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8 MINUS 5 DAYS TO 2017 KICKOFF: Duke Shelley

In which BracketCat counts down the eighth day until the 2017 kickoff with a profile of defensive back Duke Shelley.

#8 Duke Shelley
Duke Shelley (8) has had a very good pair of seasons to start off his career, although minor injuries have been a concern. Hopefully, he can stay healthy this year and earn co-star status with D.J. Reed.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports


#8 Duke Shelley

True Junior | 5-9 | 178 lbs. | Tucker, Georgia
Duke Shelley
Duke Shelley
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Defensive Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

YaQuis Bertron “Duke” Shelley II (b. Oct. 8, 1996) is a dynamic, young defensive back who has played a prominent role on defense during his first two years in the program.

He will look to bounce back from a minor injury, retain his starting spot at cornerback and improve his statistical production as a junior in 2017.

Shelley originally was expected to redshirt in the 2015 season until he was pressed into starting duties. He then entered last season after earning preseason All-Big 12 honors from Athlon and being named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, but ultimately was upstaged statistically and in media attention by newcomer cornerback D.J. Reed.

Shelley played in each of the final eight regular-season games in 2015, starting each contest, and became the first K-State true freshman to start at cornerback since 2006.

He totaled 28 tackles — all solo stops — with a tackle for loss, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble, and his seven breakups were the most by a K-State freshman since Jerametrius Butler in 1998.

Shelley had four passes defended against West Virginia, the most nationally by a freshman during the 2015 season and the most by a Wildcats freshman since at least 1990, and he set a career high with seven tackles at Texas Tech, while he had six tackles and his first two pass breakups against Oklahoma.

Last season, Shelley played in 11 games with 10 starts, totaling 48 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups. He ranked seventh in the Big 12 in interceptions, while he was fourth in conference-only games (all three picks came against Big 12 foes).

Shelley tallied a 29-yard pick-six against Oklahoma State; had an interception the week prior at Iowa State, in addition to one at Oklahoma; set a career high with nine tackles against Texas Tech, while he had eight at Baylor and seven — including a tackle for loss — against Florida Atlantic; and recorded a breakup on a deep pass into the end zone against Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl.

This talented defensive back from Tucker High School was part of Andre Coleman’s first major recruiting haul in Georgia.

A three-year letter-winner for the Tigers under head coach Bryan Lamar, Shelley helped to lead Tucker to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the state playoffs.

He was viewed as the 22nd-best cornerback nationally by Rivals and ranked 33rd by ESPN, and also named one of the top 250 recruits in the Class of 2015 by Rivals.

An honorable mention all-state selection by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2014, Shelley was named to the Georgia High School Association All-Region 2-AAAAAA team.

He recorded two interceptions and scored three touchdowns on special teams returns as a senior, and also had six interceptions as a junior.

Shelley then was invited to play in the Florida vs. Georgia High School All-Star Game.