National media attention has mainly been focused on the all-star games held between Florida and California and the Big 33 game of Pennslyvania versus Ohio. While those four states have proven to produce many D1 prospects, the state of Connecticut has quickly emerged as an upcoming state for serious talent. Recently, the Connecticut vs Rhode Island All-Star game was held, and it gave a chance for Jason Manson and Justise Hairston to be paired together in the backfield.
"Justise is going to be a good running back in the Big Ten," Jason said. "He did not have a very good game, but that was in large part because of our offensive line. Justise did not get a first hole to explode through. He had to break a few tackles to gain even a few yards. He could have done some damage if our OL would have stepped up more."
So how did Jason perform?
"I do not know any of my stats, but I know I scored our first touchdown. It was disappointing because we lost the game, but I thought I played alright when given the chance. They did not allow me to run any option and when I passed it was always on roll-outs."
Jason now will take on the task of arriving in Iowa City early to begin work-outs and get himself ready for practice in August .
"I've been trying to get a hold of the staff, but they have all been on vacation. I just have to get a hold of them, and then I will be coming out either late this week or most likely sometime next week."
So will these early work-outs help determine Jason's status of being red-shirted this fall, or has the staff already made their mind up?
"They told me I was going to red-shirt. I want to red-shirt as I know I need to get bigger and faster. I have to improve my arm strength for the Big Ten, and I'll be going up against more speed so I need to get faster to gain an extra edge. I would say that I'm very similar to the type of QB that Brad Banks is going to be this year."
Jason is currently only at 6'0 180. The Hawks have not had many QB's at this size so early comparisons to guys like Joe Hamilton and even Seneca Wallace could be made. However, Jason will be determined to build his own style as a QB and play at his own game.
Jason's younger brtoher, Calvin, Jr., recently ended his sophmore year at Bloomfield High School. Calvin played with his brother beginning his freshman year and had a good year of receiving. He slipped this past year, but at 5'10 160 he will have a chance to get bigger and be a more effective receiver.
"Right now, I know he likes baseball. He is small right now so he will have to get bigger, but hopefully he'll work hard enough to gain some looks."
Iowa is in no rush to end their pipeline at Bloomfield High School. Jermelle Lewis continues to emerge and Jason Manson will likely have that chance one year from now. Certainly, those two will be good representatives of the talent available in Connecticut. Will the Hawks possibly continue their success with players like Richard Kittrell and John Sullivan next February on signing day?