June 23, 2013

Film study: Detric Dukes

Georgia received yet another piece of big news on Sunday when Tucker linebacker Detric Dukes flipped from Louisville to the Bulldogs.

The UGA staff had made Dukes a big-time priority in the last few weeks and his pledge gives the Bulldogs a physical and talented prospect in 2014 that can be added to the impressive crop of inside linebackers that were signed in 2013.

Below, UGASports gives a detailed breakdown of Dukes' game and what kind of impact he can make once he gets to Athens.

Where he is great: Dukes is a coachable competitor. He will do anything asked of him by his coaches, and he will do so with an intense desire to compete.

Dukes is also a very gifted athlete. The Tucker standout doesn't have as much stiffness in his legs and hips as most linebackers that weigh in the 220-pound range in high school, and he does a good job of flipping them when playing in space.

He is also a very decisive linebacker. When he diagnoses the play, he attacks the ball carrier quickly with excellent angles. Then, when he gets to the ball, he is a sure wrap up tackler that gets his pad level down while still being able to bring his feet and stop the back from going forward.

Dukes is very effective when asked to come on a stunt or a blitz. He has some experience playing defensive end at he high school level, and knows how to attack the quarterback up field without overrunning the play. He penetrates under control and has an excellent ability to change direction and get back in the play.

The best part about Dukes game is his physical nature. Whether he is taking on blocks or making a tackle, he loves contact and is usually the one who gets the better of the matchup with the initial blow.

Where he is good: The way Dukes attacks and sheds blocks looks textbook on film. He shows the ability to violently take on blocks and cross the face of the lineman or lead blocker to get in on the play.

He also shows the instincts and awareness to beat blocks in space. On one occasion on film, Dukes finds the ball carrier and splits a double team to make a sure tackle in space.

Also, because of his experience playing defensive end, he does a good job of using his hands at the point of contact and that helps him beat blocks and get to the ball carrier.

Dukes is also extremely quick at seeing holes open up on to the play side and getting downhill to stop the run before it gets started.

His compact frame also allows him to take the pounding that inside linebackers are forced to take at the next level.

Where he needs work: Dukes is an excellent inside linebacker prospect, but in a lot of ways, his best football is still ahead of him.

First and foremost, Dukes needs more experience in coverage. He flashes excellent athleticism in space and does a great job of taking proper angles, but he hasn't done much in the way of coverage in his young career as a linebacker.

It isn't exactly something he can work on, but Dukes will also have to do more with less when it comes to length. At 6-foot-1, 222 pounds, Dukes isn't a long or particularly tall linebacker, so he will have to combat the lack of length with anticipation and quickness.

Overall: This is a huge pickup for Georgia because Dukes gives them some versatility at linebacker. Dukes can play the "Mike" or "Moe" inside linebacker position going forward with his combination of downhill play and athleticism. He needs to polish up in coverage, but that shouldn't be a tough skill for him to learn at the next level considering he has all the tools. He also comes from a top-notch program in the state of Georgia that has a rich history of sending productive players to the next level. Dukes will have an excellent shot to step in and earn early playing time even with the big class of inside linebackers UGA brought in for 2014, and his work ethic and coachability could create a scenario where he is tough to keep off the field early in his career.

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