Jermaine Gonzales was on the basketball team. You should remember him as not-quite-Antwan Randle El for us back in the early 2000s.
Hello: Jaron Dukes
Sam Webb just broke the news on Twitter; yes, Michigan has picked up another commit:
Columbus Marion-Franklin HS WR Jaron Dukes has pledged to #Michigan
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) February 22, 2012
LOL my life. Informative update forthcoming.
Informative Update: According to Michael Spath of The Wolverine, Dukes is the first-ever offensive skill position player from Columbus to commit to Michigan, which is pretty mind-boggling. Despite growing up in the heart of Buckeye country, Dukes actually is a lifelong Michigan fan, and he told me that he got emotional running onto the field at the Big House when he visited a couple weekends ago. Despite his trip going as well as it possibly could, he wanted to make sure he took the time to think things over and talk to his parents and coaches before coming to a decision; it appears he's thought things through.
|NR WR||NR WR||NR WR||3*, 87, #63 WR|
As you can see, Dukes is flying under the radar right now and has yet to be ranked by any of the recruiting services, though I expect that will change soon now that he's committed to Michigan [EDIT: Talk about your quickly-fulfilled predictions; 24/7 just gave Dukes a three-star rating]. Though Dukes is listed at anywhere between 6'2" and 6'5" in his recruiting profiles, recent observations peg him at a legit 6'5", 200 pounds; he's definitely the big type of wideout that Al Borges has been looking for.
Bucknuts listed Dukes as their #29 prospect in Ohio for the class of 2013, and their evaluation included this quote from scout Mark Porter ($):
“He’s the biggest wide receiver in the class. He’s not as big as TY Williams a couple of years ago. But he has great size and is useful down around the goal line. He had a nice game against Trotwood.”
In that game against Trotwood—playing against cornerback and consensus top player in Ohio, Buckeye commit Cam Burrows—Dukes tallied six catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Scout's Dave Berk was on hand for that game, and while there are questions surrounding Dukes's speed, he seems to think that won't be a big issue ($):
At 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, Dukes has the physical size Notre Dame coaches love from the wide receiver position. Besides his size, Dukes showed surprising speed during his six-catch, 173-yard two-touchdown performance.
On one of Duke’s [sic] two touchdowns, Burrows had the angle to make the stop, but Dukes showed a burst that sent him past the standout corner that already holds an early offer from the Irish.
A recent Tim Sullivan feature talked about the strength of Jaron's game—his ability to high-point the football, a la Junior Hemingway—and had a glowing quote from his head coach ($):
Whichever school he does ultimately pick will be getting a talented wideout. Standing 6-5 and weighing 197 pounds, he's a physically-imposing receiver who can use his mass to shield defenders - and make blocks on the edge. He also has the body control to high-point the ball once it's in the air, and a knack for making plays after the catch.
"He's 6-4 or 6-5 legit, 200 pounds, he runs a 4.6," said Coach Haffele. "He has great ball skills catching the ball. He's a pretty good blocker. All that god-given talent he has. And then, once you meet the kid and talk to him, that's the selling point. He's just such a great kid."
We'll see about that 4.6; Dukes himself knows that he has to work on his speed to take his game to the next level, and he told me as much when I first interviewed him before his visit:
JARON: My biggest strengths are being able to read the secondary, keeping a level head, going out there and having fun and being able to go out and catch, just catch the ball. I would love to get faster. They keep telling me speed kills, so I want to be the fastest one out there. I want to be the fastest one on the field.
As you'll see on film, Dukes is very reminiscent of Hemingway in his ability to go up and get the football. His speed doesn't stand out, though he's clearly working on changing that fact. Burner or no, he'll provide a big downfield target for Shane Morris and he should be a major weapon in the red zone.
Dukes also held offers from Illinois and Toledo while garnering interest from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State; he visited OSU multiple times before reaching his decision, though he did not hold an offer.
Dukes told me he had 36 catches for 673 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 40 time of 4.6 seconds, the time his coach claims he ran. Seeing Dukes on tape, I have to give that a four FAKEs out of five; he's going to have to work on his speed, as has been said above, including by Jaron himself.
