Catching up with Duke and JC

Friday Night Lights plays host to hundreds of high school football players every single year. The players in attendance range from the highest rated 5-star prospects in the country, all the way down to players who are under the radar and just looking for an opportunity to impress the coaching staff at Florida and learn some new techniques to add to their game.

Among the list of attendees this year were a couple of players who have already pledged their commitment to the University of Florida. Players like Will Grier and Khairi Clark decided to work out under the lights on Florida field while others, like Duke Dawson, Dalvin Cook and JC Jackson, chose to use the trip to Gainesville to build stronger relationships with the coaching staff and future teammates.

After taking in the evening, both Jackson and Dawson met with Gator Country to break down their visit, update us on what they’ve been up to this summer, and to talk about their future plans.

Gator Country: Duke, you’ve been staying with JC in Immokalee, what have you guys been doing down there?

Duke Dawson: We did a lot of DB drills and a lot of conditioning. I’ve got to get myself in shape.

JC Jackson: You know I had to bring him down there, show him how it is. We had a good time.

GC: So you’re in shape JC, and you had to bring Duke down to Immokalee to get him in shape?

JC: JC: Yeah, that’s my boy right there.

Duke: [Laughing] He isn’t in shape like he says that he is. I’m in shape, but not like I want to be.

GC: Duke, what’s the biggest thing you’re working on now?

Duke: Getting quicker, getting faster and a lot of technique.

GC: Who are some of the freshmen that you guys hung out with and talked to tonight?

Duke: I know a lot of them. I know Vernon [Hargreaves] and Marcell [Harris], which is my cousin. I met Alex [Anzalone], Ahmad [Fulwood] and Nick [Washington]. Me and Nick are cool too. I talked to Dalvin Cook and Richard Yeargin. I talked to Adoree’ [Jackson]. Me and Adoree’ have been cool since we met up in Oregon.

JC: I talked to all the same people. We’re like brothers now, so we talked to all the same people.

GC: What was the night like being able to just relax on the sidelines and watch the event?

JC: It was nice to sit back and chill.

Duke: [Laughing] It was nice watching other people work.

GC: Changing pace a little bit, how was the food after FNL?

JC: That food was good, that Gator food! They had macaroni and hamburgers.

Duke: That food was good!

GC: Duke, who’s funnier coach T-Rob [Travaris Robinson] or JC?

Duke: Man, both of them. They’re both funny, those are my guys.

GC: Is T-Rob your favorite coach?

Duke: I like all the coaches; I have a nice relationship with all the coaches.

JC: Me too.

GC: Do you guys have any plans to come back up and visit?

JC: I think we’re coming back up next Monday for practice.

Duke: Yeah, Coach Muschamp wants us to come up for a practice.

GC: Are you going to come up for the home opener against Toledo?

Duke: I’ll probably be up for it.

JC: I don’t know.

GC: JC, what expectations do you have heading into your senior season?

JC: I just try to stay in shape and not get too big. I just want to stay in shape. You know I’m going to get interceptions. That just comes naturally to me.

GC: Would you rather pick off a pass or catch a touchdown?

JC: Pick a ball off. I like playing defense.

Duke:  Same thing with me, pick a ball off. That’s going to be live to pick a ball off in The Swamp.


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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC