A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Cooley commits to Wake Forest

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Southern Nash junior running back Quinton Cooley recently put to rest his college recruitment by offering a verbal commitment to the Demon Deacons of head coach Dave Clawson.

In the Firebirds’ wild 57-56 second-round loss to Eastern Alamance in the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A playoffs, Cooley amassed a school-record 413 yards on 33 carries and four TDs.

But what makes those numbers stand out even more was the fact that Cooley played most of the contest with a separated shoulder. On multiple occasions, Cooley, after N.C. State freshman Zonovan Knight was lost to an ankle injury, would have to come to the sidelines to have the shoulder popped back into place.

Cooley also had a standing offer from the United States Naval Academy.

“I love Wake because of the facilities and the relationships that I’ve built with Coach (running backs coach John) Hunter,” Cooley said. “When I went there, he was like my middle school coach, I built a relationship with him.”

Cooley recounted the story of Hunter coming to visit Southern Nash on the opening day of a recruiting period. Once Cooley was put through the paces, Wake Forest wasted little time in extending a scholarship offer.

While he won’t be in the vaunted double-wing offense at Wake Forest, it will cost the school a substantial, albeit undisclosed, amount to part with Clawson anytime soon. The coach signed an extension that keeps him in Winston-Salem through the 2026 season after the Demon Deacons won their third straight bowl game last season.

“The first day they were recruiting, they came out to the school and showed me love,” Cooley said. (Hunter) came to the school and did a couple of drills and then he offered me. He said, ‘Now, it’s the first day of recruiting and I’m not going anywhere else except for Southern Nash to recruit you.’”

The verbal is not binding yet, but that doesn’t matter to Cooley.

“Nah, I’m not going anywhere else,” he said. “I love Wake Forest.”


Southern Nash freshman running back/defensive back Jackson Vick picked up an FBS offer from Charlotte, while SouthWest Edgecombe junior lineman Jaquez Powell gave a verbal pledge to East Carolina in April.

Powell has also been offered by other FBS schools, including Charlotte and Georgia State. FCS James Madison has also offered Powell.