Junior highlights from ScoutingOhio:
It's difficult to get a read on his route-running from that short clip; hopefully more video surfaces in the near future, as there isn't even paywalled tape on Rivals right now.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
The evidence is flimsy indeed, but Dukes—like every receiver from the 2012 and 2013 class—is going to have every opportunity to compete for playing time right away. When Dukes arrives on campus, the Wolverines will have just six returning wideouts—Jeremy Jackson (SR), Jeremy Gallon (SR), Drew Dileo (SR), Jerald Robinson (JR), Amara Darboh (SO), and Jehu Chesson (SO)—and the only players with even comparable size are Jackson and Chesson, who both stand at 6'3".
That said, Dukes is a developmental prospect, and it seems likely he'll take a redshirt year as long as the Wolverines don't suffer attrition, especially if they can bring in a blue-chip prospect like Laquon Treadwell in the 2013 class. Dukes appears to be a late-bloomer—he told me his coaches said he "couldn't catch a cold" as a freshman—so there's a chance he makes a big leap up in the rankings and changes that opinion. With little film to go on, for now I see him as another Hemingway type; a big receiver who uses his body well and is a deep threat by virtue of his size and leaping ability, but not a burner who's going to be a steady possession receiver.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan now has 12 commits in the class of 2013, almost certainly more than half of what they'll take in a class projected to fill out at around 20-22 players. Dukes represents a player of major need at receiver, and the Wolverines will take at least one more player at the position; Treadwell seems to be the leader in the clubhouse for that spot, but Michigan has 14 other offers out to uncommitted prospects. Other positions of need include one more offensive lineman, an every-down running back, nose tackle, and depth in the back seven, specifically at linebacker (likely just one, and M can be picky) and cornerback.
Brady Hoke... I really just don't know what else there is to say about his—and his coaching staff's—effort on the recruiting trail. I've run out of platitudes, but this class is already on pace to be one of the top five—at least—in the country. It's still February. This is relatively unprecedented, but you know that already.
Although we practice and make ourselves in the summer. The early winter is when our young players come. Ironic this works the same for actual Wolverines also.
Wolverine's mating season is in the summer, but the actual implantation of the embryo occurs in the early winter which delays the development of the fetus.
Guess who has the #1 recruiting class in the country on 247sports? Thats right, Michigan is now above everyone after this commitment. GO BLUE!!
With all of these "Ohio didn't want them anyway" commits, I have a feeling that Hoke & Co. have taken the time to look closely at all the Ohio prospects and pick them based upon talent and potential rather than star power. We'll see who really has the recruiting moxie when Hoke's 3-stars are schooling Meyer's 4 and 5-stars on the field in a few years.
And its not like Hoke isn't pulling in as highly rated guys as Meyer.
We're really not being out-recruited by OSU, so it sounds silly when you say stuff like that. Dukes isn't a spread offense kind of WR - he's not the kind RR would have recruited and not the kind Meyer will likely recruit, so this is an instance where I'm really not concerned whether or not he had an OSU offer. Not that I ever really am since Hoke and Co. have shown a propensity to ID talent.
Here are my thoughts on Dukes if you're interested:
offer and commit?
Tough question. I'll be happy if Michigan gets another wide receiver who can be a deep threat and take it to the house. I'm okay with the Dukes commitment, because you need possession guys and big-play guys. But the guys on the roster right now aren't known for their speed, and we have yet to see what Chesson/Darboh can do.
My "meh" reaction has more to do with the current state of the wide receivers than Dukes himself. I just think we need a big-time wideout in this class. Treadwell could be that guy, but he insists on waiting to commit...and that plan usually doesn't turn out so well.
the era of "super-receivers" (Edwards, Avant, Manningham, et al). Therefore, I lack of frame of reference for how highly regarded they were as Juniors in high school. My uninformed view is that WRs seem like a tougher group to judge coming out of high school than other positions.
This has been my concern about UM receiver recruiting so far under Hoke as well. We just don't seem to be really going after those speedy deep threat type guys too hard. Even of our seemingly "realistic" targets last year, Burbridge was the only one that seemed like that deep threat type guy. Heck, Treadwell doesn't seem like the deep threat type of guy either to me, although very good none the less. I'm really hoping Chesson can be the deep threat to compliment the possesion guys; he has the track pedigree at least. I suppose that if they guys we recruit can just catch and we can coach them to run good routes, those big bodies can make up for some of the lack of seperation speed can get you. Plus well designed route packages should help make up for the lack of a speedy deep threat constantly. That should put us in fine position considering we're still talking college football here.
