Planning to be in Auburn on May 18 for the Nike Combine, Hillcrest High's Markus Manson will be one of the players everyone comes to see and for good reason. A 6-1, 195 speedster who says he has a personal best time of 4.31 in the 40-yard dash, Manson gives a team the home run threat they look for in a back.
A four-year starter at Hillcrest, Manson has been very productive in his career. After putting up modest numbers as a freshman, he had just over 500 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns his sophomore season to set the stage for a strong junior year. That's when he eally stepped up his production.
Leading his team to a 7-5 record before losing to Decatur in the second round of the playoffs, Manson rushed for 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Throw in another 500 yards from kickoff and punt returns and you have perhaps the most dangerous player in the state next fall.
Also a track star at Hillcrest, Manson was planning on winning the state title in the 100 meters, but that won't happen this year after he pulled a hamstring in a meet just a few weeks ago. Disappointed, his focus is now on being healthy for the Nike Combine. Despite running a 10.7 in the 100, he says that his future is on the football field and he plans to show he belongs with a strong summer schedule that includes camps at both Auburn and Alabama.
Very early in the recruiting process, Manson says that he's already getting a feel for what to expect down the road. Saying ‘it's alright' at the moment, Manson is hearing from a horde of colleges around the country, but has one favorite at the moment.
"I'm hearing from a lot of them and I have scholarships from four of them already," Manson tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "They are Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. I don't have a favorite out of those. I grew up a Florida State fan. I'm just wide open right now."
In addition to the challenge of impressing college coaches enough to earn scholarships next season, Manson has the added pressure of leading a team that is one of the favorites to win it all next season. Having never been in that situation before, Manson says that it has taken some getting used to already this summer and the season hasn't even started yet.
"We're predicted to win the state championship," Manson says. "It's hard but it seems like if we don't win we will let the people down. It's hard. Coach O.K. Bryant (strength coach) pushes us when we lift weights. He tells us we have to start now if we want to be a state champion."
With talent like Manson to work with, that goal may become a reality next season for the Patriots.