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8 DAYS TO 2018 KICKOFF: Duke Shelley

In which BracketCat counts down the eighth day until the 2018 kickoff with a profile of defensive back Duke Shelley.

#8 Duke Shelley
Duke Shelley (8) has had a stellar career thus far at K-State. Here’s hoping his senior season is his best!
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images


#8 Duke Shelley

True Senior | 5-9 | 180 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 mainstay at cornerback — he has started 30 games over the past three seasons — who is looking to end his career on a high note and will maintain his starting spot while helping to tutor younger secondary players.

He enters his senior season tied for fourth in school history in career interception-return touchdowns (with two) and has been voted a team co-captain for the 2018 season.

Shelley originally was expected to redshirt during the 2015 season until he was pressed into starting duties. He 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.

Shelley 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.

He had four passes defended against West Virginia, the most nationally by a freshman during the 2015 season and the most by a K-State freshman since at least 1990.

Shelley set a career high with seven tackles at Texas Tech, while he had six tackles and his first two pass breakups against Oklahoma.

He then started the 2016 season by earning preseason All-Big 12 honors from Athlon and being named to the preseason Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list, but ultimately was upstaged both statistically and in media attention by newcomer cornerback D.J. Reed.

That year, 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 and also had an interception the week prior at Iowa State, in addition to one at Oklahoma.

He set a new 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.

Shelley entered 2017 on the preseason watch list again for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

He started all 12 of his games played, ranking fourth in the Big 12 Conference with 13 passes defended en route to honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades from the league’s coaches and third-team accolades from Phil Steele.

Shelley finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles to go along with four tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

He tallied the second pick-six of his career and carded three total passes defended at Texas Tech as he earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week accolades.

Shelley recorded a season-high seven tackles at both Texas and Kansas, also had two pass breakups against the Jayhawks, and finally registered his first career sack in the season opener against Central Arkansas.

Entering the 2018 season, he once again is a preseason candidate for the Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding defensive player for a third straight season. It is the first time in school history a Wildcat has been up for the Nagurski Trophy three times in a career.

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 was 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.