Two Blue Devils Opt Out of Season
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe announced that two Blue Devils players are opting out of the 2020 season, due to concern over COVID-19.
Offensive lineman Jacob Rimmer and long snapper Ben Wyatt decided not to play this season.
“They made tough decisions,” Cutcliffe said. “They just weren’t comfortable with playing in the environment of this virus. We certainly support them in every way.”
Rimmer would have been a redshirt junior this season. He appeared in three games in 2018, seeing a total of 26 snaps. He did not get into a game last year.
Wyatt would have been a redshirt senior. He has been the team’s long snapper for punts each of the last three seasons.Wyatt was named to the preseason watch list for the Patrick Mannelly Award, given to the country's top long snapper.
“They will be finishing school and doing the things they’ve got to do there,” Cutcliffe said. “Again we support those types of decisions. All of them know that. They will stay on scholarship until they finish their degrees this coming spring.”
Duke will use John Taylor, who has been the team’s snapper on place kicks, for both types of long snapping this year. Taylor has done that each of the last two seasons, and his twin brother, Will, finished last year as Duke’s center, after Jack Wohlabaugh went down to injury.
“John Taylor has started for us on field goals and extra points the entire season a year ago,” Cutcliffe said. “He knows our entire operation at punt. He can direct traffic out there. He’s talented. We’re very, very fortunate. I think Ben knew that he wasn’t just walking away and leaving us high and dry.”
Cutcliffe will also look at various options to provide depth at that position. Sophomore Jack Griffen was the only other snapper on the roster for spring practice.
“We’ve got a couple young people that are here that are deep snappers and showing some promise,” Cutcliffe said. “We’ll also go through our squad at some point this camp—in case something happens, God forbid, an injury, we’ll have a few position players that are capable of doing it. We always carry an emergency guy when we’re on the road. But I feel good about John, really good about John.”