On just his second recruiting visit to Duke on Saturday, Northern Nash junior Quay Mann was sitting down for a meal with other prospects when a Blue Devils assistant football coach stopped at his table.
Mann was told that head coach David Cutcliffe wanted to meet with him and his mother and father in his office.
The family walked to the office where, to Mann’s relief, Cutcliffe delivered an official scholarship offer to play for Duke beginning in 2013.
“I didn’t know what to say to him,” Mann said. “He told me he just had a feeling about me that I could be a great player for him.”
Mann told Cutcliffe he would weigh the offer after attending the program’s spring game activities, and Monday night, he verbally accepted, making him the fifth Blue Devils commitment in the class of 2013.
Mann, a three-year starter at Northern Nash, will seemingly give Duke one of the state’s better athletes.
Mann, who is a 5-foot-9, 185-pound versatile threat at cornerback, punt returner, running back and wide receiver, finished last season with six interceptions. The 2011 Telegram All-Area first-Team Defense has 4.41 speed, and lately, he has used his fleetness and skill at combines to impress Division I schools.
He recently was ranked as the No. 5 cornerback in the state after an impressive showing at the Rivals.com/VTO North Carolina Elite 100 combine during the weekend.
Mann, will compete against some of the better players in the nation next month at the ESPN Nike camp in Charlotte.
“I love lining up against another guy, and I have to be the one to beat him,” Mann said. “Either he can score or I can get an interception and get the ball back to our offense.”
Mann, 17, will be the second Twin Counties athlete to sign with Duke in the past three years. TaKoby Cofield, a Tarboro graduate, is an redshirt sophomore offensive lineman.
“He has always had the talent, but he has worked so hard in the weightroom,” Northern Nash coach Mickey Crouch said. “He has been dedicated to the game of football. He buys into the coaching and the system.
“He has never questioned a thing. He practices hard and plays hard. I don’t think we could have a better representative than him. He’s a good kid and an excellent student.”
Mann also has received interest from Virginia Tech, Air Force, Ohio State and Vanderbilt.
His recruitment is still open because he cannot officially sign with Duke until February, but Mann said he is sold on the academic and athletic opportunities in Durham.
“I didn’t want to be one of those players that wait and have all these options that stress them out,” Mann said. “I felt Duke was a great fit for me. It was the first offer for a reason.”
Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or firstname.lastname@example.org