February 11, 2012

Dukes grew up loving Michigan

Junior wide receiver Jaron Dukes is not your average Ohio native. Despite growing up in Columbus - in the shadow of Ohio State - he was a fan of their bitter rival as a child. Now, that boyhood interest in Michigan has blossomed into recruiting interest, but how did he pick the Wolverines in the first place?

The young Dukes has grown up and become a 6-5, 197-pound wide receiver at Columbus Marion-Franklin. His play on the field has garnered him recruiting interest from several Division-1 schools, including the one grew up loving.

Dukes took the opportunity last night to visit Michigan, something he was looking forward to. He's planning on making a college decision as soon as he's comfortable knowing that he's found the school he wants to spend the next four or five years of his life attending. A trip to his favorite school was the first step in finding out if that's the case.

Dukes isn't planning a college decision until he has the opportunity to visit more schools. He wants to narrow his list piece-by-piece, and taking campus visits is just a part of that process. He wanted to see Ann Arbor on a Friday to get a glimpse of college life away from the football field.

It's no surprise Duke left Ann Arbor without committing - both coach and player want to make sure he has as much information as possible before he makes a college choice. That doesn't mean the visit didn't go well, however.

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.

Part of being a great kid is maintaining a humble attitude. Although he's been blessed with size and skill, Dukes knows there's always room for improvement. The number one thing he wants to work on is his speed.

Michigan is number one on his list for the time being, but with an offer from Ohio State likely to come in the next couple weeks, the recruitment of Jaron Dukes is far from over.

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