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Dunbar's Deontay McManus has many DI options

Two years ago college football recruiters flocked to Dunbar for a glimpse at record-breaking running back Tavon Austin. Now the Poets have another national recruit drawing all sorts of attention from Division I coaches.

Deontay McManus, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior, is a physical wide receiver and playmaking safety for the 5-1 Poets. According to Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith, McManus already has scholarship offers from Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina State, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina and Virginia.

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"They compare him to [Ravens wide receiver] Anquan Boldin because he has the same physical makeup," Smith said. "He's built like a man. That's the biggest thing – his physicality. He's a real physical-type player. That really sets him apart at the high school level."Smith has known McManus since he was about six years old, thanks to a friendship with his mother and uncle. As McManus progressed through the Pop Warner ranks, Smith saw a star in the making. McManus proved his coach right soon after he first suited up for the Poets. He's made serious strides off the field as well.

"He's really focusing in the classroom – that's the big thing right now," Smith said. "We always knew he could play. [Maryland coach] Ralph Friedgen came down last Friday. But just the biggest thing is him excelling in the classroom. That's the biggest difference for why I know he's going to be able to make it."

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With Austin as the centerpiece of Dunbar's offense, the Poets reeled off three consecutive Class 1A state championships. Smith won't predict similar success for McManus and company, but he is optimistic for the rest of Dunbar's 2010 season.

"We feel we can make another run if we keep our offense on track over the course of the season and keep getting better each week and just keep making moves," he said.

Note: Former Dunbar linebacker and running back Nathan Ayers, The Baltimore Sun's 2009 All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year, is doing a post-grad year at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y. Ayers, who had scholarship offers from Central Michigan, Morgan State, Toledo, Towson and UNLV, is playing running back for the Falcons. "He's doing pretty good the last time I talked to him," Smith said. "He wanted to try and get bigger DI offers."

Baltimore Sun photo of Deontay McManus by Lloyd Fox / Nov. 21, 2009

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