FSU offers local standout

<b> Joe Manning </b> dealt with two very different emotions Friday. The first was all good, when childhood favorite <b>Florida State</b> offered the Lincoln High standout. Manning, a starter in the Trojans' secondary, is considered an excellent athlete. During his three-year varsity career, Manning played six different positions -- cornerback, running back, receiver, free safety, strong safety and defensive end.

He also plays baseball and runs track for the Trojans. And, for good measure, Manning plans to play basketball as well for the first time this year since the ninth grade.

"I really like Florida State, the campus, the people and, of course, there are a lot of Lincoln guys and maybe I will add to the list," Manning told TheTerritory Saturday.

"I definitely want to take an official visit. I thought I would still be playing (in playoffs), so now I have to start dealing with it (recruiting) -- a lot of stressing out now."

Manning said he received an offer from Syracuse early last week, and Tennessee indicated an offer was forthcoming. Others who have already offered include Florida, Clemson, Iowa State and Louisville.

Manning, who is fully qualified with a 940 SAT, 18 ACT and B average, says he wants to take his official visits before making a decision.

However, he admitted the Seminoles rank at the top of his list.

"When it's all said and done, I will sit down with my parents and make a decision," Manning said. "Right now I want to see what comes my way."

Manning, of course, has the time to concentrate on recruiting following the Trojans' stunning 42-35 defeat to Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee in the 4A-Region I semifinal Friday night at Cox Stadium.

That emotion was, of course, all bad.

Lincoln (9-3) opened the season ranked nationally and had hoped reach the state championship game at The Swamp in two weeks.

"I am still having a hard time believe it's over," Manning said. "It's disappointing but it's a life-lesson that we have to learn from."

Manning, who is yes-sir, no-sir polite, says he wants to study sports law or sports management in college.

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