"I had to lean to my brothers being my father," Duckworth explains of his childhood. "I lost my father when I was 13 so I had to grow up at an early age anyway. I came up here to play football, but I wasn't able to play my first year so I had to work. The money I made when I was working I had to pay for school, I had to pay for me to eat and where I stayed at, then send money back home because my mom is disabled. A couple of years ago she passed away and everything that happened made me stronger as a person and as a player. I use all of that as motivation.
"I know some people would say, ‘You had all of this stuff happen to you. Why didn't you just quit?' That's not me," Duckworth adds. "That wasn't instilled into me. It was instilled into me to go out and be the best that you can. By me doing that it made me a better player.
"By having teammates come talk to you like Ben (Grubbs), J.P. (Jonathan Palmer) and all of those guys and even guys from back like Marcus McNeill and Troy Reddick. Those guys looked out for me when I was down in a slump, didn't know what I was going to do and when I was going through that with not qualifying."
Reddick, who was a senior in 2005 and also lost his parents during childhood, was able to relate to what Duckworth was going through.
"When I finally figured out that Troy lost his parents at an early age I just kind of clicked to him because that's somebody I know who I can relate to," Duckworth says. "It's been ongoing since then. Me and Troy may talk three or four times a week just because we're cool like that. I didn't even know it my freshman year. I just thought he was some old dude coming in trying to play football, but he's been my friend ever since and that will never change. I can call him any time and talk to him like he never departed."
Duckworth and the Tigers are the only team to beat two teams that made it into the BCS this season.
It was undeniably a tough road for the 6-4, 320-pound lineman, but through thick in and thin with not qualifying, moving from defense to offense, losing his parents to developing into an All-SEC player, Duckworth says that he's always going to see everything as motivation for the future.
"When I look back on it I'm going to look positively on it," he notes. "I'm always going to remember what I had to go through to get here and that's never going to wear, and that's never going to let me wear down with what I've been through to get to where I am right now. I know that if I don't strive to be the best that I can it's going to be all done for nothing.
"I'm a firm believer in God and I know when I was going through that stuff I had to lean and depend on him a whole lot. By me not pulling my end of the bargain is like me cutting God short, and I know he wouldn't ever cut me short so I shouldn't cut him short."
Now as a part of a program that has been arch-rival Alabama five straight years, has won an SEC championship and shared another West title in the last three years and is one of the winningest in college football during that stretch, Duckworth and the senior class have accomplished about as much as any to come through Auburn.
"Hopefully we can remember it as a big success," he explains. "We've done a lot since I've been here and have been playing on this line. I just want to go out in a bang and leave this team in the state of going up and not just falling back down because we lost a bowl game."