2011 Intro: Devonte Cooley

HOPE MILLS, N.C. --- Last fall, Devonte Cooley won Gray's Creek High School $2,500 for placing sixth in the State Farm Friday Night Feats nationwide video contest on YouTube.

"He jumped over two players from Cape Fear," Gray's Creek head football coach David Lovette said. "It was pretty impressive."

"I really wasn't thinking about it," Cooley said of the play. "It just happened, really."

(Watch the highlight play at the bottom of this story)

Including the 44 yards from that highlight play, Cooley, who starts at fullback in Gray's Creek's wing-T offense, rushed for 1,685 yards and 20 touchdowns on 183 carries last season. The 6-foot, 185-pounder also caught 20 passes for 325 yards and a couple of scores.

As a sophomore, Cooley rushed for 1,206 yards and a dozen touchdowns on 186 carries and had 17 receptions for 245 yards and a touchdown.

"He's a good enough athlete that he could be whatever type of running back you need," Lovette said. "He can catch the ball, he can run inside, and he can run outside. When Coach [Wardell] Smith was at East Carolina, he talked about [Cooley's] cutting ability – how he can cut in the middle of the field and not break stride. He can make some real good moves. He's special."

Lovette also raves about Cooley's strength. Cooley's weight room maxes include a 300-pound bench press, a 250-pound power clean, and a 500-pound dead lift.

With a 1,300-yard rusher graduating from Gray's Creek's backfield, Lovette expects more of the offensive burden to fall on Cooley for his senior season.

"If anything, we're going to try to get him the ball a little bit more than we have," Lovette said.

Lovette says colleges are recruiting Cooley as a running back. However, he believes Cooley could play wide receiver or outside linebacker on the college level.

Cooley hasn't received his first scholarship offer, but is receiving significant interest from East Carolina and NC State. He's also hearing from Duke, Clemson, and Wake Forest.

Cooley says he hasn't put much thought into the recruiting process, yet.

"I think East Carolina and State are both his two favorite schools," Lovette said. "I think East Carolina more so, because he liked Coach Smith a lot. But we'll just have to see how the whole recruiting [process] goes and keep his options open as he goes about it."

Cooley has made only one recruiting trip – an NC State football game last season.

Devonte Cooley Profile

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