A Tackling Machine

In a year that is deep for linebackers, Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland star Terrell Manning is one of the best in the land. At 6-3 and 205-pounds, the name of his game is speed.

Spring practice is a couple of weeks away, and Terrell Manning can hardly wait. Sidelined with a bruised tailbone, Manning has been taking it easy, but when spring practice arrives that will all change.

"To be honest with you I can't wait for practice to get going," he said. "I miss every part of it, especially the hitting."

With 294 tackles the last two seasons, Manning is attracting attention from some of the finest schools across the nation, including the defending national champion Florida Gators.

Head coach Urban Meyer recently paid the North Carolina star a visit; one he will likely not forget.

"Last week the Florida coaches came by; it was Urban Meyer," Manning said. "It took me forever to get my eyes off that National Championship ring. It is a crazy feeling to have Florida recruiting me. People actually look up to me because they have offered me a scholarship. One of the things I am trying to do is stay level headed and grounded."

Manning talked about the kind of linebackers that Florida is looking for.

"They like big physical linebackers that can run. Florida's whole defense has tremendous speed. I think that is why they have me rated as one of their top overall linebackers this year, my overall speed and ability to move from sideline to sideline."

Manning is not sure where he will play his college football, but he does know what factors he will use to make the decision.

"I think the three biggest things for me will be playing time, how comfortable I am with the players and the academics," he said.

Although he is not ready to name his leaders, Manning does have five that he is keeping close watch on.

"The people that I am really watching closely are Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech."

Manning talked about the lack of depth at linebacker for the Gators and how it could affect their recruiting of the position.

"I think Florida's depth chart at linebacker definitely gives them an edge. I mean a championship team with space to fill; it's like a kid in the candy store."

Florida would like to sign three linebackers in the 2008 class and Terrell Manning could very well be one of them.

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