|Position:||Co-Defensive Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator [Defense]/DS|
|Alma Mater:||Davidson '11|
Matt Guerrieri joined the staff in July of 2012 and serves as a Co-Defensive Coordinator, mentoring Duke’s defensive secondary. Guerrieri served as a graduate assistant coach with the Blue Devils for his first three seasons before being promoted to assistant coach in January of 2015. Following the 2017 season, he was named Duke’s Co-Defensive Coordinator and added recruiting coordinator duties for the defense.
With Guerrieri on the staff over the past seven seasons, the Blue Devils have compiled 52 wins, captured the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship and made six bowl appearances. Guerrieri coached Duke’s safeties over the past six campaigns, where he aided in the development of Jeremy Cash, a three-time All-America choice, DeVon Edwards, an All-ACC selection in both 2014 and 2015, Jeremy McDuffie, an all-league choice in 2017 and Dylan Singleton, who earned All-ACC accolades in 2018.
In Cash and Edwards, Guerrieri has mentored two of the most decorated players in Duke gridiron history. After earning second team All-America honors in each of his first two seasons at Duke, Cash, the Jim Tatum Award recipient as the ACC’s top football senior student-athlete, became the program’s latest unanimous first team pick as a senior and went on to represent the Blue Devils at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., as well as the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Ind. In addition to earning All-ACC honors in the defensive backfield, Edwards was a three-time All-America choice as a return specialist, an Academic All-America selection and National Scholar-Athlete Award recipient from the National Football Foundation.
The 2018 season saw an injury-riddled Blue Devil team repeatedly bounce back as four starters were lost to season-ending injuries. Guerrieri relied on Singleton, who was playing at a potential All-America level, before fracturing his ankle against North Carolina. Singleton earned honorable mention All-ACC honors after finishing with 73 tackles, 2.0 tackles for lost yardage, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup. The Dacula, Ga., product was tabbed the ACC Defensive Back of the Week after helping Duke to a 40-27 victory at Baylor in the third week of the season.
Guerrieri oversaw three of the team’s top five leading tacklers in 2018 in Singleton, Marquis Waters (68) and Leonard Johnson (59). Johnson, a redshirt freshman, played in all 13 games and started nine for the Blue Devils in 2018. His campaign was highlighted by a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown at Baylor as well as a pair of sacks at Georgia Tech as Duke won 28-14.
The secondary excelled in October and early November as Duke held four consecutive opponents (Miami, Pittsburgh, Virginia and Georgia Tech) to fewer than 200 passing yards, the longest streak for the Blue Devils since five consecutive from September 12-October 10, 2015. It was the first time Duke has accomplished the feat against four consecutive Power 5 programs since October 10-November 7, 2009.
In 2017, Duke’s safeties were instrumental parts of a defense that ranked among the ACC leaders in opponent pass completion percentage (2nd), scoring defense (3rd), pass defense (3rd) and total defense (4th) as the Blue Devils yielded 25 or fewer points in 11 of 13 contests. McDuffie was a third team All-ACC pick and Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist after posting 58 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass breakups while Alonzo Saxton II ranked second on the team with 91 total tackles. Displaying its enhanced depth, Duke’s back end also received significant contributions from Jordan Hayes (50 tackles), Dylan Singleton (42 tackles), Marquis Waters (22 tackles) and Michael Carter II (18 tackles).
The Blue Devils allowed just 20.23 points per game, marking the program’s lowest total since 1977, and surrendered more than 24 points just twice. The Blue Devils limited their final five opponents (Virginia Tech, Army West Point, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Northern Illinois) to 13 total points after intermission and zero in the fourth quarter. Playing in its fifth bowl game in the past six seasons, Duke set or equaled Quick Lane Bowl records for fewest points allowed (14) and fewest rushing yards surrendered (65) as the Blue Devils earned a 36-14 victory over Northern Illinois at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., on December 26, 2017.
Guerrieri’s safety unit was led in 2016 by Deondre Singleton, Corbin McCarthy and Saxton II. The trio finished third, fourth and fifth on the team in tackles as Singleton booked 60, McCarthy 59 and Saxton II 53. Singleton topped Duke with three interceptions, picking off his final one against No. 15 North Carolina in the third quarter. At Notre Dame, Singleton intercepted a DeShone Kizer pass with 5:11 to play and the game tied, 35-35, to set up rookie AJ Reed’s game-winning 19-yard field goal. McCarthy took over at strike safety for Cash, the 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, and led the Blue Devils with 12.0 tackles for lost yardage. When Edwards went down with a career-ending knee injury during the fourth game of the year at Notre Dame, Guerrieri readied Saxton II to take over the starting position and watched him recover a fumble in two of the last seven contests and seal the victory against No. 15 North Carolina with an interception with 1:02 remaining.
The 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Cash finished his Duke career with 336 tackles, 38.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks and six interceptions. As a junior in 2014, he was the only defensive back in the nation to post 100-plus tackles, 10.0-plus tackles for loss and 5.0-plus quarterback sacks and, as a senior, was a finalist for both the Nagurski Trophy (national player of the year) and Thorpe Award (top defensive back in the nation).
Edwards enjoyed another banner season in 2015 by recording 101 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, one interception and six pass breakups while establishing the school single-season record for kickoff returns for touchdowns with three.
As Duke went 9-4 and earned a berth in the 81st Hyundai Sun Bowl in 2014, the Blue Devils ranked among the nation’s leaders in third down defense (15th), pass efficiency defense (23rd) and scoring defense (24th). Both Edwards (7th; 0.38) and Cash (17th; 0.31) ranked among the nation’s top 20 in caused fumbles per game while Edwards placed 19th in the country in solo tackles per game (5.9). In the ACC, Edwards ranked third in total tackles per game (10.23) while Cash was eighth (8.54). Duke’s third starting safety, Singleton, finished the year with 70 tackles and seven pass breakups.
In 2013, the Blue Devils recorded 26 takeaways and their average points allowed in the fourth quarter (4.64) ranked second in the conference, trailing only eventual national champion Florida State. In addition, Duke won all four of its road ACC games by allowing an average of 19.5 points per contest in victories over North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.
Before joining the Blue Devils, Guerrieri served as a defensive graduate assistant coach at Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2011, helping coach the secondary and the outside linebackers. He assisted in guiding the Bears to the 2011 South Atlantic Conference championship and coached safety Michael Green to all-conference and all-region honors.
Guerrieri was a three-year letterman on the gridiron at Davidson College, where he started at safety. He served as senior captain for the Wildcats and was a three-time All-Pioneer Football League Honor Roll selection.
Guerrieri, who graduated from Davidson in 2011 with a degree in sociology, earned a master’s degree in Christian studies from Duke in 2014. He is married to the former Alex Thompson of Asheville, N.C.