The Duquesne Dukes will be playing an unprecedented spring football season in 2021, with a four-game schedule slated to begin in March to replace the postponed fall 2020 season.
Ahead of that spring competition, the Dukes added a significant number of reinforcement via mid-season transfer. Head coach Jerry Schmitt has inked 13 transfer players, including eight former FBS players, to his team’s roster for the four-game spring season, and Schmitt likes what he sees.
“We are happy with those guys,” Schmitt said. “They are fitting in with our football team and settled into their academics. And that’s what we look for in transfers, that they can take advantage of the academics here at Duquesne, whether it’s finishing a degree or graduate work, and fit in with our football team.”
Perhaps the most notable of the bunch is former four-star recruit Nathan Proctor Jr. The 6-foot-2, 240 pound junior defensive end committed to Virginia Tech out of Indian Head, Maryland. He redshirted his first season with the Hokies and played in eight games in 2018, collecting three tackles. The former four-star prospect then transferred to Iowa Central Community College for the 2019 season. During his sophomore year at ICCC, Proctor recorded 46 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks.
Proctor could have as many as three seasons of eligibility remaining for the Dukes, as he will be a redshirt junior this spring, a redshirt senior this fall, and could take advantage of the NCAA’s blanket waiver for eligibility from the 2020-21 season to return in 2022.
Two WPIAL players will make their return to Western Pennsylvania: Rahmon Hart, Jr. and Tymar Sutton.
Hart, a 6-foot 3 wide receiver from Ball State, graduated from Imani Christian Academy in 2019. A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Hart played in just one game while preserving his redshirt status as a freshman with the Cardinals in 2019 and did not play last fall, giving him a full slate of eligibility with the Dukes.
Sutton, a 5-foot-10, 218-pound linebacker from McKeesport, comes to the Dukes from Iowa State. With the Cyclones, the former three-star prospect redshirted in 2016 but played as a reserve and special teamer in 2017, 2018 and 2019, suiting up for 31 games over three seasons.
The other graduate transfers joining the Dukes include defensive back Temitope Agoro, defensive lineman AJ Garson, wide receiver Wykeen Gill, wide receiver TJ Johnson, running back Garrett Owens, long snapper Phillip Thomas, and defensive back Ryan Webb.
Agoro, a 6-foot defensive back from Riverdale, Md., recorded three tackles in 24 games at Notre Dame after walking on in 2016.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Garson had 15 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in 15 career games at Connecticut. He was a two-star prospect at tight end coming out of Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Gill, a 5-foot-10, 185 pound receiver from Atchinson, Kan., caught 26 passes for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns in 23 career games at Kansas State.
Johnson, a three-star recruit out of Euclid High School, played at Penn State in 2016. After being redshirted his freshman year, the Euclid, Ohio native transferred to Cincinnati, where he appeared in eight games with the Bearcats.
Owens ran for 2,743 yards and 31 touchdowns in 30 games at Division-II Mercyhurst. The 6-foot-3, 215 pound tailback from North East, Pa. also caught 72 passes for 727 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns during his three years with the Lakers.
Thomas, a Louisville, Ohio native, walked on at Ohio State in 2017, the year the Buckeyes won the Cotton Bowl. He is also a Rose Bowl champion, and a 3-time Big 10 champion.
Webb, a 5-foot-9 Edgewood, Md. native, tallied 106 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and three interceptions in 43 games at Marist.
Duquesne will also get a transfer from rival Saint Francis Univeristy, 6-foot-4 wide receiver Cyrus Holder. The senior from Uniondale, N.Y. hauled in 62 passes for 1,150 yards and 9 touchdowns in 25 games with the Red Flash. Holder even burnt the Dukes for 113 yards and two scores in 2018.
The lone quarterback transfer heading to Duquesne is former two-star recruit Darius Perrantes. The sophomore from Los Angeles played in three games for Rhode Island in 2019 before being redshirted. Perrantes threw for 287 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25-of-47 passing in those three games.
DeMarcus Townsend, a 215 pound sophmore running back from Naples, Fla., was a three-star recruit coming out of Palmetto Ridge High School before playing at FIU. Townsend played in 12 games at FIU, but only had one carry for a yard.
Duquesne is scheduled to open the season at home on March 7 against Sacred Heart. Schmitt says that it “felt really good” to get back out on the field as a team.
“The kids were excited,” Schmitt said. “They worked really hard because they went through all the protocols to be able to do that, and they’re doing a good job with that. So I think it’s huge if we get the opportunity to play football games for them. Things are trending in a good direction right now.”