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  As Duke's defensive coaches work to build a strong unit after seeing three players from last season taken in the NFL Draft, they at least can look to linebacker for a solid, experienced player. After bursting on the scene in 2019 with six starts as a freshman, Shaka Heyward led Duke in tackles (80) last season while starting all 11 games. Now a junior, he has plenty of experience to go with his talent. That makes him a player Duke co-defensive coordinator Matt Guerrieri can build around. "Shaka is everything you want from a height, weight, speed, physicality standpoint in a linebacker," Guerrieri said.

"He's turned the corner from a younger player, who got the feel for our defense, to now a veteran guy. So there's leadership role that comes with that so that's really been a big challenge for him." As Guerrieri said, it all starts with Heyward in the middle. "You have to run the show in the middle of our defense and he's taken that challenge in this offseason and he's performed really well in camp," Guerrieri said. "The biggest change I would say in his game that you'll see is a more physical run presence and our staff has challenged him from that standpoint." - Herald Sun

(DS#13 ILB) rJr/2023 ILB Shaka HeywardDuke
News Source: Herald Sun



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