Donte Wooten had the best of both worlds his senior season at Southeast Raleigh.
He played with and against two of the top high school football players in the Triangle last season – training that will benefit the 6-foot-4, 280-pound left tackle as he takes the field for the N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star football game in Greensboro on Wednesday.
Wooten will play for the East team at Grimsley High’s Jamieson Stadium along with other standouts of the 2016 class.
On one end, Wooten competed with N.C. State-bound quarterback Dylan Parham.
On the other, he went head-to-head against former Wake Forest defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, the state’s top football player of 2016 who will play at Clemson next season.
“Dylan is an athlete, and Dexter is just – huge. It was fun playing with everybody,” Wooten said during a workout at Southeast on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs finished 4-7 last season, capping off the year with two wins at Harnett Central and against Clayton. One of the only other players Wooten knows on the East team is Clayton offensive lineman Brooks Verona.
It’s an honor. I will definitely come ready to play.
Chowan University-bound Donte Wooten on playing in the East-West game
Wooten, who transferred from Middle Creek to Southeast his junior season, said without the battling the Bulldogs had to endure last season, he may not have been able to make the all-star team. Fighting through adversity made him a stronger player, he said.
“We came together a lot through the season,” Wooten said. “It’s not a team – it’s a family; it’s a brotherhood. I couldn’t do it without them. They put me in the position to be as good as I can.”
Featuring a few high-scoring finishes, Southeast’s offense averaged 31.2 points a game last season. The Bulldogs put up 55 points in their season-opening loss to Greenville Conley, a third-round playoff team.
The East squad took the victory in last year’s All-Star game.
“The offensive line ... is part of the game that doesn’t get a lot of shine but is one of the most important,” Wooten said. “I’m just going to play my part along with the other people beside me to get the job done.”
Wake Forest cornerback Tyler Thomas was also selected to play on the East team. He led the Cougars with four interceptions last season, averaging 1.6 tackles a game. He also managed a fumble recovery.
The East will be coached by Wilson Fike’s Tom Nelson, while Don Andrews (Corinth Holders), Paul Cornwell (Ayden-Grifton), David Perry (Croatan), Bill Sochovka (Pine Forest) and Beau Williams (Jacksonville) will be the assistants.
Wooten is headed to Chowan University next season after enjoying how much interest the program showed in him, which led him to decide on his first offer.
He said the East-West game can be a good primer for college football. The football team will convene Friday at Grimsley, taking their practice to Southwest Guilford.
“It’s going to be an experience that I won’t forget, for sure,” Wooten said of playing in the game. “I’ve been training, whether it be going to Planet Fitness or coming (to Southeast). (I want to) just live in the moment, absorb the experience. I’m thrilled and ready to play.”
Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan
NCCA East-West All-Star Football Game
Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Jamieson Stadium
Player Pos. HS
Jaquan Artis LB Kinston
Anthony Berry WR Kinston
Kamone Best DB Eastern Wayne
Deandre’ Blevins DB West Johnston
Ethan Bridges LB Croatan
John Brooks WR James Kenan
Rakym Chapman DL J.H. Rose
Isaiah “Tre” Cogdell TE D.H. Conley
Kyle Corbett K Pinecrest
Gabe Ellis OL West Montgomery
Michael Evans TE White Oak
Zack Foster QB Southern Nash
Quintel Goodwin RB Richmond County
Jordan Howard LB North Brunswick
Devon Hunt LB Richmond County
Zach Jacobs OL Cleveland
Clarence Jones RB Northeastern
Blake Joyner WR Clayton
Amorris Liles DL Beddingfield
Hunter Louthan TE Hoggard
Timon McMillan OL Scotland
Cameron Moore DB West Montgomery
Charles Nobles LB New Bern
Trey Owens DB Havelock
Roderick Perry DL Cary
Jaleel Scroggins DB Southern Durham
Mazani Stubbs DL Scotland County
Tyler Thomas DB Wake Forest
Paul Underwood RB Seventy-First
R-Kel Vera DL Jack Britt
Brooks Verona OL Clayton
Tre Wade QB Greene Central
Isaac Williams OL Panther Creek
Donovan Wirt LB Hoke County
Donte Wooten OL Southeast Raleigh
Head Coach: Tom Nelson, Fike. Assistants: Don Andrews, Corinth Holders; Paul Cornwell III, Ayden-Griffin; David Perry, Croatan, Bill Sochovka, Pine Forest; Beau Williams, Jacksonville