Georgia Bulldogs: Detric Dukes

UGA position groups to improve: No. 5

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
9:00
AM ET
Georgia doesn't open spring practice until March 18, so we'll use the next few weeks to look ahead to those all-important workouts and preview what to watch once the Bulldogs get started.

We begin today with the first installment in a series where we examine five position groups with room to improve. Today's first group is Georgia's inside linebackers.

5. Inside linebackers

[+] EnlargeJosh Harvey-Clemons, Connor Shaw
AP Photo/John BazemoreAmarlo Herrera (pictured) and Ramik Wilson performed well at inside linebacker for Georgia, but the duo could use some help from their younger teammates.
Battling for No. 1: Since rising seniors Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera -- players who ranked first and third in the SEC with 133 and 112 tackles, respectively -- return, the starting lineup is probably set. In his first season as a starter, Wilson posted one of the biggest tackle totals in program history, while Herrera won the team's defensive MVP award after the season. The duo played nearly every significant down on defense, hence the big tackle totals, but they could stand to perform a bit more consistently -- particularly in pass coverage. Neither player wants to come off the field, but Georgia would benefit from younger players proving they deserve some playing time and alleviating the physical burden on Wilson and Herrera.

Strength in numbers: This will be an interesting group to watch this spring as the depth chart continues to evolve behind the seniors. Georgia signed a big group of inside linebackers last season, but their contributions were largely limited to special teams. Reggie Carter (one start, eight tackles, 0.5 tackles for a loss) made the biggest splash early before undergoing knee surgery, which knocked him out of the lineup for the last five games of the regular season. The other freshmen who played -- Tim Kimbrough (11 games, five tackles, one TFL), Johnny O'Neal (eight games, four tackles) and Ryne Rankin (seven games, five tackles) -- and special teams ace Kosta Vavlas (13 games, 11 tackles) barely made an impact on scrimmage downs. With a new position coach, Mike Ekeler, joining the staff to work with this group, spring will be a valuable time for Ekeler to familiarize himself with his players and begin determining who is equipped to play a bigger role in the fall.

New on the scene: After signing four inside linebackers last year -- plus a safety in Paris Bostick who converted to the position last year -- ILB wasn't a terribly high priority in this recruiting cycle. Bostick is coming off a redshirt season and will add to the depth this season, plus the Bulldogs' only inside linebacker signee, Detric Dukes, should join the team over the summer. It wouldn't be a big surprise to see Dukes redshirt in the fall. Georgia's departed coaches liked what Bostick brought to the table at his new position, so he might be a player to watch in the future.
Georgia has another top-10 class lined up for national signing day, but its final ranking next week could rise or fall depending on how the Bulldogs finish within their own state -- particularly whether they land their top remaining target, Lorenzo Carter.

As it stands, the Bulldogs have commitments from two of the top six players from Georgia, but that's it among the Peach State's collection of elite prospects. Heavily recruited players such as linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Ohio State) and quarterback Deshaun Watson (Clemson) were among those who checked out Georgia before committing elsewhere.

Mark Richt's staff still has a chance to finish on a strong note, however.

[+] EnlargeLorenzo Carter
Miller Safrit/ESPNLorenzo Carter is the top remaining recruiting target for Georgia.
The Bulldogs seem to be in good shape to land five-star defensive end Carter (ESPN's No. 14 overall prospect and No. 3 player at his position). Other targets such as ESPN 300 prospect Wesley Green (No. 120 overall, No. 13 cornerback, uncommitted), Bryson Allen-Williams (No. 162 overall, No. 10 outside linebacker, committed to South Carolina) and Andrew Williams (No. 174 overall, No. 17 defensive end, uncommitted) are among those lurking as possible final members of the class.

Otherwise, this recruiting class -- one that could be slightly smaller than normal -- adequately addresses Georgia's immediate needs. Let's look at how Georgia addressed some of those positions:

Secondary: Georgia's weakest position segment last season could use some immediate help -- and it will get it in cornerbacks Shattle Fenteng (No. 3 overall prospect, top cornerback on ESPN's Junior College 50) and Malkom Parrish (No. 77 overall, No. 10 athlete). Georgia recently added three-star athlete Dominick Sanders at corner. Green -- who is scheduled to join Carter and others on a visit to Athens this weekend -- and three-star athletes T.J. Harrell and Tavon Ross remain as targets.

The possible shortcoming here is that safety was an inconsistent position for Georgia last season and the Bulldogs have only three-star prospect Kendall Gant lined up so far.

With Josh Harvey-Clemons suspended to open the season, senior Corey Moore, rising sophomore Quincy Mauger and oft-injured Tray Matthews might be the only early options, but keep an eye on Harrell and Ross between now and signing day.

