FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The rule in most 7-on-7 tournaments is that the runner is down when tagged by a defender. There is no tackling or knocking to the ground. Such a concept is hard for linebacker Detric Dukes (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) to swallow.
“I am just trying to be physical,” Dukes said. “That is the only thing I know how to do.”
At the Flowery Branch High School 7-on-7 tournament last weekend, Dukes was having a hard time following the rules. He was twice called for pass interference for being overly aggressive in coverage. His coach, Bryan Lamar, says such calls are part of the learning process.
“He had been playing defensive end and a little bit at linebacker last year but this year we are playing him primarily at linebacker to let him get comfortable,” Lamar said. “We are just going to let him go. We run a 3-3, so he will be more of an outside linebacker. He will play strong side for us.”
Dukes is excited about the position change.
“This year I will be blitzing off the edge and sometimes I will cover the flats,” Dukes said. “I have been going to a few camps and just working hard. I went to Clemson and that was real nice. The coaches said to keep working on my drops in coverage, but other than that I did well up there.”
The camp circuit has been productive so far. At the Rising Seniors camp in Atlanta, Dukes picked up one of the coveted spots in the Rising Seniors Bowl played in December. Lamar was not surprised that Dukes was invited.
“Detric is going to be a good player for us,” Lamar said. “He is coming into his junior year with great size and he is very strong. He is physical, so look for a big year from him. A Tucker kid is a special kid to coach. A Tucker kid is going to play hard and wants to be coached hard and compete.”
And a Tucker player is also likely be heavily recruited as the Tigers produce highly ranked players every year. Dukes is already receiving interest from regional schools.
“Right now I am hearing from Clemson and I am getting letters from Florida and Vanderbilt,” Dukes said.