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North's Saint-Amour making his mark at Georgia Southern

Though he moved away to Statesboro, Manrey Saint-Amour's heart is never far from North Gwinnett.

He said he would track the Bulldogs' football team and keep up with his old coaches anyway, but it helps that his younger brother Anree is a sophomore football player at North.

"I definitely keep up with what's going on at North," the Georgia Southern offensive lineman said. "I love North."

Saint-Amour is just a few years removed from a standout high school career with the Bulldogs. He was the Touchdown Club of Gwinnett's offensive lineman of the year as a senior in 2010, when he had a whopping 174 knockdown blocks.

He was quick and strong, but most notably tenacious as a blocker. The latter trait has served him well at the college level, too.

Saint-Amour fought his way into the rotation last fall as a true freshman, eventually earning Freshman All-Southern Conference honors from the league's coaches. He is now the starting center for a Georgia Southern team with lofty goals of winning SoCon and national titles.

"We're just trying to win and take it game by game," said Saint-Amour, whose good friend and fellow North grad Jeff Ward is a GSU reserve offensive lineman. "I'm just doing what I can to help the team win."

The Haitian-born lineman is better equipped for his college role thanks to some added bulk. The 6-foot-1, 263-pounder, through heavy eating and working out, is much bigger than his high school playing weight of 230.

"It's weird (to be 260-plus)," Saint-Amour said. "I feel a little slow, but it's good, though. I feel like I'm stronger."

Saint-Amour is part of a heavy Gwinnett contingent on the Georgia Southern roster, including fellow offensive linemen Ward, Trevor McBurnett (Peachtree Ridge), Raymond Klugey (Norcross) and Austin Hagan (Mill Creek).

Running back Dominique Swope (Buford), wide receiver Mitchell Williford (Peachtree Ridge), defensive end Dion DuBose (Norcross) and snapper Jake Banta (Collins Hill) also are Gwinnett products starting for GSU.