MOORESVILLE, N.C. --- Several schools – including North Carolina – believe Jamil Dukes’s junior season film is impressive enough for a scholarship offer. However, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle from Mooresville High has work to do in the classroom in order to convert that into actual offers.
“Quiet kid, but great kid and an unbelievable talent,” Mooresville head coach Hal Capps said. “He’s the kind of kid that says, ‘Coach, I’ve gained 22 pounds since basketball. Put me on a diet.’ And kids don’t want to go on diets, but he knew what was best – he knew he had to get back to 280 [pounds].
“[He has an] explosive, quick, unbelievable first step. He’s an inside defensive lineman [on the collegiate level]. He’s not going to be the lanky, 6-7, 6-6 kid, but he’s going to be that plugger that blows people up.”
Dukes began his prep career on varsity as a freshman reserve. The following season, his sophomore year, he landed a starting gig on Mooresville’s three-man front at nose guard.
“The thing is, he’s athletic enough that if they start running outside, we move him to five-technique and he’ll still make plays,” Capps said.
Dukes ended his sophomore season with 45 tackles and two sacks. He followed that up with 68 tackles and nine sacks as a junior.
Off film alone, Dukes would have a North Carolina offer.
“When Coach [Tray] Scott called to offer Chris Ingram, he said, ‘If Jamil gets his grades up, we’re going to offer him,’” Capps said.
“I messed up my sophomore year with my grades,” Dukes said. “So I’ve just been working hard to catch back up.”
According to Capps, a lot of schools – namely Boston College, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, NC State, and Tennessee – are in the same boat as UNC.
“Everybody loves his highlight tape,” Capps said. “When a [college] coaches tells me, ‘God, that kid can play!’ I tell them, ‘Last year with that highlight tape you’re looking at, that kid benched 260 [pounds]. Now that guy benches 360. There isn’t anybody that’s going to block him this year.’”
East Carolina, though, took the plunge and offered Dukes.
“East Carolina has offered him with the understanding that it might be an academic red-shirt,” Caps said.
“The good thing about it is: right now, he has all A’s [this semester]. He’s making great leaps. He’s finally realized, ‘I better get to work on my grades.’”
Charlotte, East Carolina, and NC State are the only schools Dukes has visited. He plans to attend several regional camps this summer, including UNC’s.
Three programs have caught Dukes’s attention.
“I like Georgia because they talk to me about everything,” Dukes said. “ECU and NC State, I like their campus and their coaches.”
Besides football, Dukes participates in basketball and track-and-field for Mooresville… He plans to major in sports medicine in college.
2016 Target: Jamil Dukes
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