Manning junior Phillip Dukes sports an impressive list of offers, the first of which came from Clemson.
The soft-spoken, Scout.com four-star, No. 14 ranked defensive tackle named his other offers during the CUTigers on location interview at Manning. South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Michigan, Stanford, Duke and LSU have all sent theirs in too.
"At first, I didn't think I would have anything like this," Dukes said. "I didn't really want to play football, I wanted to play basketball. In my ninth grade year, I started in football and that changed my mind."
He's has played every position up and down the defensive line and some on the offensive line for the Monarchs.
Manning coach Robbie Briggs believes Dukes is one of the top five players to come through the traditionally strong high school. In the last recruiting cycle, John Fulton and Dexter Morant signed with Alabama and Georgia, respectively.
"I still think he can get better," Briggs said of Dukes. "He's a very unselfish player and runs extremely well for his size. He's very athletic for his size."
Dukes finished fourth in the shot put and discus at the state track meet last weekend. During basketball season, he averaged about 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots a game.
For all the athletic gifts, Briggs sees something better in Dukes.
"His greatest quality is that he's humble," Briggs said.
Last fall, Dukes attended the Clemson/Florida State game, the Georgia/South Carolina game and several games in Columbia. During the spring, he saw the Orange and White spring game at Clemson and the A-Day game at Alabama.
"All the schools showed me a good time. I got to hang out with the players and the coaches," Dukes said.
Defensive ends coach Chris Rumph is Dukes' main recruiter at Clemson.
"He tells me I can come in and start early and tells me to keep my grades up, work hard, finish up hard and stay focused—be a leader," Dukes said.
Early playing time isn't on the agenda of traits that he's looking for with a school.
"I want to go to a place where I can get a good education and make the best for myself," Dukes said.
If he had to name five destinations for official visits this fall, Dukes said they would be Clemson, Florida, LSU, Georgia and South Carolina.
He's yet to visit Florida or LSU, but he plans to do so this summer.
"I just want to see how they're like. When I watch them on TV on Saturday nights (I like what I see)," Dukes said.
CUTigers asked, do you have any kind of a timeframe you want to take with the recruiting process?
"Most likely it's going to be at the Under Armour game," Dukes said.
As a junior, Dukes had 50 tackles, 10 sacks two fumble recoveries, one of which he returned for a touchdown. During his sophomore season, he made over 70 tackles and 12 sacks.
Phillip Dukes at Manning High School Monday afternoon.