Michigan State changed football coaches, but Great Mills High senior Clifford Dukes didn't change his mind.
Dukes, a 6-foot-3, 227-pound linebacker, made an oral commitment Tuesday to accept a full scholarship to play football at Michigan State next season. Dukes initially notified Michigan State of his intentions Nov. 29, but when Coach Nick Saban resigned the next day to become head coach at Louisiana State University, he decided to rethink his decision.
It didn't take long. Longtime assistant Bobby Williams was named the Spartans' new coach Sunday, which meant that all of the assistant coaches Dukes met on his November visit should still be at Michigan State next season. That was enough to persuade Dukes to stay, he said.
"I really liked the coaches [at Michigan State] when I went up for my visit, and it's pretty much the same guys still there now," said Dukes, adding that Maryland was his second choice. "Something just told me to stick with Michigan State."
Dukes led Great Mills this season with 105 tackles, and had an interception and a fumble recovery. He also played fullback for the Hornets, gaining 621 yards with seven touchdowns on 114 carries.