SINCE 1996

2024 Nominee

Tyler Santucci



Defensive Coordinator/LB

Why should this nominee be considered for the Broyles Award?
** In one season at Duke, Tyler Santucci has helped the Blue Devils to six victories, including one win over No. 9 Clemson.
** This season, Duke ranks in the top-25 nationally in six major defensive categories including scoring defense, red zone defense and pass efficiency defense.
** Duke has three players with 50-plus tackles on the year in Tre Freeman (71), Jaylen Stinson (58), and Dorian Mausi (53) … the Blue Devils are one of five schools in the ACC with at least three players with 50-plus tackles on the year, joining NC State, Syracuse, Virginia and Wake Forest … Duke has finished with two-plus players with double-digit tackles in a single game three times on the year against No. 9 Clemson, No. 11 Notre Dame and Wake Forest.
“Coach Santucci is phenomenal. He’s as good of a coach as there is in America. He has a tremendous knowledge base about defensive football. He’s done a really good job of tailoring the scheme around the pieces we have in place and the improvements we’ve made across the board as a defense. I don’t know that I can have more confidence in a coach than I do in him. You’ve got a young rising star in the industry but a guy who knows how to run a room. I think he commands respect, but he also does it the right way and so guys want to give him respect. It’s a very collaborative effort and at the end of the day he knows he’s in charge and he’s on top of it. He’s just done a really good job of bringing that whole group together. Our scoring defense, red zone defense, team passing efficiency defense, it’s really been impressive. Doing all of that in his first year calling the plays and while also battling through some injuries as we haven’t been the healthiest all year on defense and so just a tremendously smart football coach and I’m really glad he’s here with us.”
Entering 2023, one of Duke’s most inexperienced positions was at linebacker, having to replace All-ACC selection Shaka Heyward. Under the guidance of Santucci, redshirt sophomore linebacker Tre Freeman leads the team and ranks sixth in the ACC with 71 tackles on the year. The Durham, N.C., native is averaging 7.89 tackles per game and led the Blue Devils in tackles in four contests against No. 9 Clemson, No. 11 Notre Dame, NC State and Wake Forest. Over his last five outings, Freeman has compiled 50 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one interception, one caused fumble and three quarterback pressures.
“Coach Santucci is a great coach and an even better person. He cares about his players and the relationship he builds with them. Coach Santucci has really helped me understand how to play linebacker at a high-level mentality and how to move the most efficient way while playing the position. I feel like I can tell him anything or ask him anything at any time. Coach Santucci is a coach that every player loves to play for.”
** 6-3 Overall, 3-2 ACC
** First four wins of the season were by 20+ points … in three of those opening four wins, Duke only allowed seven points
** One of three schools nationally with all three of its losses coming against Top-25 opponents
** One of 13 schools nationally to have faced four ranked opponents heading into Week 11
** Duke is 5-0 this season when allowing 20 or less points and 4-0 when allowing 10 or less points
** The Blue Devils are 5-1 this season when leading after the third quarter and is outscoring its opponents 109-59 in the second half, including allowing just 16 points in the third quarter
** Duke has relinquished just 141 points on the year and only 11 rushing scores … in ACC play, Duke has allowed just 92 points in five league games with 23 of those points coming off Blue Devil turnovers
** Duke has shut out No. 9 Clemson, Lafayette and NC State in the second half this season and held 8-of-9 opponents to under 25 points, including four to under 10 points
** Finished 4-1 in the month of September
** Holds a winning record this season when forcing one, two, and three turnovers in a game
** Ranks tied for 14th nationally and second in the ACC with two defensive TDs
>> Fumble recovery for a score against Connecticut
>> Interception return for a score against No. 4 Florida State
** Team was picked to finish tied for sixth in the ACC Preseason Poll at the annual ACC Kickoff media event in July
** Duke has made significant jumps from where it was a year ago … below is a chart noting some of the numbers
                                                          National Rank
Statistic (2023 numbers)               2022 2023 Difference
Red Zone Defense (17-26, .654)        98       2  +96
Scoring Defense (15.67)        31       7  +24
Team Passing Efficiency Defense (111.47)        82       12  +70
Passing Yards Allowed (179.33)        104       15  +89
Fourth-Down Conversion Defense (7-20, .350)  26       16  +10
Defensive Yards Per Play Allowed (4.93)        63       20  +43
Total Defense (329.11)                67       27 +40
“Coach Santucci is a player’s coach. From day one, he made it a priority to get to know us and who we are as people before we started talking X’s and O’s. He is hard-working and always over-prepared. Most of all, he loves what he does, and it shows every single day.”
** In eight of Duke’s nine games of 2023, the linebackers unit has led the way in terms of tackles … redshirt sophomore Tre Freeman led the team in tackles on four occasions, including a 15-tackle performance against NC State … senior Dorian Mausi and redshirt sophomore Nick Morris Jr. led the way in three and two games, respectively
** Freeman ranks first on the team and sixth in the ACC with 71 tackles, while Mausi follows closely with 53 tackles … Morris Jr. has added 32 tackles on the year
** Against NC State, Freeman recorded a career-high 15 tackles, to become the first Duke player to register 15-plus tackles in a game since Shaka Heyward (16) against North Carolina A&T on September 10, 2021
** Over his last five outings, Freeman has compiled 50 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one interception, one caused fumble and three quarterback pressures
Duke has only allowed eight plays of 30-plus yards in nine games with the longest pass play being 61 yards, occurring in the Blue Devils’ outing against Wake Forest
Plays of 30+ Yards Allowed This Season
49 vs. Clemson
39 at Connecticut
34 vs. Notre Dame
30 vs. Notre Dame
36 vs. Notre Dame
30 at Florida State
61 vs. Wake Forest
99 at Florida State