Chatting With Jaron Dukes, Wolverine Comment Count

Ace February 23rd, 2012 at 12:02 PM


Michigan hauled in their 12th commitment of the class of 2013 yesterday when Columbus (OH) Marion-Franklin WR Jaron Dukes pledged to the Wolverines. The 6'5", 200-pound receiver fills a position of huge need for Michigan, and the Wolverine lifer could barely contain his excitement about the commitment. I spoke to Jaron yesterday evening, just hours after he committed, and we talked about why he chose Michigan, how he feels being in Columbus as a Wolverine, his game against Cam Burrows, and more:

ACE: What made you decide that today was going to be the day to commit?

JARON: I don't know. It was more my coach's decision. He was like, "I can tell. You know what, I can see it in your heart, and I see it in your eyes, and I know that's where you want to go." My family, my mom, they said, "I think it's time, go ahead," and I was like "ahhhhhhh." Then I just went ahead and did it.

ACE: I know you had a great time on your visit a couple weeks ago. Has it pretty much been in your mind to commit since then and you were just waiting for the right time?

JARON: Yeah, I was just waiting on the right time. I was going to wait and do what my mother said, go see more colleges, get the full experience and everything. What nudged it on was a lot of the pressure, it's a lot of pressure.

ACE: Did the fact that Michigan got eight commits over the weekend have any effect at all? Did you take notice when that went down last weekend?

JARON: I heard, but I really wasn't hesitating much. I was talking to Taco [Charlton], he committed, and he was telling me it felt right for him. I've been talking to him a lot. Having somebody that I know that's going to be there made me even more comfortable about going there.

ACE: Have you been talking to any of the other guys who committed to Michigan?

JARON: The only people I've been talking to are Shane [Morris] and Taco.

ACE: What did Shane tell you?

JARON: He was telling me to just come join the family, that we're going to take the top. He was just telling me this and that. I could see that he had as much love for Michigan, as much as I did, maybe even more (laughs).

ACE: What set Michigan apart from the other schools you were considering?

JARON: They actually got my mom to be quiet, once (laughs). They answered all her questions, they answered all my questions, it was just the perfect place. It felt like it was built for me. It just felt right. It just felt like that was the place for me, and why wait?

ACE: What made the coaching staff different from the other coaching staffs that you were in contact with?

JARON: They wouldn't just all play. You know, "Hey, all right, how you doing, man? We're going to have a great time up here, you're going to do this, do that, we're going to be awesome." They sat me down and they were real with me. I felt a connection already. I've seen that they love their players, they love their family; actually, Michigan is their family. It just felt like a good vibe. They were real, they said we're going to work, but we're going to have fun at the same time, because you're going to love what you do. You're going to be proud waking up in the morning and putting on that Maize and Blue. I wanted to be a part of that.

ACE: Being from Columbus, do you feel safe down there being a Michigan commit right now?*

JARON: No (laughs). No I do not. I got messages in my inbox from fans going, "boo go away, y'all suck," when I committed. I'm not affected by it. I made my decision. I'm happy with my decision. People that support me, thank you, I won't let you down, and I won't let my teammates down. People who don't, I'm sorry, but this is my life, and I have to live it.

ACE: There's been a lot of attention, just in the hours since you committed, about you playing against Cam Burrows in the playoffs last year and putting up some pretty good numbers. Are you looking forward to matching up against him again in college?

JARON: Oh, yeah. I would love to keep going against him. He's a great guy. It's fun. After the game, and when I got hurt, he was cool; he came over and he was talking, we were having a good conversation and everything. I have nothing against him. He was a great person, so it's fun going against people you know and it's cool that you can just showcase your talent.

ACE: If you had to boil down why you chose Michigan into a few words, what would they be?

JARON: Family, love, dedication, hard work, honesty, and trust.

*Just to be clear, that question was entirely (okay, mostly) in jest, and Jaron took it that way, too.



February 23rd, 2012 at 12:31 PM ^

1.  Ace:  love the interview questions -- it seems like you're really comfortable talking with Jaron and letting the situation and responses dictate the follow-up questions.