Although you're right that Chesson likely has the speed to be a deep threat, Darboh is actually the faster of the two, from what I've been told. Even though he's a bigger bodied guy, he's the guy who was billed as a deep threat from the beginning. Neither of them are Denard fast, but both should be able to stretch the field well when asked to do so.
Not many are Denard fast.
People seem to think that speed is a necessity for big play receiver but it is not. Many of the great Michigan receivers of the last 20 years did not have great speed. Marquise Walker, Junior, Jason Avant, Amani Toomer, David Terrell, Braylon.......none of these guys were speedsters so to speak . But they all were PLAYMAKERS who knew how to get it done, that is what we are looking for.
I'd take Braylon off that list. At one point, he was the top sprinter on Michigan's track team, so he's not a great example. Dude was fast.
Yea, I actually second guessed myself on that post with him. But he still wasnt a speed burner type receiver in college. He was the big, go up and get and bang across the middle guy. But i'll take my medicine and say he should be excludeded.
We need at least one game-breaker/stretch the field guy at WR in every class. Not unhappy about this commit by any means, I just hope the coaches recognize this hole in the roster, particularly after Stonum's departure.
Lit up Ohio five-star Cam Burrows for 170 yards and 2 TDs last year. Hey Cam, meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.
wait till they match up. He has to be a 4 star if he lit up a 5 star right?
It's real exciting to hear these new recruits talk about winning National Championships, if we can dominate in recruiting and find guys with maize & blue passion we will! Welcome Jaron!
24/7 literally just rated him. 3 Star, 86 if it matters. Nice to get some WRs though, that group of guys that are going to be there for 2013 is very thin.
A 3 star? What's a 3 star? /spoiled
I'll take another Junior Hemingway. I think that his 2011 stats didn't come close to reflecting his value to the team. I'd love to have back.
Just to make it clear, I think getting another Junior Hemingway is a great thing. Not sure if that came through in the post, but I think this is a really good pickup. The fact that he torched Burrows in the playoffs this year really nailed it home for me; that's one of the top DBs in the country, so if he's beating him regularly at the high school level, I see no reason to believe he can't do the same in college regardless of his current speed.
Hemingway's problem was that he always drew the best corner on the other team. We really needed a setup like Edwards/Avant for Hemingway to shine. Hemingway on the #2 corner is a win a lot of time. Hemingway on the #1 is rougher. Avant wasn't that fast, but very physical and benefitted from the fact the defense was busy worrying about Henne throwing a fade route to Edwards or something big.
That's kind of what I see with Dukes. I think he has a lot of potential to shine when other faster WRs are demanding attention from the most athletic corner on the field (and perhaps a safety as well). If he's getting the lockdown corner every play, then perhaps not so good results. Dukes is going to be murder on those corner of the end zone plays though. Put it high either he gets it or an incomplete.
This coaching staff is clearly looking for attributes more specific than the number of stars next to a kid's name. I am very happy with a 6'5" kid that can high-point a ball. Will be huge on red-zone fades & overall just a great target for Shane.
I think your red zone comment is right on. No more Iowa 2 minute drills from now on. Just throw it up to the Duke. Or Funchess... Or Butt... We've got weapons.
For everyone complaining about his speed - I just don't see it. Sure, he's not running a 4.4-4.5 out there, but if he was, Cam Burrows would not be the top prospect in Ohio.
6'5" 200lbs is a big dude, and I still saw him outrun most of the DBs covering him in that video. I'm sure most of those DBs are D1 material, but every team that played Dukes put their top CB on him, and most starting corners in Ohio are gonna be decently fast guys.
On most teams, a tall CB is 6'0", and Dukes still has 5 inches on that guy. At that point, tell him to run 15 yards and jump.
There's a difference between outrunning guys and running through the tackles when they catch you. I saw a shrimpy kid with mediocre speed catch him...and then slip off because Dukes is huge.
