Duke Loses Mark Gilbert, Josh Blackwell to Injury


Duke’s secondary was one of the strong points of the team, with experienced depth, particularly at the cornerback spots.

Two games into the season, that depth will be tested as the Blue Devils lost both starting cornerbacks.

Duke senior cornerback Mark Gilbert underwent surgery on Tuesday to remove a loose bone fragment in his right foot. He will be out of action indefinitely.

The Fayetteville, N.C., native started Duke's opening two games, making eight tackles, and intercepting one pass.

Gilbert had just made an inspirational return to the field after missing nearly two full seasons. He had hip surgery in September 2018 and worked his way back onto the field.

In 29 career games, Gilbert has accumulated 65 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, and 17 pass breakups.

Duke redshirt junior cornerback Josh Blackwell also underwent surgery Monday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered in Sunday's practice. He will be out indefinitely.

The Buford, Ga., native started Duke's opening two games, making four tackles, including one tackle for loss. He was also the Blue Devils' primary punt returner, registering five returns this season for 35 yards.

Blackwell started 10 games last season and five in 2018.

Gilbert was backed up on the depth chart by redshirt junior Leonard Johnson, who started all 12 games last season and nine in 2018. He had one solo tackle in 81 snaps this season after topping 800 snaps each of the last two years.

Blackwell’s backup is redshirt sophomore Jeremiah Lewis. He has two solo tackles in 61 snaps this year. Next up at punt returner, according to the depth chart, is wide receiver Jake Bobo.