Running back: With Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall entering their third seasons on campus, Georgia needed insurance policies at tailback.

The Bulldogs locked that up in a big way with the current headliners in this class, Sony Michel (No. 19 overall, No. 2 running back) and Nick Chubb (No. 63 overall, No. 7 running back). It will be interesting to see how Richt's staff juggles a glut of talented ball carriers just a year after injuries to Gurley and Marshall created depth problems.

Tight end: With Ty Flournoy-Smith getting kicked off the team last summer and Arthur Lynch exhausting his eligibility in the fall, Georgia had a need at tight end. Jeb Blazevich (No. 101 overall, No. 2 tight end/H) could become Georgia's next great pass-catching tight end thanks to an impressive combination of size (6-foot-5) and soft hands.

Offensive line: Replenishing the line of scrimmage is always a priority, and with Georgia losing starting guards Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee, signing a top prospect such as Isaiah Wynn (No. 106 overall, No. 6 guard) will be particularly valuable. The Bulldogs are also set to sign four-star tackle Dyshon Sims and three-star prospects Kendall Baker and Jake Edwards.

Receiver: Georgia has plenty of bodies here for 2014, but Chris Conley, Michael Bennett, Jonathon Rumph and Michael Erdman will each be seniors and Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell will be fourth-year juniors.

The Bulldogs have secured commitments from ESPN 300 member Shakenneth Williams (No. 297 overall, No. 45 receiver) and three-star prospect Gilbert Johnson. They also are set to re-sign Rico Johnson, who failed to qualify after signing with the Bulldogs last February.

Defensive line/outside linebacker: Keep an eye on this group for the future. If Georgia lands Carter to go along with already-committed Lamont Gaillard (No. 55 overall, No. 4 defensive tackle), that could be the foundation for some outstanding defensive lines in the next couple of seasons.

The Bulldogs return almost everyone along the line from last season, so it is not a glaring immediate need. The 2014 line will be stocked with fourth-year players, though, so this is a good time to restock the depth charts for the future. They already have a commitment from the versatile Keyon Brown (No. 185 overall, No. 19 defensive end), with Carter and Williams potentially joining him. Like Brown, three-star outside linebacker Detric Dukes brings some versatility to the crop of commitments along the line.

Georgia's coaches never gave up on Allen-Williams even after his commitment to South Carolina in April. He insists he will still sign with the Gamecocks, but plans to visit Georgia with Carter and the others this weekend. Stay tuned.

Critical positions in SEC recruiting 

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
8:00
AM ET


Each year college coaches prioritize their recruiting needs. Whether it's offensive or defensive linemen or skilled positions, there always seems to be an area that needs more attention than others. Here's a closer look at the most important position for each SEC team in recruiting this year.

Summer Recruit Wrap: Georgia 

July, 23, 2013
7/23/13
9:00
AM ET
 

With the camp season over and the fall season rapidly approaching, DawgNation takes a look back at the biggest recruiting news of the summer.

[+] EnlargeSony Michel
Davide De Pas/ESPN.comClass of 2014 RB Sony Michel is one of the many big names in Georgia's class.
1. Summer has been very, very good to Georgia
Heading into June, Georgia had five commitments, after going without one in May. Some analysts had pegged the Bulldogs as being off to a slow start for 2014, but with a class of 33 in 2013, Georgia has had to be very selective with this class. Even with a decommitment last week, the Bulldogs have added 12 commitments in June and July, headlined by the additions of five-star defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) and ESPN 300 athlete Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County). As August approaches, Georgia can realistically pick and choose to fill its remaining spots.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ATHENS, Ga. -- The annual Dawg Night recruiting camp at the University of Georgia always draws some of the region’s most coveted prospects. This year was no different, and four of them decided to become Bulldogs. But what of the other recruits that have offers or earned new ones? Here are a load of updates and scoop from this year’s Dawg Night camp.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Analysis: Dukes fits role at ILB 

June, 23, 2013
6/23/13
7:29
PM ET
video
ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia coaching staff is using new technology to pull in old-school football players. Messages on Facebook and Twitter as well as the tried-and-true handwritten letters are helping the staff cast its nets where the fish are, so to speak. But the new techniques do not reflect a change in the targets themselves. Georgia wants hard-nosed, tough players and it got that in new Bulldogs commit Detric Dukes (Tucker, Ga./Tucker).


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Georgia’s recruiting momentum has grown so strong now that it is even sweeping up prospects committed to other schools. After landing five recruits in a span of seven days, the Bulldogs have not slowed down at all and now have another commitment.

Linebacker Detric Dukes (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) has dropped his commitment to Louisville and is now committed to Georgia.

"I committed to Georgia," Dukes said. "It has always been a program I wanted to go to because it is close to home, they have great tradition and great academics, so it was hard to turn down the offer to play for them. It feels great to be a Dawg and I am done with visits."

