As the Berkmar football team continues its first week of practice in preparation for the 2008 season, a second Patriot senior shored up his college future.
Defensive back Kadeem Wise is headed for the Atlantic Coast Conference after giving a verbal commitment to Duke on Tuesday.
The 5-foot-7, 170-pound senior chose to join new coach David Cutcliffe's program, choosing the Blue Devils over similar overtures from Duke's ACC rivals Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Wake Forest, plus Vanderbilt and Indiana.
"Coach Cutcliffe and I know each other, and I know (Duke offensive coordinator Matt) Luke real well," Berkmar coach John Thompson said. "They're ecstatic about Kadeem. When he told me he was committing (to Duke), he told me, "When I got to campus, it felt like I was home.'
"One of the first thing I tell kids I coach is that they have to ask themselves if they can see (a campus they visit) being their home for the next four years. If the answer is yes, then it's the right place for them. I think (Duke) is a good fit for Kadeem."
Wise was actually a dual threat for Berkmar in its 6-4 season last year, finishing eighth on the team with 60 combined tackles and adding an interception on defense, while adding five receptions for 83 yards as a member of the Patriots' pass-happy offense.
He was recruited to Duke primarily as a defensive back/athlete, with the possibility of him getting a look at receiver or kick returning if the opportunity arises. Wise is the second rising Berkmar senior to make a verbal commitment to a Division I program this summer, joining linebacker Troy Davis, who gave his non-binding pledge to Central Florida at the end of June.
"It's a tribute to both Troy and Kadeem, not only athletically, but also because they're taking care of their academics," Thompson said. "Athletically, they're two of our seniors, and they've bought in to the new system and done everything we've asked them to do."
Wise also figures to be part of a solid nucleus - along with Davis and linebacker Daryle Wesley, Gwinnett's leading returning tackler, and defensive end Carlos Powell - returning to Berkmar's defense this season.