Agreed - I don't think he was always the fastest guy on the field, but there were a handful of plays where he ran into the endzone untouched, and not because he was 20 yards past the last guy. He's got some speed. It just seems that to some, if you're not a total burner, you're slow. Hemingway wasn't a burner and he was a very solid receiver. Dukes has 4 inches on him.
I thought his speed looked decent. The 4.6 sounds reasonable. I didn't see any kids catching him, he just wasn't pulling away from everybody. With his height and ability to high point the ball, I bet he will be a solid WR.
And I don't think every WR needs to be a speedster. What might be lost with speed, can be gained with good route running... something that is listed as one of Dukes' strengths. And if there's another WR on the field with speed who can stretch the secondary, then a tall WR with great route running should be able to clean up.
Well, I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but, SURE he can outmuscle top tier DBs for the end zone jump ball, and YES, he seems like a True Blue Wolverine, being a fan though from Columbus/Mordor...
... but how is he at Family Resource Management & Communication?
Doesn't matter. He's going into Fisheries.
I heard OSU almost convinced him with their exploring Major. Then he learned how that went for the last kid with that major.
Flamebait? For a timely post dissing Ohio's recent LYING about educational prospects, especially in relation to the beloved Maize And Blue?
In the words of the great Al Pacino: "You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order! That man, that sick, crazy, depraved man, raped and beat that woman there, and he'd like to do it again! He *told* me so! It's just a show! It's a show! It's "Let's Make A Deal"! "Let's Make A Deal"! Hey Frank, you wanna "Make A Deal"? I got an insane judge who likes to beat the s#it out of women! Whaddya wanna gimme Frank, 3 weeks probation?"
Phew. Okay. Carry on.
With our massive O-line, the QB's will have plenty of time to let the routes develope.
I like the fact the coaches said, "he couldn't catch a cold", and he doesn't mind telling the story. If his work ethic is as good as it sounds, he will be a good one.
The natives are restless here in Columbus-They are secretly concerned but are always saying we(Ohio) didn't offer so we didn't want him. Most of my frends and all the people I work with are Ohio fans and are still not over the 40-34 loss and now the basketball beat down. Today is a good day, didn't even have to bring out my A K.
So glad that Hoke and Co. can recruit so well, but at this rate it is going to make for a very boring summer. Just saying.
I'd say the last native of Columbus we welcomed to Michigan has done pretty well. I'm looking at you Trey.
Great get. Congrats Jaron. May you have a great career filled with success in the classroom, on the field, and in life.
As well as Darboh and Chesson, but they also come across as role players. I still think we need that "go-to" type of receiver (a la Terrell and Edwards). Hopefully Treadwell or someone else in this class can be that guy.
Is it just me or are our 2012/2013 classes exceptionally tall:
Shane Morris – 6’3”
Wyatt Shallman – 6’3”
Jaron Dukes – 6’5”
Amara Darboh – 6’2”
Jehu Chesson – 6’3”
AJ Williams – 6’6”
Devin Funchess – 6’5”
Jake Butt – 6’6”
Khalid Hill – 6’2”
8 Offensive linemen, from which we are worried none may be short enough (and stay short enough/not grow) to play center (6’4”).
Ty Issac – 6’3”
Laquon Treadwell – 6’3”
Good luck little DBs.
Dukes may not be an instant impact but, I think he will be a pleasant surprise by the time he's a Junior. By the way Trey didn't have an offer from Ohio either and is playing like the best pg in the Big Ten right now. Clutch-It's not always how many you make but when you make them. I think Dukes will be the same way. Big catches in the red zone, not necessarily alot of catches.
Trading Places, from Ohio to the University of Michigan ... Great Choice! Hail, Hail Jaron! Congratulations and welcome to the The Big House!
Only one LB Ace? I was hoping for an O'Daniel Levenberry combo...
We only really need one, given last year's haul. However, once we fill our needs we will still have room for 3 or 4 players, and we would likely spend those spots on the best players available. O'Daniel and Levenberry would both fit that role, and I'm sure if they both want to come the coaches will take them.
Does he have a sister named Daisy? She almost drives me crazy
Hey, Cam Burrows, get ready. You're in for a long 4 years, kid.