Penn State RB Curtis Dukes Tells Fizz He’s Staying, Will Not Transfer to SU

The Watertown product was hoping to join the Orange but never felt mutual interest.


Penn State RB Curtis Dukes tells The Fizz he is staying in Happy Valley, and will not join Syracuse. Last night, after things had cooled down over the last 48 hours on the possible transfer front, Dukes confirmed to us via text that none his potential landing schools followed up, and that he will remain a Nittany Lion for his final two years of eligibility.

“I’m just going to stay at PSU” 

The 6’2″, 240 lb. power back played his high school ball near Watertown, at Indian River, and rushed for nearly 6 yards per carry last season behind standout Silas Redd (who is transferring to USC). Dukes was looking for a new home since the NCAA dropped the hammer on PSU. Dukes told The Fizz he definitely had interest in returning home to play his college ball if SU wanted him. But apparently Doug Marrone did not reach out. I asked Marrone at Big East Media Day in Newport Tuesday about potential PSU transfers. He said there was nothing happening.

“We were contacted by some players in the beginning. Honestly, right now at this present time, we are not involved with any Penn State player or any situation at Penn State.”

One of those players was Dukes. He had his Indian River Coach Cory Marsell contact the SU coaching staff earlier this week. Marsell tells The Fizz he asked the Syracuse staff to get in touch with Marrone and reach out to Curtis. That never happened. Dukes was certainly serious about transferring to a different program this fall. Because of the NCAA sanctions imposed on PSU, any player could transfer to another school and play immediately. He had received interest from Purdue, Hawaii and Florida Atlantic, but told The Fizz earlier this week, SU would have been the best fit.

“Syracuse is very good program. I would seriously consider playing for them. Being able to play in front of the home crowd, it would be nice to play in front of them. It is closer to home for my family.”

For Dukes, no school he was interested in showed enough interest to leave Penn State. While he won’t be able to play in the postseason, he does get to compete under a former NFL assistant in Bill O’Brien, in one of the most powerful conferences in the nation for the next two years. Any Penn State players have until next summer to transfer as well, although that would be heading into his senior year. He expressed his discontent to The Fizz.

“Yes, it is difficult for me because I would want to play in a bowl game. I feel like it’s not fair because all the hard work we put in I feel like we deserve some type of BCS standing or bowl bid. I’m definitely upset about that.”

At Big East Media Day, Coach Marrone had acknowledged he did get a call from Coach Marsell, but obviously could not discuss Dukes directly. Sounds like he didn’t want to submarine the current or incoming players that had already pledged trust and faith in his program.

“Have you looked at our roster? I just think it’s a difficult situation. What people have to understand is that, we have people on our roster that we’ve recruited, I’ve talked to, I’ve said things to, and we’re excited about them. And I think you have to be careful about what type of message you send. But at the same time, don’t get me wrong on my message, if there was a player that could help us be a better football team, we would pursue them. As of right now, we’re not pursuing any player at Penn State.”

So with camp opening in just days for both schools, it seems the saga of Curtis Dukes will come to an end. Although he is a solid athlete and a great downhill runner, Marrone felt there is no need to bring in another tailback. O’Brien has also publicly lauded Marrone for how he has respectfully handled the poaching of Penn State players. The two have a very close relationship. Maybe this was also a case of right and wrong for Doug.

Dukes admits it has been such a chaotic tim, he wouldn’t ever want to deal with ever again.

“Yes, it’s definitely overwhelming. With all the distractions going on, and us getting ready for football games and practices, it’s really been a dysfunctional time in our program. It really does effect us.”

Dukes was once recruited by Greg Robinson out of high school in ’08 and ’09, and had Syracuse high on his list before ultimately choosing the Nittany Lions. Marsell believes the most beneficial element of Curtis’ game is his drive on and off the field.

“Curtis’ biggest asset is his work ethic, he’s willing to put in the extra time, he’s always in the weight room, trying to strengthen himself. His ability to keep on pushing when others have other things on their minds, that’s probably Curtis’ biggest strength.”

And now you can only wish Dukes the best at PSU, as the program starts to trudge through some dark years in the near future. Now that former 1,000-yard rusher Redd has transferred to USC, it is likely that Dukes will lead the PSU offense this season in the backfield. As much as he wanted to become a member of SU, Orange Nation won’t get the chance to see that happen.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

17 Comments on this Post

  1. Norma Stitz

    Good for him, honestly wish him the best of luck and success. And good for Marrone for staying loyal to the kids he recruited and chose SU. Go ORANGE!

