Talented Defensive Back Planning Trip To Auburn

A nationally recruited football prospect from Florida says he will take an official recruiting visit to check out the Tigers.

Tallahassee, Fla.--A combination of size, speed, quickness and success playing at a high level of high school football have made Joe Manning a prospect who has plenty of options on where to pursue his college education.

A three-year starter for Florida power Lincoln High School, Manning plans to take all five of his allowed official visits. After making early trips to Nebraska and Syracuse in December, his next stop is a Jan. 9th official visit to Auburn. He also has plans for an official visit to see the Tennessee Volunteers on Jan. 23rd and his final one is scheduled to check out the hometown FSU Seminoles a week later.

Manning stands six-foot-one and checks in at 175 pounds on the scales. He says that he has a best time in the 40-yard dash of 4.42 and he bench presses 260 pounds. However, the most impressive thing he does is play the game of football and he packs a punch when he does. Not all defensive backs are known for their love of contact and the big hit, but that is definitely a fun part of the game for Manning.

"I try to be real aggressive when I play football," Manning tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "That is what you need to do to be successful as a defensive player."

As a senior, he finished the season with 70 tackles, five interceptions and four blocked punts plus plenty of big hits. He displays his athletic talents throughout the year at Lincoln High where he is the returning starter in center field for the baseball team and the anchor man on one of the state's fastest 4x100 relay teams in track. He has also played basketball for the Trojans.

It takes quite a good athlete to stand out in a crowd of good ones at Lincoln High, but Manning does that. ""This year we are expecting 10 or 11 seniors to sign football scholarships," Manning says. "The average at Lincoln is around nine per year."

The cornerback looks to be in good shape academically with his grades and a qualifying SAT score. That is another reason why he had a lot of colleges interested prior to narrowing his choice to five schools. He says that right now his plan is to keep an open mind and make a decision after taking all of his visits.

Manning plans to meet with his parents and discuss where it would be best for him to attend college. "Right now I am just trying to decide which one will be the best for me," Manning says.

"I am interested in more than the football programs," adds Manning, who says that he plans to take pre-law classes in college. He says that one day he would like to become a sports agent who would represent professional athletes.

Manning will take his official visit to Auburn in January with his friend and teammate Rodney Gallon, who is a linebacker and another highly recruited prospect. Gallon already made one visit with Manning to Nebraska.

Lincoln has used Manning's athletic ability at a variety of positions. He has played cornerback, strong safety, wide receiver, running back and even defensive end. As a senior, his third year to start, he spent most of his time at a position called the "Trojan Back," which is similar to a strong safety. "That is not going to be my position in college," Manning says. "They are recruiting me to be a cornerback, but I played the "Trojan Back" position in high school because that is where the team needed me."

Manning waited until after his season ended with an upset loss in the state playoffs to Choctawhatchee High before taking his first two official visits to Syracuse and Nebraska.

"At Syracuse it was cold and at Nebraska it was cold, too," he says. "I am not used to that being from Tallahassee and the Southeast. The Syracuse trip was pretty good. I went to a game there and saw them play Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome. At Nebraska, I also had a pretty good time. I didn't get a chance to see a game when I visited there."

Manning says that he is being recruited to Auburn by veteran assistant coach Joe Whitt, who handles the AU linebackers. "They are in the SEC and I love that conference because teams face tough competition every week," Manning says. "I am looking forward to my visit to Auburn."

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