Dillon “Duke” Doherty has arrived as an elite high school quarterback. And by arrived, we mean he took the state by storm last season as a true dual threat, All-Scholastic QB, accounting for 32 touchdowns in the air and on the ground for the Everett High football team.
Everett head coach Theluxon Pierre showcased Doherty’s versatile skills as the Crimson Tide rolled in to the MIAA playoffs with a six-game winning streak, their Super Bowl hopes only to be derailed in a controversial loss to Central Catholic in the Division 1 North semifinal.
But that’s yesterday. Today Duke Doherty’s football career is riding high after the 5-foot-11-inch, 192-pound junior received an offer from the Division 1 U.S. Naval Academy football program.
“I love the school, I love the coaches, and it’s awesome – I’m very blessed to have received that offer from Navy,” said Duke. “Once this [coronavirus] is all over, I will visit the school.”
The Navy coaches took notice of Doherty’s emergence as a bona fide prospect throughout the 2019 campaign. Already an accurate thrower and one of the top passers in the state, Duke kept defenses honest by running for large chunks of yardage. Navy no doubt believes that Duke would be a perfect fit for its triple-option attack.
“I think I would benefit from that because I’m definitely a dual-threat quarterback,” said Duke, while noting that Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Theluxon Pierre said that Doherty is deserving of the accolades being directed his way. He does feel, though, that Doherty should continue in the college selection process.
“I’m a big believer in student-athletes taking their [college] visits and going through the process – because at the end of the day what I think is a good fit might not be a good fit because we all have different things that make us go,” said Pierre. “I tell all my players to take your visits.”
Pierre is familiar with Navy’s run-first style of offense and can envision Duke running the show at Navy. “Duke is a running, option type of quarterback who can read defenses well,” lauded Pierre. “He’s an awesome kid.”
Since receiving the offer from Navy, Duke has been getting congratulatory wishes from teammates, classmates, friends and Crimson Tide supporters.
“It’s definitely a good one. I waited for this opportunity my whole life to receive a Division 1 scholarship,” said Duke.
Other colleges that have Duke Doherty on their radar are Army, Air Force, Villanova, Fordham, URI, and Monmouth.
Inspiration from his father
Duke is the son of Rob Doherty and Jo Melaugh Doherty, who grew up next door in Charlestown.
Rob had a successful football career himself at Winthrop High School, helping to lead the smallest school in the Northeastern Conference to perennial glory. Rob was a member of a Winthrop Super Bowl team. That bowl game versus Westford Academy was played before thousands of fans at Winthrop’s Miller Field. Rob competed in four varsity seasons for the Vikings under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Tony Fucillo. Rob also coached his son Duke in the Winthrop Youth Football organization.
It was Rob Doherty who first started calling his son, “Duke,” which is actually his true middle name. “But when my friends would come over to the house, they would hear my mom say, ‘Dillon,’ so they got the best of both worlds,” recalled Duke.
Following his years at Winthrop High, Rob served in the United States Marine Corps. His service to the country makes Duke’s offer from Navy all the more significant.
“I’m very proud of my dad’s service in the Marine Corps, so I definitely have a military background so that’s been inspirational to me,” said Duke. “Back then my father really taught me everything I knew about football as my coach. I’m so thankful for my parents’ support.”
“He’s a good kid,” said Rob proudly.
Looking ahead to his senior year
There is no question that Division 1 prospect Duke Doherty and the Everett High football team will be an exciting group to watch this fall. Everett’s offense should be entertaining, to say the least. Everett will contend for the No. 1 ranking in Massachusetts.
Doherty will have at least two outstanding receivers in heavily recruited player Ishmael Zamor and All-Scholastic Tyreese Baptiste. Samy Lamothe is generating big-time attention. Sophomore defensive end Jaylen Murphy is a Division 1 prospect as well. The Tide will be tested right away with non-league games against Xaverian, St. John’s of Shrewsbury, and BC High.
Doherty has had some notable performances since succeeding Jake Willcox as the starting quarterback. In a win over Mansfield before a capacity crowd on the road, Doherty had four touchdown passes (two to Michigan’s Mikey Sainristil) and rushed for another. He led the Tide to an impressive victory over perennial South power Xaverian.
He said Everett High has helped him prepare thoroughly for college.
“I’m thankful for the Everett High teachers who are really genuine, dedicated people,” said Duke. “Athletically, Coach Pierre is definitely the best coach I’ve ever had. He’s always been there for me and it wasn’t just football. And I did have a year with Coach [John] DiBiaso, who’s the GOAT.”
Duke said the offer from Navy reaffirms his faith in his own abilities as a football player.
“I think the best part about this is that my whole life people always said I was not good enough or tall enough to even think about college football, so this feels really good to prove myself as a player,” said Duke.