Jake Mann, a five-star Northwood long snapper, commits to Florida State

“It takes a lot of stress off,” the senior said.

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 9/19/20

PITTSBORO — Northwood’s star long snapper will wear the garnet and gold next fall.

Jake Mann announced on Twitter early Saturday that he’d committed to Florida State football …

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Jake Mann, a five-star Northwood long snapper, commits to Florida State

“It takes a lot of stress off,” the senior said.

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Posted

PITTSBORO — Northwood’s star long snapper will wear the garnet and gold next fall.

Jake Mann announced on Twitter early Saturday he’d committed to Florida State football as a preferred walk-on over Virginia, Arizona State and UNC-Charlotte. The senior’s commitment came a week after an unofficial visit to Tallahassee for the Seminoles’ Sept. 12 season opener against Georgia Tech.

Once back home in Chatham County, Mann said he checked in by phone with FSU special teams coordinator John Papuchis and analyst Curt Baldus. They laid out a detailed final pitch, emphasizing how Mann, a consensus five-star prospect, fit in as their long-term long snapper of the future.

That, combined with his self-guided tour of Florida State’s “really impressive” campus, sealed the deal.

“They made it clear that I had a really good opportunity to start,” Mann told the News + Record on Sunday, “and I thought, ‘It probably doesn’t get better than that.’”

In Mann, Florida State is getting the No. 1 long snapper in the class of 2021, according to Kohl’s Professional Camp rankings. His snap speed — the time it takes a ball to leave the long snapper’s hands and reach the punter 15 yards behind him — has been clocked at an NFL-caliber 0.65 to 0.66 second range. Mann also plays linebacker for Northwood’s football team (and lacrosse in the spring).

As a preferred walk-on — a common route for college special teamers — Mann won’t immediately be on scholarship at Florida State. But he said he’ll have a chance to earn one later in his career, especially if he secures a starting job. That’s a challenge he’s already embracing.

FSU has an entrenched starter at the position in redshirt junior Grant Glennon, who is in his third year as the primary snapper on field goals, punts and extra points. By the time Mann is on the roster in 2021, though, Glennon will be in his final year of eligibility, clearing a path for Mann as a potential successor.

Given that the coronavirus pandemic canceled many of the spring and summer showcase camps he’d planned to attend, Mann was ecstatic for an opportunity like that at a storied ACC program.

Florida State, a three-time national champion that has churned out NFL talent, is in its first year under former Memphis coach Mike Norvell after the program faltered under coach Willie Taggart.

Mann said his family — including father Chris, who long snapped at Delaware in the 1980s — provided constant support and encouragement through the process. They’ve been seriously evaluating schools since April, when Mann got his first three offers from FSU, Virginia and Arizona State. (UNC-Charlotte offered him in June.)

Virginia ended as a close second on Mann’s list. He and his father visited the Charlottesville campus in late August, and Mann had a good relationship with UVa. special teams assistant Drew Meyer.

“He was a phone call,” Mann said. “It was kind of hard to tell them something they didn’t want to hear, but (Meyer) was so supportive and happy for me.”

After alerting other coaches of his decision via Twitter direct message, Mann started drafting an announcement post for his social media accounts. He slept on it Friday, and fired off a simple message Saturday morning at 8:28 a.m.: “Honored. Blessed. Committed.”

And if you were one of the many to wish him well, he may still be getting back to you. After announcing his commitment, Mann spent all of Saturday in a truck, dropping off and picking up deflated bouncy houses around the Triangle for his job at Inflate-A-Party, a rental service business.

“Today’s a catch-up day,” he said Sunday, laughing.

Mann isn’t sure what his senior year at Northwood will look like. As of now, he’s planning to play his final coronavirus-delayed football season in the spring with his teammates, but he’s also willing to graduate in December and enroll early at Florida State, a common practice for recruits.

It all depends on what the FSU coaching staff thinks is best, Mann said, and he won’t the make decision for a few weeks. Regardless, he’s already feeling the relief of having a college plan set in stone. He doesn’t need to get his name out there. He doesn’t need to keep in touch with the coaches of multiple programs every week.

“It takes a lot of stress off,” Mann said. “Now, I’ll just talk to one staff. I know where I’m going."

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

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