November 30, 2011

Film Vault: Dukes is the real deal

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One of the fastest rising junior prospects in the state of Ohio right now is Columbus Marion-Franklin wide receiver Jaron Dukes. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound prospect turned in a huge performance this past Friday in a 47-44 loss to Trotwood-Madison in the state semi-finals. In the game, Dukes hauled in six receptions for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. While the game was a coming out party of sorts, Dukes has already been hearing from several college programs.

"I get a lot of mail from a lot of colleges," he explained. "Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan State, Boston College, Ohio State, Toledo, Syracuse, that's about all I can think of right now."

The school showing the most interest so far has been Ohio State, Dukes has already been in contact with the coaching staff and has been to multiple games this fall.

"I've talked to the wide receivers coach (Stan Drayton)," Dukes said. "I've been to Ohio State games against Wisconsin and Michigan State. I loved (the atmosphere). I would love to be a part of it."

Interestingly enough, it is Ohio State's archrival that Dukes grew up rooting for, though he says the Buckeyes have also been growing on him lately.

"I actually grew up liking Michigan," he said. "I like Michigan and Ohio State, really I just love football. When it came down to it, I always chose Michigan. I don't know I guess I just always wanted to be the outcast when I was younger. I'm still a big Michigan fan but I've grown a lot of love for Ohio State."

On the field, Dukes uses his big body and long arms to make tough catches in traffic and right now he's working on continuing to get faster.

"My strengths are probably reading the defensive backs and just being able to concentrate on the ball and catch it," he explained. "I'm working on my speed."

Coming from a basketball background, Dukes says his time on the hardwood has definitely helped him out on the football field.

"Basketball really helps with my foot work," he said. "Just the drop steps and everything, I think it helps me with my routes a lot."

Now in his third year in the program, Dukes benefitted from some excellent mentors during his first two seasons on the Marion-Franklin football team in current Ohio State receiver Verlon Reed and current Kent State receiver Jeremy McCoy.

"When I was a freshman I saw that every route (McCoy) ran, he ran it hard," Dukes explained. "I talk to Verlon Reed a lot and he helps me a lot. He tells me about my planting and breaking off my routes."

Dukes will be one of the biggest risers when the next Ohio class of 2013 rankings are released on


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