Football Recruiting Report
Monday, November 30, 2015

By Sammy Batten

ECU getting 'total package' in DT Dukes


View Thumbnail Sketch

(Image source:



By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.


Recruiting Class of 2016 Thumbnail Sketches...

Mooresville coach Hal Capps didn't hesitate when asked recently if his star defensive lineman Jamil Dukes compared to any players he'd previously coached or competed against.

“He reminds me of the Roseboro kid at N.C. State right now,'' Capps said. “He's definitely in that mold. He's a good athlete. He has surprising quickness for a 300-pounder. He plays on our basketball team and gets up and down the court well.''

That should be music to the ears of East Carolina fans after Dukes made a verbal commitment to the Pirates on November 12. He chose the Pirates after also entertaining scholarship offers from Ball State, Charlotte, Georgia Southern, Miami of Ohio and West Virginia.

But back to the “Roseboro kid'' reference.

Capps is talking about former Lincolnton High School and current N.C. State freshman defensive end Darian Roseboro. The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder was regarded by many recruiting services as North Carolina's top college prospect as a prep senior and was a consensus top 100 player nationally regardless of position. Roseboro enrolled at N.C. State last spring and has seen significant action as a true freshman for the Wolfpack.

The comparison between Dukes and Roseboro isn't one Capps makes without some insight into both players. Capps got an up close and personal look at Roseboro a year ago when both were part of the North Carolina squad for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. Capps, of course, was the head coach and Roseboro was one of the team's defensive linemen.

“They're a lot alike,'' Capps said. “I do feel like Jamil is more athletic than any defensive lineman of his size I've ever had on my high school teams. He runs well, has great swim and rip moves – he's the total package at 300 pounds. Very similar to Roseboro.''

Unlike Roseboro, whose recruitment started as early as his sophomore season, Dukes needed a bit longer to start impressing college recruiters. He was a varsity reserve as a freshman in 2012, then earned a starting job the following year at nose guard in Mooresville's three-man front. Dukes produced 45 tackles and two quarterback sacks that season.

Dukes helped the Blue Devils post a 10-2 record and earn a state 4-A playoff berth as a junior by making 63 tackles and nine sacks. He was named the North Piedmont 3-A/4-A Conference Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts.

Some early academic struggles kept some schools from offering Dukes, but the Pirates jumped in with a scholarship offer with the understanding he might be an academic “redshirt,'' according to Capps. But Dukes has since “taken care of that (academic issues) and has done a really great job in the classroom,'' Capps noted.

Dukes began the 2015 season on fire, collecting 49 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and five sacks through the first six games before developing a mysterious lower back problem that was initially diagnosed as a hip flexor strain. The injury actually confined Dukes to a wheel chair for about three weeks before a specialist found the real problem was a cyst that had developed in his spine.

“He played a couple of games while he was hurting, but the thought was he'd just pulled a muscle in his back,'' Capps said. “Then, at one point he was told not to walk and was actually bed-ridden for about seven days. After that he had a wheel chair to get back and forth to school.

“He'd gone to different doctors and finally a specialist saw the cyst and in the infection in his back. They removed the cyst. He's back walking now and he's trying to get back in shape for the Shrine Bowl.''

Dukes is one of the three players committed to East Carolina who've been selected for the annual all-star game against South Carolina scheduled for December 19 in Spartanburg, SC. He'll join future teammates Tajh Dean, a receiver from Southern Nash, and Wallace-Rose Hill cornerback Keyshawn Canady on the North Carolina squad.

Capps said Dukes chose ECU in the end because the Pirates were the most consistent during his recruitment.

“I think the success of their program and the fact they just stayed in constant contact with him really made a difference,'' Capps said. “He felt like that was a great place for him to go.''

Dukes is the 14th player to join ECU's recruiting Class of 2016 and is the fourth defensive line prospect.

E-mail Sammy Batten

Sammy Batten's Archives

Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without specific written permission, and then only in accordance with the terms and restrictions of that permission. Contact for more information about permissions and restrictions on use and about syndication opportunities.

11/29/2015 05:57 PM