‘I Missed Football’

At Duke, lacrosse star Montgomery trying to recapture gridiron glory

At a small private school like ESD, multi-sport athletes are commonplace. At an NCAA Division I university like Duke? They’re rare.

Then again, Nakeie Montgomery is the type of two-way talent who might be able to pull it off. 

Former ESD standout Nakeie Montgomery is back on the football field this fall at Duke University. (Photo: Courtesy Duke Athletics)

Montgomery secured a roster spot in football this fall after spending the past four years as a standout midfielder in lacrosse for the Blue Devils.

He hopes to see action as a running back, the same position where he tallied a school-record 31 touchdowns with the Eagles before graduating in 2017. Several college football programs recruited him, but ultimately he stuck with his commitment to play lacrosse instead.

“I knew I wanted to do it the whole time,” Montgomery told USA Lacrosse Magazine. “I missed football.”

Montgomery has spent the past four seasons as a midfielder for the powerhouse Duke lacrosse team, becoming an All-American and a key contributor on three Final Four teams.

Following a loss to Maryland in the NCAA tournament semifinals in May, Montgomery joined the football team for offseason workouts. The team’s season opener will be Sept. 3 at Charlotte.

Montgomery plans to return to the lacrosse field in the spring to play a fifth season for the Blue Devils, taking advantage of an extra year of eligibility granted to athletes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. After that, he will likely have the option of turning professional — in one sport.

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