A native of Oakland Park, Fla., Dubose and Charles Gaines were among four players suspended indefinitely in the middle of last season by U of L coach Charlie Strong for an off-field incident.
"I had to leave the Sugar Bowl," Dubose said. "I was embarrassed and felt bad for everything that had happened. I wanted to be out there."
Strong reinstated the players in January and three games into this season, Dubose and Gaines have been key players on a U of L defense that is allowing just nine points a game for the Cardinals (3-0).
"It feels good to be out here," Dubose said. "I am just trying to stay focused, be a good teammate and do all the right things.
"It's a lot better than it was last year."
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Dubose is listed behind Lorenzo Mauldin as a backup defensive end for the Cardinals. He has four tackles this season already, including a tackle for a loss and several quarterback pressures.
Dubose was a huge force on the line, bringing pressure, as the U of L staff rotated guys in and out of the lineup against UK.
The 5-11, 175-pound Gaines started for the first time this season last week as a cornerback after being moved from wide receiver after last season.
Gaines, considered one of the most vocal and athletic players on the team, had two tackles, one interception and another pass break-up against UK.
"They are both showing signs of being solid football players," U of L defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said. "I take them one day at a time with both of those guys, but they have both made a lot of strides. Coach (Clint) Hurtt is doing a good job with Dubose and Coach (Tommy) Restivo is doing a good job with Gaines.
"They have both made a lot of progress."
Dubose played in 13 games as a true freshman, starting three games, and was third among defensive linemen with 22 tackles. He started four games and played in seven last season before seeing his season come to an end.
But now he's back and making strides. Dubose had one of the better games of his career against UK but said it was due to his teammates.
"We did alright but that came from good pressure on the interior," Dubose said. "Our solid play came from the work those guys did on the inside.
"If they are playing well inside then everybody is going to play well as a unit."
Gaines came to U of L and was tried on defense but then moved back to offense and played last season as a wide receiver. He had 11 catches for 172 yards and scored a touchdown in the win over North Carolina.
But when he retuned to the team, Gaines was switched back to cornerback because of his speed and athleticism. And it's worked out.
"He's an athlete," U of L coach Charlie Strong said. "He's a guy who has the athletic ability and the skill. He can run and he can cover.
Strong said with both Dubose and Gaines that "you are looking at two talented players. Guys who have a lot of ability and we expect to play well."
"They were highly recruited and now it's their turn," Strong said. "They have been in the program for two or three years and you expect them to go play."