Mann, Cushing to face each other (again) for State

Louisville commit Darius Mann and Don Bosco Prep will once again face U of L prospect Brian Cushing and Bergen Catholic for the New Jersey State Championship. ITV spoke with both Mann and Cushing about the upcoming contest.

It's a familiar thing this time of year. For the third consecutive season, Don Bosco Prep will face rival Bergen Catholic for the New Jersey State Championship on the first weekend in December at Giants Stadium.

The only difference between this year's contest and the previous two meetings is that the Cardinal football faithful will have a high interest in the game that will include Louisville commit Darius Mann of Bosco and Brian Cushing of Bergen, who has become one of the most desired prospects.

"This will be the biggest game of the year in North Jersey," Mann told Inside the Ville. "Whenever we play it is a good game. Both teams are always prepared very well."

Cushing, who's Bergen squad fell to Bosco earlier this season 42-21, shares similar thoughts to the season-ending state title game.

"It'll be real big," added the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Cushing. "This will be my last chance to get a win against them in the title game."

In addition to defeating Bergen earlier this year, Bosco has won the previous two meetings in state championship, including a narrow 14-13 win in 2003.

Mann and Cushing have grown to have quite a bit of respect for each other's abilities over the past season and have nothing but compliments for each other.

"He's all over the field," Cushing said of Mann. "He's the kind of guy that if you come anywhere near him, he'll make the play. He makes great tackles and will chase anyone down."

"He's a Big East, Big 10 kind of guy," said Mann of Cushing. "He's a smashmouth type of player. He'll come up and hit you."

While the two are projected by most as defensive players in college, Mann a safety and Cushing a linebacker, they have each claimed a larger role on the offensive side of the ball later in their senior seasons.

"We didn't see much of Darius on offense against us the first time, but he still scored on us twice," said Cushing, who has recorded 102 tackles, 8 sacks and an interception on the season. "He's just as good on offense."

"I saw Brian play against St. Joesph's and he had a huge game on offense," explained Mann, who, despite missing two games leads the team with 65 tackles, including 8 for a loss and 2 sacks. "He is a big and powerful running back."

While the meeting between the two rival school's will provide plenty of excitement, the chance to play on the turf at Giant Stadium also adds to the game experience.

"It's awesome to play there and to know that you are playing on the same field as the NFL guys," Cushing explained. "The whole atmosphere will be great."

With the game not until the first weekend of December, both teams will have ample time to prepare for each other, however, Bosco will play its annual Thanksgiving game, while Bergen won't play again until the championship game.

"It could both help and hurt us," Cushing said of the layoff. "We'll get a good rest, so we should be healthy, so I think it'll help us more than hurt us."

The title game between the two national high school powers will be broadcast on the MSG network.


  • Brian Cushing, who will make an official visit to Louisville, along with Darius Mann, on December 17th, is considering an official trip to USC this weekend to see the Trojans play Notre Dame. "I'm might take my official visit to USC this weekend for that game, but I'm not 100% sure yet." Cushing plans on making all five official visits before making a decision, with Miami, Notre Dame and Virginia all likely receiving trips.
  • As a U.S. Army All-American participant, many might have thought that Cushing, a 5-star prospect, may announce his decision during the game, however that doesn't appear to be the case. "I'll do it on signing day, whether it's on t.v. or not. It would be cool if it was on ESPN, but it doesn't matter."
  • Despite being a solid U of L commit, Darius Mann continues to receive heavy attention from programs such as Rutgers, NC State, Iowa and Purdue.
  • With his continued impressive play on the offensive side of the ball, some programs have increased their interest of possibly playing Cushing on offense. The Cardinals coaching staff however continues to persue him as a defensive standout. "Louisville really wants me on defense, which is fine with me. I'll only play one way in college and defense is fine."

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