South Carolina recruiting: 2019 RB Michel Dukes returns; 2018 DE still in play

South Carolina recruiting-Michel Dukes

Whenever Will Muschamp lands a commitment, the South Carolina coach drops a #SpursUp on Twitter. Come to SEC Country for the latest news, notes and observations in South Carolina recruiting. For previous editions of SpursUp Surveillance, check out the link.

In-state RB sees South Carolina

Three-star running back Michel Dukes has the early edge as the top running back prospect from the state of South Carolina for the Class of 2019. Nationally, he’s ranked No. 58. South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest have offered.

The Gamecocks hosted him for a visit last Saturday night.

“It was great. It was good to be back at Carolina. It went pretty good. I got to see [running backs] coach [Bobby] Bentley and [tight ends] coach [Pat] Washington, the main recruiters for me,” Dukes said. “I didn’t get a chance to see Coach Muschamp — I didn’t get a chance to speak to him, but I shook his hand before the game.”

The 5-foot-10, 191-pound prospect attends First Baptist School in Charleston, S.C., so Washington is his area recruiter, but Bentley certainly has a role in his recruitment to South Carolina.

“He was asking about my mom and dad,” Dukes said. “He was just asking about my family, how I’m doing. He was talking about how my season went and then he was talking about our championship game. Then, we started talking more about Carolina.”

Despite the loss to Clemson, Dukes has noticed the results South Carolina has produced in 2017:

“I thought they had a pretty good season,” he said. “I know they’re still in the — Coach Bentley, last year, told me they were in a rebuilding season, so I just took that to mind. They turned it around. … They did pretty good this year.”

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            Carolina recruiting-Michel Dukes
South Carolina offered Michel Dukes after a strong performance during one of the 7-on-7 tournaments. (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

The other guys

Georgia, Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Georgia State hosted him for games this season. The Tigers, obviously, haven’t offered, but Dukes hears “every other day” from co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Tony Elliott.

“We talk on the phone sometimes, but every time I see him, he asks about my family,” Dukes said. “Since we’re from the same area — he’s from James Island; I’m from Charleston — we talk about stuff going on back home. We talk about stuff like that.

“And he said that they’re still keeping an eye on me.”

Looking ahead

Dukes accounted for more than 2,500 yards and 37 touchdowns as a junior. His rushing numbers were 2,200 yards and 34 scores.

The offer list, which also includes Georgia State and Old Dominion, is likely to grow in the coming weeks and months.

While there’s no list of favorites or a timeline for a commitment, there are some factors that will be considered before a decision is reached.

“First, academics,” Dukes said. “Got to have that. And then, what is my relationship with the coaches? Whether the coaching staff is good, then the players.

“My playing time and then the atmosphere of the school overall, whether it’s family — just the atmosphere and environment.”

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South Carolina recruiting-Dorian Gerald-Tennessee
Dorian Gerald unofficially visited for the Arkansas and Clemson games. (Hale McGranahan/SEC Country)

Unofficial visit No. 2 of season

Three-star defensive end Dorian Gerald, who’s considered a soft commitment to Tennessee, visited South Carolina for two games this season: Arkansas and Clemson.

Though he was unable to catch up with defensive line coach Lance Thompson while in town for the Clemson game, Gerald told Phil Kornblut they spoke after the visit.

“[Thompson] said they wanted to see me after the game and wanted me to stick around, but I had to leave,” Gerald said. “I had no control over it.”

A West Florence (S.C.) High School graduate, he’s now enrolled at College of the Canyons, so he’ll have two years to play at Tennessee, South Carolina or anywhere else he decides to play, presumably in February.

In the meantime, Gerald continues to weigh his options. Apparently, he’s heard from other Gamecocks, not just Thompson and the coaching staff.

“A lot of the players reached out to me and expressed that they really wanted me to be a part of the program,” Gerald said. “If the coaches are telling the players this is a guy we need, go after him, it really means something. That says a lot.”

He added, “They are headed in the right direction. It’s my home state and that’s definitely something special I would love to be a part of.”

The No. 11 JUCO prospect in the country is also ranked No. 1 among the strongside defensive ends.

Miss a previous edition of Spurs Up Surveillance? Get caught up here.

The post South Carolina recruiting: 2019 RB Michel Dukes returns; 2018 DE still in play appeared first on SEC Country.

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