"He's a physical guy," Mallard Creek head coach Mike Palmieri said. "He helps in run support. We like to put him up in people's faces and jam them up. He's not just a cover guy – he's a good tackler."
About a year ago, Covington transferred into Mallard Creek from Liburn (Ga.) Parkview. He arrived as a running back, but was eventually moved to cornerback.
"We thought he was a good enough athlete that he could do both [running back and cornerback]," Palmieri said. "We had Duncan and corner was a position of need for us. We felt he'd be able to do it."
The move allowed Mallard Creek to sport arguably the top cornerback duo in the Carolinas – Covington and Brian Walker. The two helped Mallard Creek post a 13-1 record in 2011 with its only loss coming against eventual NCHSAA 4AA Champion Greensboro Page in the semifinals of the playoffs.
On the year, Covington had five interceptions.
Covington reports seven scholarship offers. East Carolina, Minnesota, NC State, North Carolina, UNC Charlotte, and Wake Forest are among the offers he claims.
In early January, Covington visited UNC for its basketball game against Boston College.
"The new staff really hit the ground running," Covington said. "They had already seen my film [and] they knew who I was. So when I walked in we didn't spend time introducing each other. It was a great feel all the way around from them.
"The old staff had had contact with me. But Coach [Gunter] Brewer made sure there was no gap [between staffs]."
Although Brewer is his lead UNC recruiter, his January visit included an hour-long meeting with defensive coordinator Dan Disch.
"Basically, he was expressing their overall views as a school and what they plan to bring to the table for the university," Covington said. "He talked about the big things they had in mind as far as the defensive side of the ball. The big thing he stressed to me was making sure I stay on my grades – my grades are good and he liked that. He said he felt like he would move me from corner to safety and he talked about the things he saw potential in."
The visit was his second recruiting visit to UNC – he previously attended the Tar Heels' football game against Virginia. He said he will likely make his third trip this Saturday for UNC's Junior Day.
In addition to UNC, Covington has visited NC State and Wake Forest. In the coming months, he plans to make visits to Clemson, Florida, and LSU.
At this early stage of his recruitment, Covington is favoring three in-state schools – UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest.
"I've gotten a good feel from all three, definitely," Covington said. "I really felt like Coach Disch and I really connected – I feel like I got a real feel for him and he got a real feel for me, so that chemistry is definitely beginning to form early. Another one would be Wake Forest. I didn't get a chance to sit down as much with NC State as I wanted to, but my door is still open.
"Me wanting to major in sports medicine, obviously UNC's education is top notch. Wake Forest is another great institution to go to [academically]."
With regards to a decision timetable, Covington would like to follow former teammate D.J. Humphries' blueprint.
"I think D.J.'s [decision timeline] was a good time – going into your senior year," Covington said. "But, I'm not in D.J.'s position of having tons of offers. But, I'll have it at least narrowed down to a top three or four going into my senior year."
Although he grew up in Georgia, Covington was actually born in Chapel Hill. He still has family in the Chapel Hill area. Covington said he grew up a UNC fan.