  2. Russell MacEachern

    Same here….who needs him?…Lets stick with those who want to be here!!He’s gonna need luck…

  3. Russell MacEachern

    thank’s from PSU for your courtesy Dougie while BoB strip’s NY/NJ of our best recruit’s…courtesy in D1 football w/cost you… I can’t help myself fella’s…Lol

  4. Mike Hawk (aka Norma)

    Yeah because Dukes is a hugely sought after player. Did you see the list of teams that inquired about him? Yeah ok.

  5. i think coach marrone made the right call on this situation. thats why local kids really need to consider this when being recruited to play here in the begining. either you get homsick, you don’t get enough playing time, or your team goes on probation. you need to take syracuse university’s offer seriously when you were offered out of high school.

  6. Russell MacEachern

    @Yea Mike not exactly “murderers row” of D1 football…feel’s funny calling you Mike…I see what you mean ” it kinda stuck”…that Dipper kid is funny and I enjoy the youthfullness of his posts..

  7. Kevin Fitzgerald

    I certainly see where Marrone is coming from. Camp opens in a couple days and it would be late to bring in a new RB to learn a new system. But let’s not let the pride overtake us. It’s always great to stay loyal, but this is a kid who would absolutely would make your program better. We can say we don’t need him, but this is a program coming off a 5-7 season and know has the most difficult non-conference schedule in country.

    Mike Hawk:
    The reason why he and a lot of other PSU players did not get a lot of looks from top teams is because of how late it is. Like I said, camps open in a couple days. Yes, the NCAA is allowing players to transfer whenever they’d like, but it’s not that simple.

    You still need to at least talk with this kid. He came to you. He came knocking on your programs door, looking to come back to CNY region, and you don’t even give him a look.

  8. Russell MacEachern

    @Kev,yeah too tell ya the truth I sympathize w/Dukes,..I sense he wanted to come home and we shut him out….I hope the “Dougie” don’t regret this move…why lock out local talent?…”Norma” and I both wanted this guy!!


    You know guys I had a feeling the minute I saw he sat out the spring due to grades that he might be a non starter for a transfer. It is very hard to get a player with bad grades eligible on a transfer when hes coming to a school like SU that may not have even accepted some classes he got good grades in because of different institutional standards. Marrone already had to jump through hoops for other transfers this year he probably knew it wouldn’t work. For this years eligibility. Don’t forget there are other circumstances involved when you set out to write an article that honestly reads a little more like the Inquirer IMHO. Newhouse standards boys come on.

  10. Norma Stitz

    @kevin- Espn reported that UGA spoke with 19 kids! 8 players transferred to programs such as Texas, USC, CAL,LSU,FSU,NCSTate, Illini etc. So there was plenty of time for programs to offer and move on players and no big programs moved on Dukes. So that argument is not valid. But Russ is correct I would have been completely fine with him being Orange. But I defer to the coaching staffs decision and they must have had a reason or reasons.

    @russ- yeah I got caught in this joke( using Norma) and now I feel odd being referred to as a woman’s name! Hahaha oh well my own jackass fault. Jokes on me!

  11. Russell MacEachern

    @Norma,but you gotta admit its a hell of an avatar….sometime’s I say things I wish I was’nt using my real name saying

  12. Norma Stitz

    That is. A good point Russ!
    Ps. New SU athletics roster has Chris Clark WR juco, Devon Walls juco DT Raymon Iowa DE transfer and Quinta Funderburke Arkansas WR transfer are on the list! Great news!!!!!!!

  13. Norma Stitz

    Marrone says Quinta will have to sit a year but will get to practice so that is good. Will be huge next year if he can keep his grades in line, and off the field stuff. Hopeful. SU still waiting to see if Raymon can get waiver to play this year.

  14. Norma Stitz

    Just saw a picture of Adonis and he does look way different! Lost a bunch of weight and looks fit. That is great!

  15. I saw that picture of AAM too. He looks like a very likeable 12-year old boy.

  16. Norma Stitz

    Yeah he always had a baby face look to him. Kinda like Antwan Bailey.

  1. […] a Syracuse blog, broke the news that the upstate New York native Dukes will be sticking with the Lions.  It was no secret that […]

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