Devontres Dukes is ready to take his official visit to NC State. This is not the first time that has been the headline but this time it seems more real than ever.
Dukes (6-3, 200) has been hearing from NC State since he was a rising senior last summer. That's when he learned about his offer from the Wolfpack and right from the start Dukes has stayed on message by saying all the right things.
Although he was once committed to UCF even during that time he was thinking about Dave Doeren's program. He was supposed to take an official visit to NC State during the football season and there might have been real questions about whether he was thinking of a flip.
Now he does not have the UCF commitment standing between him and NC State. Instead the Tampa (FL) wide receiver is prepared to visit NC State in a little less than a week as an uncommitted player who is leaning towards leaving that as his last official visit.
"I'm thinking about going up to maybe Marshall for a last visit on the 29th but that's not for sure. There's a chance NC State might be my last visit."
Reading between the lines isn't difficult there. Dukes would have to decide that NC State is right for him and just as important would be NC State's coaches deciding that Dukes is the fit they have thought he might be. If both parties think the weekend goes well then it could mean that Dukes commits. Only this time for good.
Three weeks ago Dukes worked out the details of that official visit with receivers coach George McDonald. That is the coach that Dukes knows the best at NC State but he also talks to Dave Doeren ("Coach Dave"), other position coaches and "even the new coordinator." If there is any question about how Dukes fits into the staff's plans or how much they want him it might be telling that the new coordinator has already talked to him.
"I think the new coordinator is great. I loved it really. I've always been a fan of Boise State. I wouldn't say I was a huge fan, but I've always known they have a pretty explosive offense. I think what he did there is the same thing he'll be doing at NC State so I like it a lot."
Dukes is well known at NC State. When McDonald visited Wharton High School last spring almost one full year ago he started to learn a lot more about him. Not long after that Dukes picked up his offer.
The last month or so has been the beginning of the new kind of relationship between Dukes and NC State. Dukes has gone from a player the coaches liked to a player who hears those coaches saying they need him.
The coaches have a clearer idea of who they want with the class about to be wrapped up and Dukes also did not take his official visit earlier as he expected to. Dukes did also help his cause with a 41 catches, 723 yards and 14 touchdowns.
"They started pushing real hard right before the dead period. They've been pushing really hard for a while now."