Cards in final three for three-star safety

James Manuel, a three-star defensive back from Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central, has narrowed his list down to three schools. Manuel has one official scheduled and he's working his way toward making a college decision.

James Manuel, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound three-star safety from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., has narrowed down his list of six scholarship offers to three favorites.

Manuel says he'll be making a decision between Minnesota, Louisville or Cincinnati and has already scheduled a trip to visit the Golden Gophers on Sept. 19 when they take on California.

"Minnesota really caught my eye because they have a couple guys that are graduating next year," Manuel said. "That means I may have a chance to play early."

Manuel admits that playing time will be a key factor in his decision.

"I really want to see the field as early as possible," he said. "And I like my chances there (Minnesota). They are bringing in a lot of defensive players next year because that's where they need help and it'll be up for grabs. I'd feel good about going there and competing at cornerback or safety."

Although he hasn't scheduled his official visits to Louisville or Cincinnati, he says he won't make a commitment until he does. "After my officials I'll talk to my family and coaches and make sure that I'm making the right decision," he said.

Manuel, ranked as the No. 56 safety in the country by, says that Cincinnati is recruiting him the hardest. "They're really on me hard," he said. "Emails, letters from all the coaches and stuff like that."

Another thing the Bearcats have going for them is that his former teammate (redshirt sophomore tight end) Adrien Robinson goes there. "I can't go wrong with Cincinnati," he said. "It's great that he's there and he's been recruiting me really hard too."

Manuel also says he likes the location of Cincinnati. "I love the area," he said. "I'm from Indianapolis and I'm a city guy. I can't really be where there's nothing around and nothing to do. I'm an urban guy and that's what I like. That's a big thing for me and Cincinnati is a great city. It's populated.

"I also like that they won the Big East last year and I still getting better too," he said.

Louisville is another city that fits the bill as not being "too small."

"Louisville is great too," he said. "The players there are real cool. It's a real family atmosphere there. They are all just one over there."

Manuel also has offers from Iowa, Michigan State and Central Michigan.

He used to list Iowa as one of his favorites and although he says the Hawkeyes are still actively recruiting him, he's no longer interested. "I wasn't feeling it from them," he said. "Things just weren't clicking for me with them."

The only camp that Manuel attended during the summer was Virginia Tech's, but the Hokies have not offered.

Manuel plays his first game as a senior on Aug. 22 against Merrillville High School.

He reports a 2.5 core GPA and a 15 ACT, which he is retaking in September.

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