2. Is Jaron mature or what?  He shows love to Cam Burrows, and his response to the question about fans supporting him/not supporting him sounds like something Hoke and Mattison would say.  This kid will be a winner  on the field or off it.  Likely both.


February 23rd, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

Call me a sap, but these interviews give me chills.  I love his classy answer about Cam Burrows.  I love his reasons for choosing Michigan.  

I can only hope that when these Ohio commits get disrespectful messages when they commit to Michigan, that it helps solidify their decision... and makes them less susceptible to flipping when Meyer finally realizes that he missed a talented recruit right under his own nose.

Note: Edited so as not to be "flamebait."  Sorry... new at this.


February 23rd, 2012 at 12:40 PM ^

The answer to the last question says a lot because we can already see how Hoke has rubbed off on these kids (phrasing). Jaron seems like a really good kid, and I can't wait to see him on the field in a winged helmet. 


February 23rd, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

This interview got me even more fired up about his commitment.  Yet another great young man.  Keep them coming!  I love the character of the athletes we are attracting.


February 23rd, 2012 at 12:47 PM ^

It's pretty clear from reading these interviews that the Michigan coaching staff approaches recruiting in a way that's more "real" and "genuine" than other teams.  Jaron's perspective is particularly interesting given how many times he visited Ohio.  It seems to be effective, and hopefully is attracting athletes with both class and talent... seems to be the case here.


February 23rd, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

The more I hear, the more I like this commitment.  Quality kid.  He really is 6'5, and not 6'4 or 6'3 like some sites were saying.  Also Sam Webb interviewed the Scout analyst in Ohio and the guy was really high on Dukes.  Also said he has good football speed.


February 23rd, 2012 at 1:28 PM ^

I've heard those words from so many commits this year and last...I'm just so impressed by what the coaches, players and hosts are doing during these kids' recruitments.  Honesty and genuine concern for the players and their families.  So excited for the future of this football team...


February 23rd, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

Thanks Ace. Having grown up in Columbus a Michigan fan I was hoping for a little more from this interview...sort of anti climactic. It is nonetheless satisfying though because I understand the sentiment all too well. As I mentioned in an earlier note I played for the same coach Jaron does and used to cover Earnie Wheelwright (6'5" basketball player turned wide receiver) in practice who played pretty well while at Minnesota. I see the same player here and I can imagine Ern being coached by a much better staff and practicing against Michigan DB's. Jaron is gonna workout great!


February 23rd, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

Nothing wrong with the interview or the questions. They were all great. From my perspective, my 2 cents worth of comments were simply mentioning that I wanted to hear him end up talking more about 'being from Columbus' and loving what they call TSUN when his entire culture is scarlet and gray. You started in that direction when you asked him if its safe for him to walk around down there committed to Go Blue...then the Cam question....then over. But its all good. Im definitely in no position to advise you in your work. You do great work. Keep it up.


February 23rd, 2012 at 3:06 PM ^

Thanks, appreciate the feedback and the kind words. I didn't ask him as much about the Columbus angle because I've talked to him about it in previous interviews, and he's mentioned elsewhere that he liked Michigan because he enjoyed being the outcast as a kid. Dukes is definitely an interesting kid, and I think it's easy to tell that he's one of the more enjoyable interviews I've come across thus far; he made my job very easy.


February 23rd, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

"They sat me down and they were real with me."

Gotta love coaches who are honest with players they are recruiting. Integrity, honor, trust, team. My respect for this coaching staff just contines to grow. 

Go Blue - Welcome aboard Jaron!

Brown Bear

February 23rd, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

Reading all these interviews really does give the feeling that we are headed to great times in Michigan football. I am so gotdammed pumped for this next season AND the next and the next.....and so on. The quality of character of each of these kids as well as their potential on the field is awesome. Frigging pumped!!!


February 23rd, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

sports) are in great hands now.  I love how Hoke and Beilein excel at evaluating talent, developing talent, game preperation, game adjustments and interacting with their players.  They do it all with class and integrity.

Go Blue from OH

February 23rd, 2012 at 5:57 PM ^

I really admire a kid who can deal with colorful/hateful/idiotic comments from Ohio fans. I hear them every day and it's nothing pretty. I am proud to know that we recruit good people that are talented, instead of just focusing on talent. 

Leaders and Best.