Mark Gilbert Opts Out of Duke Season, Will Taylor to Undergo Surgery

David Cutcliffe announces bad news about two injured players
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Duke got bad news on two injured players over the bye week.

The team announced that redshirt senior cornerback Mark Gilbert will not return to the Blue Devil squad for the remainder of the 2020 season and will begin preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Gilbert made his return to the field this season after missing most of the last two years with a hip injury. After starting the first two games, making eight tackles, and intercepting one pass, he needed surgery to remove a loose bone fragment in his right foot.

“Mark and I met,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “He’s still in recovery from his surgery. But he’s just ready to turn his focus to next year, to his future. He’s been a great contributor here. He’s gone through so, so much. I certainly wish him well.”

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

Gilbert and fellow starting corner Josh Blackwell went down to injury the same week. They were replaced by Leonard Johnson and Jeremiah Lewis.

The Blue Devils will also be without center Will Taylor for the foreseeable future. Taylor stepped in as the starter when Jack Wohlabaugh went down with an injury in the preseason. He suffered a leg injury against NC State.

“Will Taylor will undergo surgery (Tuesday),” Cutcliffe said. “I wish Will really well. He’s had a challenging time since he’s been here. He has answered everything he has been asked to do. He’s an outstanding young man both on and off the field.”

True freshman Graham Barton has replaced Taylor at center.