Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin wide receiver Jaron Dukes commitment today to Michigan comes almost a full year before he will be able to sign a national letter of intent with the Wolverines, but even that date was late for the 6-5, 200-pound receiver.
"He actually would have done it three weeks ago if his mom and I would have let him," Marion-Franklin head coach Brian Haffele said Wednesday afternoon. "But we wanted him to go see other universities and do the research before Michigan before he committed. He fulfilled our requirements and we were convinced that he was ready."
Dukes made the call to Michigan coaches on Wednesday to inform them of his decision. The commitment comes less than two weeks after he took his first recruiting visit to Ann Arbor.
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"I think he felt really comfortable with the coaching staff," Haffele said. "He liked the academic stuff up there and they had the stuff that he wanted to major in. Then, I think he wanted to get away from home but he didn't want to be a plane-ride away from home.
"He's excited to play in the Big House and his family is from Michigan so he has always had a dream to play for Michigan. To see that come to fruition is exciting for him."
Having spent the last three years around Dukes, and recent months interacting with the Michigan coaching staff during their recruitment of his player, Haffele sees it as a good match.
"I think it is a good fit for him," Haffele said. "The one thing that Ann Arbor offers that Columbus doesn't is Ohio State is in a big city and Michigan is in a small college town. I think personality-wise, a small college town fits Jaron better than a big city."
This past season, Dukes 36 balls for 670 yards and seven touchdowns for Marion-Franklin. Haffele feels his star receiver's best days are still ahead of him, however.
"He is a kid who is very coachable and his ceiling is through the roof," Haffele said. "He has only been playing football for three years. I've had a couple other big wideouts who went on to play in the NFL and he is probably more ready to play Division I than they were at this point in his career.
"He has a lot of work to do in the weight room this off-season, but him as an individual kid and how he carries himself, he'll do well up there."