North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.
A rare combination of speed and power, Manny DeShauteurs evoked comparisons with NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders as he churned out record rushing totals at Brevard High School in the late 1990s. He gained 6,632 yards during his prep career, including 2,983 in a season that helped earn him recognition as the NCHSAA’s Male Athlete of the Year for 1999-2000.
“Manny was something else,” his high school coach Dan Essenberg said in a 2013 interview on the occasion of DeShauteurs being named one of the NCHSAA’s “100 to Remember” male athletes and coaches in the state. “Every time he got it, he was a threat to go all the way. If you tried to wrap him up, he’d make you miss. If you tried to knock him down, he’d run you over.”
DeShauteurs was a four-time all‑conference selection whose most memorable performance came in 1999 when he rushed for 393 yards in a 38-0 win against Tuscola. He finished that season with 42 touchdowns, which at the time was the third-most in state history. Defensively, he was credited with more than 200 tackles and eight interceptions.
Despite all that production, Division I college coaches shied away from him because of his 5-foot-7, 180-pound stature. It also didn’t help that his performance in the classroom didn’t always match his performance on the football field.
He eventually ended up at Western Carolina where, after sitting out a year to get his academics in order, he became both a better student and a reliable performer for the Catamounts, finishing his career with 1,356 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in four seasons.
As productive as DeShauteurs was on the gridiron, he was equally as successful on the wrestling mat. He won the 2A state championship at 187 pounds his senior year and was a four-time regional titlist on his way to an impressive 109-7 career record.