Mikhail Dubose (pronounced "Me-Ky-El"), is a defensive end from Chicago Hubbard High School. With good size at 6'3" and 240 pounds, he is a tough player for opponents to handle. His statistics this past season are a good indication of his ability and relentless motor.
"I did pretty good," Dubose summarizes. "I had 89 tackles, 8 sacks, 3 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovered. Probably 30 tackles for loss."
Dubose isn't done though. He's already gearing up for what promises to be another productive year for the greyhounds as he assumes a greater leadership role.
"For my senior year I need to hit the weight room harder, train harder, and do what it takes to be better than that next person."
Dubose's size is typical for a defensive end, but his athleticism makes him very versatile and allows him to confuse offenses from multiple positions on the field.
"I play defensive end, defensive tackle, and middle linebacker. The defensive end type I play is like a defensive end/outside linebacker hybrid. My goal for the team is to be the best player I can and not give up on my teammates. At the end of the day I want to make sure I gave my all and don't have any regrets."
Dubose has great expectations on the field for himself and his teammates. However, some of his highest aspirations deal with his goals off the field.
"My goal for senior year is to be the first CPL to win state, be class president, hopefully become valedictorian and win the award for best student athlete. I just want to lead my team to the promised land."
Mikhail's abilities haven't gone unnoticed. He was one of 500 underclassmen selected to participate in the U.S. Army Underclassmen Combine in San Antonio, Texas. Dubose really looked forward to seeing how he would fare against the rest of the top talent in his class and took the invite to heart, feeling like it was a testament to his teammates as well.
"I was excited to get to go to this big event. I wish I could take my team because without them and the coaches nothing would be possible, and without God nothing would be possible. I got the letter right before the Morgan Park game, and it made me want to go harder for my team."
Dubose made the most of his opportunity in Texas and put forth his best effort. He, along with many other top prospects from Chicago went with a chip on their shoulder, ready to prove that location doesn't define the quality of a football player. Dubose joined fellow Chicago prospects Jordan Diamond, Dan Voltz, and Robert Gregory among others to have an impact at the event.
"When I got there, I was thinking in my head that its time to go hard or go home because I'm going against the best of the best. I gave my 'A' game on every drill because it was my chance to give everything I had. I had to show people that us guys up north can ball too."
As a whole, the Chicago group performed very well. Dubose's contribution to that certainly stood out.
"I did pretty good. I think I ran a high 4.8 in the 40. I ran a 4.63 shuttle. My vertical was about 25. I went 7-1 in my one-on-ones, and the one loss was a stalemate. People were sitting back, so I took the opportunity and did the best I could."
Dubose will certainly have his fair share of options when it comes to making a college decision later on. Already he is getting attention from the Big Ten as well as other national powers.
"Illinois, Northwestern, Arizona, Purdue, NIU, and I got a phone call before the combine from Oklahoma for my coach to find out my build. I like Oklahoma so I'll have to say them too."
Right now, two home-state programs stand out for Dubose as well as a program that often searches the Chicago area for recruits.
"Illinois, Northwestern, and Arizona. The atmosphere in Arizona is really cool. It seems like in a couple years they could be a BCS school, and Mike Stoops is doing a good job out there.
"At Northwestern I got a chance to see the depth chart, and they could use some guys at DE. When I went I saw some ways I could help, and they have a team chemistry."
As for Illinois, Dubose spoke very highly of the coaches and players.
"At Illinois they have that bond and that swagger. And the professional way they carry themselves. Ron Zook and DeAndre Smith seem like great coaches for me, and they also have great academics as well."
Dubose has already seen the Illini in action three times this year, and each time he has learned more about the program. More importantly to him, he has learned more about the people.
"I visited for Ohio State and Minnesota. And I went to the Wrigley game. They're a good program even though everybody expects them to be a low contender. Even though they lost a couple games, they had strong defense and I like that about them.
"I love the weight room. It's a lot of little things. They care about the students and the players and it seems like a good environment for me."
Illinois coaches are already making a strong effort to court Dubose.
"Coach Smith came and saw me play versus Morgan Park, and he's supposed to come up this month for a bit too."
Don't expect an early decision from the Hubbard star though. He plans to take his time and let all aspects play out before he pulls the trigger on a commitment.
"I'd like to wait it out and see how many offers I get. I'd like to commit about a year from now, toward the end of next January. I'd like to get well known and get as many offers as I possibly can. Hopefully if I get selected for an All-American game, there's a chance I might commit there."
No doubt some of the big names in college football will come knocking at Dubose's door, and Illinois is certainly in the mix and will continue to pursue this impact player.