Darian “Duce” Chestnut has the potential to be a game changer on the defensive side of the ball. The freshman from Camden, New Jersey has electric speed and multi-positional ability (13 career special teams touchdowns in high school). However, he is stepping into a crowded room of defensive backs. Chestnut has real potential, but we have to temper our expectations.
Recency bias causes some massive slants, and most people want to compare Chestnut to Andre Cisco. However, Cisco caught seven interceptions in his freshman season, tied for the most in the nation. That’s unreal. Duce can be a ball hawk (three picks in his senior season of high school), but leading college football? Let’s not put that kind of pressure on him.
One might say the better comparison would be Trill Williams, if we’re talking recency bias. Chestnut, à la Williams, is a corner by trade, not a safety. And they are similar in terms of measureables. Williams was 6-foot-2, 198 pounds, and Chestnut is 6-foot, 195.
In Williams’ freshman season, he played in 12 of 13 games, recording 31 total tackles. Trill also snagged two picks, broke up two passes and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Could we see the same from Duce Chestnut? SU fans would hope so. He might not be CB2 or an all-ACC player immediately, but he’ll have time to grow into that role in Tony White’s defense. The 3-3-5 will give Chestnut ample opportunity to get early playing time, and hopefully he and Garrett Williams will turn into a top corner tandem in the ACC.