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Duke quarterback Brandon Connette will transfer to a West Coast school, according to Duke University. Connette, a rising redshirt senior from Corona, Calf., was responsible for a school-record 27 touchdowns last season.
Connettes desire to transfer stems from wanting to be closer to his family. His mother, Nancy Connette, had emergency brain surgery on Dec. 12 to remove a tumor and continues to fight what the family has said is stage 4 malignant cancer. She is recovering and was well enough to travel to the Duke spring game on March 1. Connette comes from a large family he has one older sister and five younger brothers. One brother, Simon, is a safety at San Jose State.
Connette was granted a leave of absence from the team during practice leading up to the Dec. 31st Chick-fil-A bowl vs. Texas A&M. He rejoined the team in Atlanta on Christmas night and considered a transfer in January, a source said on Wednesday. Connette has graduated, so he would be eligible to play at any school next season.
Connette and fellow redshirt senior quarterback Anthony Boone led Duke to a 10-4 record last season and a Coastal Division championship. When Boone broke his collarbone in the second game against Memphis, Connette took over the starting role for three games. After Boone returned for the game against Navy, the two shared quarterback duties.
Connette directed game-winning drives in the fourth quarter against Memphis, Virginia and N.C. State. He finished the year with a 62.1 completion percentage (90-of-145) with 1,212 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 337 yards on 101 carries, with 14 touchdowns second to only Boston Colleges Andre Williams in the ACC.
Connette showed enough promise at quarterback that the coaching staff opted to have him take reps exclusively at that position during spring practice (during his junior year, Connette lined up at quarterback, running back, tight end wide receiver and even safety). Without him, Boone will be the undisputed starter, with redshirt sophomore Thomas Sirk moving into the backup role. Sirk was scheduled to be the backup quarterback for the 2013 season before he missed the year with an Achilles injury.
Duke also returns redshirt freshman quarterback Parker Boehme and brings in highly touted freshman Nico Pierre.