The Duke Blue Devils are in the midst of the greatest four-season run in the program’s modern history. Head Coach David Cutcliffe has done a great job turning things around and building a winning program over the last eight seasons.[pull_quote_center]“You want to build a system,” Cutcliffe said. “You teach a whole, and then you use parts. To me that’s how any system operates best, whether it’s a business or a football team or a side of a ball.’’[/pull_quote_center]
It certainly helps having a player with NFL quality talent, and that is exactly what he has in strong safety Jeremy Cash.
Cash, coming out of high school, originally signed with the Ohio State Buckeyes for one reason: Head coach Jim Tressel. After Tressel’s resignation in 2011, the coach suggested Cash go play for Duke, praising David Cutcliffe.
Prior to Cash’s arrival in 2012, Duke hadn’t reached a bowl game or posted a winning season since 1994. However, during the past three seasons, the Blue Devils have reached three bowl games, and captured an Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
Cash earned All-American honors as a first-year starter in 2013, finishing with 121 total tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. He repeated those honors in 2014 with 111 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 5.5 sacks. Through six games in 2015, Cash leads the Blue Devils in tackles with 42, leads the entire ACC in tackles for loss with 9.5, has 1.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. The 6-2, 210-pound native from Miami has helped lead Duke to a 5-1 record this season and spearheads a top ten nationally ranked defense.
Duke runs a 4-3 system, and Cash excels as an in-the-box strong safety who has a knack for making plays from the perimeter. The Blue Devils like to use him to pressure both the run and the pass but not necessarily always as a designed blitz. Cash is simply a smart football player that diagnoses well and reacts quickly to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Scouts like his versatility and also his instinct in zone coverage. Duke has used him as a nickel corner and also at the linebacker position in addition to his primary roll as a strong safety. He is a wrecking ball on defense with a non-stop motor who loves to lower his pads and play with violence.
After seeing Carlos Hyde run roughshod over the Vikings, a tough-nosed playmaker like Jeremy Cash is now at the top of my wish list. With a good NFL Combine performance, Cash will be well on his way to earning first round consideration.
His Tulane tape of 2014 (below) is pretty good stuff!