Shavar Manuel has been enjoying himself in the first two days of practice in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and has been learning a lot and going against some really talented offensive linemen as well.
“The coaches out here have been coaching me to the best of their ability,” Manuel said. “I’m having a blast out here. It’s been tough work, but only the strong will survive. I’ve been getting better, they have been getting better. We are working each other.”
Manuel lists four schools of interest at this point Florida, FSU, LSU, and USF make up the final four. He acknowledged that the Gators have the lead at this point.
“Florida because it is the home state and are recruiting me the hardest,” he said. “They don’t want me to leave the state so that is why they stand out.
“Coach Rumph is awesome. We have a great relationship. He never sugar coats anything with the recruiting process. He is up front with everything and tells me they have some key guys leaving on the defensive line. They say if I want it, there is a big role for me to step in as a true freshman.
“They want me to come in and show my work ethic, to enjoy my experience, and I will be successful at Florida.”
The Gators see Manuel in a role similar to Jonathan Bullard who is exiting for the NFL. Bullard plays a hybrid defensive line role as both a strong side end and three-technique defensive tackle.
“Florida doesn’t just see me as a tackle, but as an end too,” Manuel said. “They want to keep moving me around on the line and find some mismatches and where I can be successful.”
When asked what he first thinks of when the Gators pop up in his head, he responded, “It is the home state, great fans, great coaches, great people, and is the place to be.”
The Seminoles have some of the similar things that come to mind, “They have some new players around, the coaching staff is nothing new. I will just take the experience and enjoy myself. It is also the home state, great defense, great defensive line, great coaches, and great fans.”
LSU is a school he visited in the fall and was really impressed. “LSU is an SEC school and just dominated Texas Tech last night. They were going crazy out there flying around. They just looked like they had a lot of energy.”
The latest school to come on is his home city team in South Florida.
“Coach (Raymond) Woodie has been recruiting me since my freshman year,” he said. “I took a couple of unofficial visits out there, but never brought them up. I just know I could be committed to that program.”
In the end there is one thing that is most important for Manuel and his decision.
“It is going to be where I am most comfortable at,” he said.
He has tentative dates set up to visit Florida on January 22, and Florida State on January 29, but maybe something changes in that regard if he decides to commit at the game on Saturday.
“I’m thinking about it,” he said. “(ESPN) told me to keep them up to date if I want to announce on Saturday. I would say there is about an 85% possibility that I will do it at the game.”