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McDuffie, Lewis sign letters of intent

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Dexter McDuffie (left) and Emannuel Lewis sign their letters of intent for Track and Field. McDuffie will attend The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, while Lewis will attend the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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By Jake Keator
The Daily Reflector

Friday, June 15, 2018

South Central football and track and field athletes Dexter McDuffie and Emannuel Lewis both signed letters of intent to attend The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, respectively, on Thursday afternoon. 

“Obviously they are great athletes, but they also have tremendous character,” head track and field coach and football assistant Robert Wolbert said of his athletes, addressing their families. “As parents, you did an excellent job at raising these two young men. They were two leaders we had for four years as I’ve coached them in track and field. They are ‘Yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am’ type of individuals who have great character.”

Despite both competing in track and on the gridiron, both will run track at the next level.

McDuffie’s recruiting journey began quite late, receiving Div. II and III offers. He made the decision to wait until after the North Carolina 4-A state track and field meet, where he won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles for the second straight year, to make his final choice on where to attend college.

The decision paid off, as McDuffie received an offer from Charlotte. As the Falcons’ starting quarterback in 2017, McDuffie threw for 2,379 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also showed off his speed, running  for 1,238 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns.

“I feel very excited (about moving onto UNC-C). I know I have a bunch of people at UNC-C with open arms ready to see me succeed and blossom in their program,” McDuffie said of his feelings for the future.

Lewis, a star long jumper and wide receiver for the Falcons, will be moving on to UNC-Pembroke. Lewis also had choices to make as an athlete, as he was a target for several football programs, including East Carolina. Lewis added that he had received a mix of scholarship and walk-on offers from several universities for football.

He credited Pembroke assistant track and field coach Patrick Heckroth for sticking with his football career, regularly asking him about his progress. The talks showed Lewis that Heckroth was “a loyal coach.”

“He would always ask, ‘How’d your game go? How did football practice go?’ He was loyal, he stuck with me. Football (offers) really just came in June, that’s when the coaches started coming out,” Lewis said. “So that’s when I thought, ‘You know, coach Heckroth has been loyal to me, he’s a great coach and has a great program, so I’m going to be loyal to him.”

As one of the Falcons’ top receivers, Lewis caught 16 touchdowns, good for 1,118 yards. Lewis’ work ethic helped him excel both on the track and on the field. 

When asked about what their favorite memories of South Central will be, McDuffie recalled the numerous bus rides from track meets and football games. Lewis couldn't help but smile for his answer.

“For me, it’s definitely when we beat J.H. Rose,” Lewis said, which was followed by smiles from his coaches, including head coach Andy Tew.

Contact Jake Keator at 252-329-9594 or jkeator@reflector.com and follow @JakeKeatorDR on twitter.

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