Blankenship (6-3, 295) played center, guard and tackle at Davie County High School for head coach Doug Illing, although he missed half of his senior campaign after breaking bones in his foot. He served as a co-captain as a senior for a squad that finished 8-3 and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. He was named to the Associated Press all-state first-team as a junior and played in the 2012 Shrine Bowl.
Cherry (5-11, 175) played wide receiver and defensive back at New Bern High School for head coach Bobby Curlings, where he earned all-state honors on defense from NCPreps.com. As a senior, he tallied 39 catches for 795 yards and nine touchdowns, while also recording 46 tackles, 24 PBUs and four interceptions, returning two for a score. He returned two kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns while helping lead his team to the 4A state championship and a perfect 15-0 record. In the championship game, a 39-38 comeback win over Porter Ridge, he had four catches for 89 yards and four rushes for 56 yards and a touchdown.