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Duke loses starting center indefinitely due to ankle injury

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As Duke looks to reach bowl eligibility over the last three games of the regular season, they could very well be forced to do so without the linchpin of its offensive line,

Tuesday, the Blue Devils announced that Jack Wohlabaugh underwent surgery to stabilize an injury to his left ankle.  As a result of the surgical procedure and subsequent rehab, the lineman will be sidelined indefinitely.

Wohlabaugh has been fighting through the ankle issue, “but it was time, and it was the right thing to do,” head coach David Cutcliffe said of the decision to undergo surgery.

Wohlabaugh began his collegiate career at Ohio State before leaving the Buckeyes and transferring to Duke in January of 2018.  In July of last year, Wohlabaugh was granted a waiver for immediate eligibility with the Blue Devils.

After starting eight games during his first season with the Blue Devils, Wohlabaugh has started all nine games in 2019.

Duke needs to win at least two of its last three games — Syracuse, at Wake Forest, Miami — to avoid being shut out of the postseason for the first time since 2016 and just the second time since 2011.

Brian Kelly confirms DE Julian Okwara’s Notre Dame career is over after fractured fibula suffered against Duke

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Notre Dame started the season with depth and experience along their defensive line but slowly and surely that has been chipped away as 2019 has worn on.

The latest blow came in the wake of the team’s win over Duke on Saturday night in Durham as head coach Brian Kelly confirmed to reporters on his Sunday teleconference that senior defensive end Julian Okwara’s days in an Irish uniform are over.

“Julian Okwara, unfortunately, has a fracture and he will not be back this year,” said Kelly, according to 247sports. “We feel terrible for him. He will have a procedure done here once we figure out all the specifics, but it is a fibula fracture that he suffered when he was pass-rushing.”

It’s a big blow for a defense that already lost fellow defensive end Daelin Hayes for the year back in September. While Jamir Jones remains as a cornerstone up front, the team is otherwise young and somewhat inexperienced with a host of underclassmen like Ovie Oghoufo expected to take over for Okwara.

The potential first-rounder next spring, Okwara will conclude his time in South Bend with 79 total tackles (24 for a loss), 15.5 sacks, two interceptions and four forced fumbles. He was on pace to have one of his best seasons yet with the program in 2019 but instead things will end on a sour note after twisting his leg against the Blue Devils.

Senator announces plans to attach strings to college athletes’ potential NIL paychecks

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The NCAA on Tuesday took the first step toward creating (or, really, accepting) a world where college athletes are allowed to take cold, hard cash simply for being college athletes and not ruin their eligibility. The organization left itself no choice following the efforts of many politicians across the country, primarily state politicians in California.

And if you’ve spent any time at all discussing this issue in a public forum, the dialogue has usually folded itself into one of two streams: “Well, good, they should be able to get a cut of their own jersey sales,” or “Well, if they’re going to get paid like a grown-up they should have to pay taxes like a grown-up! See how they like their scholarship then !!!” In fact, that argument has played itself out in the comments section of this very website countless times, and will no doubt spawn again in the comments of this article.

And on Tuesday afternoon, the latter of those arguments sprung to life in the form of Senator Richard Burr (R-NC).

“If college athletes are going to make money off their likenesses while in school, their scholarships should be treated like income,” Burr tweeted. “I’ll be introducing legislation that subjects scholarships given to athletes who choose to ‘cash in’ to income taxes.”

Understanding the $300 Skill Player X accepts for promoting College Bar Z on his respective social media channels will itself be taxed, it’s never quite made sense why said college athlete would then have to pay taxes on his books, his apartment and his meal plan and all the myriad other benefits college athletes receive in exchange for being really good at sports. It likely doesn’t make sense to Burr, other than some people don’t like to see power and freedom extended to people who didn’t used to have it.

For what it’s worth, Burr’s idea is not going over well. As of press time, Burr’s tweet is being firmly “ratio’d” — with 4,000 replies and climbing against only 200 retweets. More importantly, it hasn’t been echoed by any other politicians, either in statehouses across the country or in Washington. In fact, Rep. Mark Walker, who shares a home state and a party with Burr and was the first Congressman to formally bring the issue to Washington back in March, struck an entirely different, non-retaliatory tone in his statement.

What will truly kill Barr’s misguided mission is when Duke, UNC and NC State boosters who also contribute to Burr’s reelection campaign call his office and say, “Hey, bud, no one wants this, so can you just not?”

Duke DE R.J. Oben undergoes season-ending surgery

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The depth along Duke’s defensive line has taken a bit of a hit, the school announced Tuesday.

In a press release, the football program confirmed that R.J. Oben underwent surgery to repair damage to his left shoulder.  As a result, the defensive end will miss the remainder of the 2019 season.

The school didn’t indicate when the true freshman sustained the injury.

A three-star member of the Blue Devils’ 2019 recruiting class, Oben was rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  Oben has appeared in four games this season and has been credited with one tackle.

Duke RB Brittain Brown undergoes season-ending surgery

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Duke running back Brittain Brown underwent surgery to “stabilize” a left shoulder injury, the program announced Thursday. He will miss the remainder of the season.

A redshirt junior from Canton, Ga., Brown totaled 12 carries for 56 yards and two catches for 13 yards on the season. He has appeared in 25 career games, totaling 222 totes for 1,126 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He worked primarily as the Blue Devils’ third running back, behind Deon Jackson and Mataeo Durant. Quarterback Quentin Harris leads Duke in rushing through four games.

Brown redshirted his first season on campus but, having appeared in only four games this season, he should have a good shot to appeal for a medical redshirt and play a sixth season for the Devils in 2021, should he so choose.