OXFORD, Miss.– The linebacker position has been one of the most scrutinized areas of the Ole Miss football team. Although senior linebacker Detric Bing-Dukes has heard the chatter, he’s tuning out the noise to focus on preparations for the upcoming season.
He understands why folks have questions about a Rebels’ defense that gave up 245.3 yards per game on the ground last season. But instead of dwelling on the past, Bing-Dukes is working hard to improve as well as be a leader on the defense in the process.
Ole Miss linebackers coach Jon Sumrall is happy with what he’s seen so far from the Tucker, Georgia native. “I have really been excited about steps he’s taken to develop himself,” Sumrall said of Bing-Dukes.
“He’s a guy that has been through a lot of things in his college career. He’s seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. And I think because of that, he’s really poised and doesn’t panic, and understands the growth of what it takes to continue to get better.”
Linebackers coach Jon Sumrall
Bing-Dukes grinds hard, seeking perfection each day. At one point last season, he says he realized he wasn’t reading the run fits correctly and was too late reacting to the football. He admits he might have tried to rush the process a little of being an elite linebacker in college football, instead of taking things a little more slowly. Understandably, he wanted to make the “big play” right away, but that doesn’t always happen immediately at the Division 1 level–and Bing-Dukes wants to make sure the younger linebackers understand that.
So in addition to concentrating on elevating his own game, Bing-Dukes is striving to be an example for the younger linebackers who are hoping to make an impact for the Rebels’ defense in 2018.
“I’m trying to let the young guys know to be happy about the baby steps that they are taking,” Bing-Dukes said recently.
“Don’t try to take a big step; be proud about fitting right one day and just build good days on top of good days, trying to stay consistent,” he added.
Josh Clarke, Donta Evans, Zikerrion Baker, Mohamed Sanogo, Jack Raborn, and Ryan Labanc all received reps during spring, while newcomers Jacquez Jones, Jonathan Hess, Luke Knox, and Kevontae’ Ruggs will report this fall and compete for playing time.
Clarke, a redshirt freshman who impressed Rebels’ coaches this spring, has paid attention to what Bing-Dukes tells him about what it takes to be a solid linebacker at the Division 1 level.
“I have been learning a lot from Detric,” the former four-star recruit out of Jefferson, Louisiana said.
“When we are on the field, if there’s something I don’t know, he will sit there and talk to me, telling me what I’ve got to do with the alignment. He’s out there always on my back, but that’s a good thing.”
Linebacker Josh Clarke
Bing-Dukes appeared more loose and upbeat during this year’s spring camp, and says he is taking a page out of former teammate DeMarquis Gates’ playbook—staying alert each time the football is snapped and moving to the ball without hesitation.
“Watching him definitely got me ready for this year to step up and be a leader,” Bing-Dukes said of Gates, who is looking to be drafted in this year’s NFL Draft.
Since his arrival as linebackers coach, following the departure of Bradley Dale Peveto, Coach Sumrall has been impressed with the tremendous growth he has seen in Bing-Dukes.
“Detric has really shown a lot of maturity this spring,” Sumrall said.
“He has put in a lot of work in the film room. He’s trying to help lead other guys and help them become more confident in what they’re doing in their ability to help themselves grow as well.“
Coach Sumrall on Bing-Dukes