Detric Bing-Dukes, a late signee from Iowa Western CC, seemed to be buried in the depth chart when the season started, but after a couple of weeks of a lack of production from the middle linebacker position, he was elevated to first-team status prior to the Georgia game, ironically.
The irony? Bing-Dukes signed with Georgia out of Tucker, GA, as a 4-star prospect, but things did not pan out for him with the Bulldogs and he left after a redshirt year in 2014.
Suddenly, he was facing his old team and getting the nod from Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach Dave Wommack.
"We were missing too many fits and assignments through the first three games," said Wommack. "We had to do something, Detric had been working hard to learn the system, which is the biggest hurdle at MLB because that guy has to call the defense, and once he got those things down, it was time to give him a shot. It takes time to learn the calls, line up the front, line up the back end, know your own assignment and make proper fits, but he made the first tackle of the game and then eight others. I was pleased with him."
Bing-Dukes, who had 76 tackles at Iowa Western last season, worked hard to learn what he needed to know and waited his turn to play.
"I put in the work and then was told the day after the Alabama game that I would be working with the ones at middle linebacker, so I had time to get my mind right before the Georgia game the next Saturday," Bing-Dukes stated. "It was perfect timing to be playing against Georgia. I didn't really think about that much - I just focused on the gameplan and what I had to do, but there were times it crept in my mind. It gave me the extra umph I needed when I stepped on the field."
The Iowa Western defense was similar to what the Rebels run, so Detric was able to build his knowledge of the system pretty quickly.
"The only big difference is playing in space more here, but I have worked to get that down too," he explained. "Early in the year, we did not fit things properly and it cost us in two games, but I have seen the communication get better here in the last week or so, since the Alabama loss, and I think we are going to start getting better and better."
Bing-Dukes had pluses and minuses in his first start, but everything, he believes, is correctable.
"I felt I filled the gaps the way I am coached too, but I busted a coverage or two. I can get better in my coverages and I can get better being a more vocal leader," he stated. "The more I know about the system and my assignments and what everyone around me is supposed to be doing, the more confident I am as a player and the more I can turn loose and make plays."
Bing-Dukes left Georgia because he did not see light at the end of the tunnel for him to play much, but he was determined to prove he could. After a year at Iowa Western, Middle Tennessee State came calling and he committed to DC Tyrone Nix, who used to be the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss. He fell short of being able to enroll at Middle Tennessee, but he had enough transferable credits to get into Ole Miss.
"The word got out that I wasn't going to be able to enroll at MTSU and schools started calling," he noted. "Ole Miss was one of them. I knew I could play on a high level so this seemed like a good fit. The JUCO experience was good for me because it made me appreciate the advantages you have at a big school - the facilities, the equipment, the care, the tutors, everything - but I also learned a lot about football - where to put my eyes, how important doing your assignment is and other things."
The Ole Miss coaches got tired of watching poor fits and decided to go in a different direction, handing the reins to Detric Bing-Dukes for now.
He made the most of the opportunity against Georgia. It's up to him to keep it going.
Will he seize the day? So far, he's one for one.