys' Latin, he started for three years and earned All-MIAA B Conference honors twice after arriving at the school as a sophomore. Last fall, he had 10.5 sacks and two forced fumble. Twenty of his 50 tackles were for a loss as the Lakers finished 7-4 and second in the B Conference.
With a 3.6 GPA, he is considering majoring in engineering or physical therapy.
Dimukeje had already visited Duke twice, but took his official visit on Jan. 20 to be sure it was the right place for him. The previous weekend, he had visited Michigan State and Pittsburgh. His top five also included Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
His official visit to the Duke campus in Durham, N.C. cemented his decision.
"The relationship between the coaches and the players, just the overall environment and the people surrounding you," he said was important. "I had a chance to talk with teachers and I just loved everything I saw."
"Early in my junior year, after I got a couple offers, I thought I might commit, but after going through the process and learning how it works – all the schools telling you what you want to hear – I figured it's best if I take all my officials and get a feel for the program when I spend the weekend. I felt like if I took my time with it, I would end up making the best decision for me and my family."
Dimukeje, who played only two years of organized football before arriving at Boys' Latin, received more scholarship offers than any other player in the school's football history.
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Coach Ritchie Schell includes only two other players in that top level of Lakers prospects -- offensive lineman Greg Pyke, who just finished his career at Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, and Dom Maggio, the No. 1 high school punter in the country in 2015 who played for Wake Forest last fall.
Schell met with a lot of coaches recruiting Dimukeje and he said he thinks Duke fits his prospect well.
"It's just a great opportunity for him," Schell said. "A Duke education is serious and he's very serious about getting a good education. And Duke's not a doormat. I think he's going to be better in the ACC pass rushing... They love him. His upside is tremendous."