Dukes visited Athens last Saturday with his family and picked up an offer that afternoon. He waited until after work on Wednesday to call the Louisville coaches, and then he called Bulldogs coach Mark Richt with the good news. Dukes knew shortly after he left Athens that he wanted to be a Bulldog.

"I knew where I wanted to go, but this is a long process so I needed to sit down with my family and discuss my decision," Dukes said. "When I told my mom and dad that was my choice for the next four years, they were behind me 100 percent."


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Spring recruiting recap 

June, 21, 2013
6/21/13
9:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- When the spring evaluation period started on April 15, the Georgia Bulldogs trailed most of the other teams in the SEC with only three commitments. By the time the period ended on May 31, Georgia had picked up two more and was poised to have a big June. But no one knew that the first camp of the year would see the Bulldogs double their class.

NEW COMMITS

Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian)
Committed: April 23



To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

With the University of Georgia staff on hand, 14 high school teams from Georgia and Florida fought off stormy weather to take part in the first session of the Mark Richt 7-on-7 tournament. DawgNation was on hand to watch, and here are five things we took from the event.

Top WR in town


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Spring evaluations: Possible new offers 

April, 30, 2013
4/30/13
10:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- In week three of the spring evaluation period, we decided to take a look at some of the prospects that could pick up an offer from Georgia some time soon. The Bulldogs’ coaching staff already has offered offensive tackles Drew Richmond (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University School) and Brian Wallace (St. Louis, Mo./Christian Brothers College), as well as defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) in the first two weeks of the period.

With spring football starting up all over the south in the coming weeks, here are some players to watch.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

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.

[+] EnlargeDetric Dukes
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.com Tucker, Ga., LB Detric Dukes is making a gradual move from DE to Sam linebacker this season.
“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.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Many of the invitations to the 2012 Georgia Junior Bowl game will not go out until October or November, but 17 players earned a spot April 29 by competing in the new Rising Seniors West and East Football Camp.

Rising Seniors co-founder Joe Burns held a three-stage camp at Tri-Cities High School in Atlanta for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Seventeen sophomores were chosen by Burns and his instructors as top performers and were invited to the Rising Seniors experience.

[+] EnlargeJaquan Simpkins, Brooks Barden, Jonathan Slaton
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comFrom left, sophomores Jaquan Simpkins, Brooks Barden and Jonathan Slaton weren't selected while playing against fellow sophomores, but they wound up being selected later, after competing against older players.
The 2012 Rising Seniors program will culminate with the Georgia Junior Bowl, a game featuring 100 of the Peach State's top collegiate prospects split into two teams, an East squad and a West squad. Last year’s roster included such highly recruited players as Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn), Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County), Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) all played in last year's game. Recruiting for Adams and Lawson skyrocketed after their individual performances in the game. They were not the only ones, as 64 of last year's participants have been offered FBS-level scholarships, and more will likely pick up offers during the summer.

"The biggest problem we have had over the last two years is hearing about a kid that should have been in our game but we didn't know about him until it was too late," Burns said. "So this year we held a camp to let the kids receive some professional instruction, hear a positive message and earn their way into the camp. We picked some guys that really fought for it."

Wide receiver Terry Googer (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy) was among the prospects who came to the camp to earn a highly coveted invitation.

“I have been training for this ever since last year when I watched it,” Googer said. “I really wanted to be in it. When they called my name I was ecstatic. It made my day perfect.”

Heading into the camp, Googer did not have any offers. He quickly picked up five after being selected, from schools including South Carolina and Mississippi State.

Running back Sedrick Palmer (McDonough, Ga./Henry County) also came to the camp focused on picking up an invitation and went home pleased.

“I was real proud,” Palmer said. “I felt like all my hard work had paid off. The minute they called my name all I could do was thank God. It was all I could think about.”

Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) was a quick choice among the camp instructors to be included in the game as a defensive end. Despite a slow start, Sawyer made a big impression.

“I was nervous at first but I did my work,” Sawyer said. “I came in and competed and did what I needed to do to get into this game. I knew ahead of time what it would take. I am very excited. We had a tough defensive line group, but it all came down to who wanted to compete.”

Trent Jenkins (Norcross, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) was also in the defensive line group and he wanted to compete. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound sophomore was a unanimous choice to be invited to the game.

“I did what I was coached to do,” Jenkins said. “I am extremely excited for this -- I can’t wait. I am looking forward to this helping me to get to college.”

Other players selected for the game:

  • Wide receiver -- Keegan Karim (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison)

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

UGA OL could be a mismatch for Georgia Tech
SEC Now previewed this weekend's matchup between Georgia and Georgia Tech.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 11/27
Friday, 11/28
Saturday, 11/29