Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (2024)

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (1)

Ryan Haley

July 3, 2024 8:00 am ET

It’s undoubtedly been a great season to be a Blue Devil.

The Duke football team won eight games for the second season in a row, including a Birmingham Bowl triumph over Troy. The men’s basketball team hit a speed bump in the ACC Tournament but found a way to upset No. 1 Houston to reach the Elite Eight, and the women’s basketball team upset Ohio State to reach the Sweet 16 as a 7-seed.

On the diamond, the baseball team won the ACC Tournament in dominant fashion and the softball team reached the Women’s College World Series for the first time in school history. A lacrosse player even got drafted with the No. 1 pick in the Premier Lacrosse League!

It’s impossible to distill such a successful season down to a handful of athletes, but here are the 15 best Blue Devils athletes from the last year on the athletic calendar.

15

DeWayne Carter

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (2)

Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

One of two Duke linemen selected to the First-Team All-ACC squad this past season, Carter only tallied one sack after he racked up a combined 10 between 2022 and 2023. However, he set a career-high with 41 total tackles, and his 25 total pressures were the third-most of any player on the team.

14

Emma McMyler

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (3)

John Meore/The Journal News/USA TODAY Network

One of two women’s golfers to make the All-ACC squad, McMyler finished the season with a 71.67 scoring average and 15 rounds of even-par or better. She finished in the top 10 twice, most notably a tie for fourth at the Windy City Collegiate when she played the final two rounds in 8-under, and she finished inside the top 20 in two other tournaments. Both Golfweek and the Women’s Golf Coaches Association tabbed her as an Honorable Mention on their All-American squads.

13

Jeremy Roach

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (4)

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The only player present for both the Final Four run in 2022 and the Elite Eight run in 2024, Roach’s veteran presence both in the locker room and on the court couldn’t be overstated. He finished on the All-ACC Third Team after he averaged 14.0 points and 3.3 assists per game, both career-highs. He also hovered close to 45% from 3-point range for much of the year before finishing with a 42.9% mark, and he scored at least 13 points in all four NCAA Tournament games.

12

Graham Barton

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (5)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

One of Duke’s two first-round picks in the two biggest professional drafts on the calendar, the Blue Devils’ star left tackle would probably be higher if he played more than nine games last season. The newest Tampa Bay Buccaneers center earned a PFF grade of 75.9 and a pass-blocking grade of 78.2, and he’s only credited with two sacks and nine hurries allowed across 258 pass-blocking snaps.

11

Charlie Beilenson

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (6)

Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports

Duke’s trusty closer trotted out to the mound in 34 different games, and he slammed the door for 12 saves and seven wins for the season. He struck out 92 batters in 62.2 innings, good enough for a nine-inning split of 13.2, and he only gave up 59 combined hits and walks. On top of that, only 34.1% of his hits went for multiple bases.

10

Josh Zawada

HAVE A DAY, @zawada_josh!

4 goals, 2 assists 🔥#GoDuke pic.twitter.com/NQwYOKmEvO

— Duke Men’s Lacrosse (@DukeMLAX) March 3, 2024

Zawada, unfortunately for his personal publicity and other lacrosse programs, played alongside one of the most exciting players in the country to form a nightmarish duo, but he still found a way to get his. The in-state talent ended the year with 45 assists in 19 games, and his 78 points were the second-most of any Blue Devil. He popped on film constantly, registering at least six points in seven of those 19 performances, and he put eight points on the board against both Utah and Bellarmine.

9

Aminah Vega

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (7)

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

If it wasn’t for another name higher up on this list, Vega would have drawn more attention for having one of the best offensive seasons in school history as a sophom*ore. She finished with a batting average of .369, the third-highest on the team, and her 18 doubles surpassed the previous program record. She also hit 12 home runs and drove in 52 runs, both the second-most on the squad, and she won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award on the other side of the ball.

8

Jared McCain

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (8)

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Undoubtedly the most popular athlete on campus, McCain’s form over the final 25 games of the season would give him a stronger argument for the top three or four spots on this list. His 35-point game against Florida State in the regular season and his 30-point game against James Madison in the second round of March Madness provided the two most electric stretches of the season across any sport, and he now shares the school records for most points by a freshman in a regular-season game and an NCAA Tournament game.

7

Cassidy Curd

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (9)

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Senior teammate Jala Wright paced the ACC in pitching accolades, but Curd actually ended up with the best ERA on Duke’s team. The sophom*ore averaged 8.5 strikeouts per seven innings en route to a 13-4 record and a 1.31 ERA. On top of her impressive body of work, her Super Regional performance should go down as one of the most impressive weekends in program history. Across the three-game series against Missouri, Curd struck out 16 batters and allowed just seven hits and two earned runs to help Duke win its first Super Regional series ever.

6

Ben Miller

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (10)

Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports

Six different Duke batters put at least 10 doubles and home runs apiece on the board this season, but few did so in more impressive fashion than Miller. His .360 batting average led all Blue Devils with at least 20 at-bats, and no player on the roster finished with more extra-base hits (34). The combination of consistently reaching base and consistently raking his way into scoring position resulted in a First-Team All-ACC selection and a team-high .645 slugging percentage.

5

Zac Morris

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (11)

Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports

The second of two Duke sluggers to make this list, Morris and Miller spent much of the season trying to one-up each other on the stat sheet. Morris mashed a team-leading 18 home runs, including a trio of two-homer games, and reeled home 59 RBIs. He finished the year with 154 total bases, seven more than any other player on the roster, and he was one of two Blue Devils with 10 home runs, 10 doubles, and two triples this season. He even drew 39 walks to finish the season with an on-base percentage of 0.439.

4

Kyle Filipowski

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (12)

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

No athlete entered the 2023-24 calendar with more expectations on campus than Filipowski, and despite McCain’s fireworks stealing the show at times, the sophom*ore 7-footer largely delivered on the promise. After winning ACC Rookie of the Year honors last season, Filipowski averaged 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game en route to a spot on the Second Team All-American squad. He also rounded himself out as a prospect with 2.8 assists per game and a 35% hit rate from beyond the arc, skills he now hopes to show off with the Utah Jazz in the NBA.

3

Jala Wright

🗣️ Slayyyy-laaaaaa! 👑 pic.twitter.com/CYGam14OMi

— Duke Softball (@DukeSOFTBALL) June 26, 2024

The ACC Pitcher of the Year got her senior season off to a torrid start after she didn’t surrender an earned run in eight of her first 11 appearances. She took home multiple Pitcher of the Week honors and went the distance for eight complete games. She also set a school record with 17 strikeouts against Boston College in the ACC Tournament, one of three games with at least 14 Ks.

2

Brennan O'Neill

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (13)

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 pick in the Premier Lacrosse League draft ended the Duke season with a team-high 81 points thanks to a well-rounded offensive game. His 54 goals and 27 assists both registered as the second-most on the roster, and he finished with at least six points in five different games. The Denver Outlaws probably turned off the tape after his six-goal game against Saint Joseph’s in February and knew they had the best player in the country.

1

Claire Davidson

Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (14)

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of Duke athletes earned all-conference honors throughout the 2023-24 season, but none of them rewrote the program record book quite like Davidson. The ACC Player of the Year batted in 67 runs and rattled off 20 doubles, both single-season school records, and her 18 home runs came up one shy of tying teammate Ana Gold’s record from a season ago. With 40 extra-base hits against just 24 strikeouts, Davidson was a force of nature.

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Ranking the 15 best Duke athletes from the 2023-24 athletic year (2024)

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