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September 3, 2010

Dukes holding steady

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MANNING, S.C. - - Four-star defensive tackle Phillip Dukes and his Manning squad pulled out a hard-fought win over Marion on Friday night, defeating the Swamp Foxes following a clutch drive capped off by a touchdown catch and a defensive stop to end the game.

"We went hard," Dukes told GamecockCentral.com after the game. "We came through."

For his part, the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder was mostly pleased with his individual performance.

"I feel like I played with a lot of intensity," he said. "I played hard. I could have played a little better though."

On Thursday night, Dukes was in Columbia to take in USC's home opener, a 41-13 win over Southern Mississippi. The talented lineman, who was also on campus for USC's Gamecock Showcase camp in July, liked what he saw.

"I love the atmosphere up there and being around the players and coaches. Great players; they came off the ball hard."

Dukes was asked to name the schools still in contention for his services at this time.

"Clemson, Miami, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama," he listed in no particular order.

Dukes again said on Friday night that he hopes to take some official visits.

"Yeah, I plan on it, but my coach is working that out."

Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier was by Manning earlier in the day one of his evaluation period stops, and Dukes is baffled by all of the recruiting attention he has received.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "I never thought I would have this."

The Palmetto State prospect, ranked by Rivals.com as the fifth-best prospect in the state of South Carolina, also named the factors that will help shape his decision.

"Good education, playing time, and a coaching staff that's going to work me hard, treat me right and respect me," he said.

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