Manning defensive standout chooses South Carolina

Philip Dukes (Source:
Philip Dukes (Source:

MANNING, SC (WIS) - Standout Manning High defensive tackle Phillip Dukes has decided to play his college football at South Carolina.

Dukes picked the Gamecocks at his high school Tuesday morning. "I've had the decision for a long time," the four-star athlete commented. "I just didn't want to tell anybody."

Dukes had been wooed by South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina and Clemson among others. The 6-foot-3, 295 pound defensive linemen is considered one of the country's top 20 college football prospects.

"The most important factor in my decision was where I would be comfortable and what environment felt like the family environment here at Manning High," Dukes said. "I also wanted to go to a program where I would have the chance to be a part of something special."

Dukes' choice is not official until he sends in a national letter of intent on Wednesday, the first day prospects can sign with schools.

During his four-year career, Dukes had 289 total tackles, 63 of which were for a loss. He had 29 sacks, 15 forced fumbles, and eight blocked kicks.

South Carolina now has just two targets left on the board. Defensive end and top prospect in the country Jadeveon Clowney has the Gamecocks out in front, but it looks as though he will hold off making an announcement until February 14.

Linebacker Cedrick Cooper is also a player South Carolina is chasing. He is down to South Carolina, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. A decision from him is scheduled for National Signing Day on Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved. AP and The Big Spur contributed to this report.