New Aggie: Greene Central's A.J. Dupree signs with N.C. A&T
Greene Central defensive backs coach Jay Wilson, left, shares a story about A.J. Dupree, who committed to N.C. A&T Wednesday at the high school. Dupree is joined by Rams head coach Allen Wooten. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
SNOW HILL | A.J. Dupree is looking to keep the N.C. A&T name strong in football.
On Wednesday, the Greene Central senior signed his commitment letter to the FCS powerhouse with hopes of helping the Aggies continue its recent success. A&T has won three of the past four Celebration Bowls, four of the past five MEAC conference titles and an undefeated campaign in 2017 with a 12-0 record.
Dupree, who plans to major in engineering, said the school was the right fit.
“I felt at home there,” Dupree said. “The coaching staff was really down to Earth, and I plan on bringing the same mentality that I had here at Greene Central — playing my heart out every game.”
Dupree will play as a defensive back for the Aggies, but did a bit of everything for the Rams last season, accounting for 42 tackles and two interceptions defensively and 1,319 yards and 24 touchdowns offensively as a running back. Dupree also threw for about 500 yards as an emergency quarterback.
Rams coach Allen Wooten said Dupree was a phenomenal player and the decision was based on more than just athletics.
“The recruiting process is long and difficult,” Wooten said. “A.J. believed A&T met his needs both athletically and for his education. For us, he really busted his tail and was a great 2-year starter for us on defense. This year, in a lot of games he was the best player on the field — he would defend a team’s best receiver on defense and did a lot for us offensively. Hopefully, he’ll have a great opportunity to play at A&T.”
Greene Central defensive backs coach Jay Wilson played at A&T during his college years and said Dupree had the skills and ethics from the outset.
“The coaches at A&T were really impressed with his physical nature, which was the first selling point,” Wilson said. “They also liked his playmaking skills and his instincts — having the ability to almost see a play before it develops. He has the ability to become a gamechanger with the ball in his hand.”
Rams running back coach Anthony Dupree — A.J.’s father — said his son deserves the moments.
“It’s been a long time coming and he’s put in a lot of work,” Dupree said. “I’ve enjoyed coaching him over the past four years and he’s responded to the challenges.”
Lakecia Dupree, A.J.’s mother, said the academic portion is a very vital piece and her son has made history in the household.
“He’s a first-generation athlete to attend college and I’m excited for him, not just because he’ll have the chance to play athletically, but he’s shown a lot academically,” she said.