As Trey McNutt walked into the Cleveland Browns field house, he covered his face with his hand as his eyes lit up, taking in the scene. As he turned, Browns DT Maurice Hurst greeted McNutt and surprised him with an announcement.
McNutt was selected to represent the Cleveland Browns as part of Nike 'Next Ones' program. During the week of the Super Bowl, McNutt will have the chance to experience behind-the-scenes action at Super Bowl LVIII, compete in a skills challenge and interact with the 31 other top players from across the country and one international athlete selected for the program.
"This is like a crazy opportunity for me, God blessed me with this opportunity," McNutt said with a smile across his face. "I'm here now and it's just, I'm just taking the moment in and really just enjoying it."
McNutt spent most of his childhood in Ohio, growing up in Shaker Heights since the sixth grade. In seventh grade, McNutt started at Shaker Heights Middle School. As a freshman in high school, McNutt was quickly moved up to the varsity football team during his first season.
Then, as a sophomore during the 2022 season, McNutt finished the season with 16 carries for 169 yards and three touchdowns, according to MaxPreps. He also recorded 14 receptions for 308 yards and four touchdowns.
McNutt was also selected as the Week 8 Cleveland Browns High School Game of the Week MVP. Shaker Heights defeated Lorain 34-16 on Oct. 7, 2022, and McNutt finished the game with 10 carries for 127 yards and three touchdowns, as well as four tackles and two pass break-ups.
He then finished the 2023 season with 61 tackles, three tackles for loss, 12 pass breakups and two forced fumbles. On the offensive side of the ball, McNutt finished with 611 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"So, to be able to represent the Browns and the state of Ohio, everybody is repping the Browns," McNutt said. "So, it's like I'm about to show up for y'all. Ohio man, we about to show up for Cleveland."
His mother, LaToya, was also with him on Thursday, beaming with pride as she watched McNutt talk with Hurst, CB Denzel Ward and RB Nick Chubb.
"That's my baby boy, so I'm a big ball of emotions trying to hold back," she said. "Trey is just doing great things on and off the field. And so, just to see him reap some of the rewards and the recognition – he doesn't look for it, but to see it kind of come his way, those blessings. It's just a blessing and I couldn't be prouder of him. Excited for him and the opportunities that he has, and as a family. He's an inspiration and he wants to inspire kids."
McNutt is currently in his junior year at Shaker Heights High School. He is ranked as a four-star recruit, according to 247Sports, and a top high school prospect with a multitude of collegiate offers to continue his football career.
From an early age as he started to play flag football and then tackle football, he knew he wanted to pursue the NFL. He grew up throwing a football from a young age and watched his brother play football in high school and college. That dream is starting to take shape, as he has excelled in high school and has the chance to continue his football journey in college.
Throughout his high school career, McNutt has played on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he's a wide receiver. Defensively, he plays at safety or cornerback. He's currently being recruited as a defensive back. For McNutt, when he gets phone calls from potential recruiters or LaToya takes a call, that's when the reality of playing in college hits most.
"We really doing something and just taking it all in and taking the moment in. You got to take a moment in at the right time; can't overlook everything," McNutt said. "It's been a dream all my life. So, I'm going to fulfill those dreams."