Terps Talking to Massive N.J. Sleeper TE

At any level of football, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound receiver is a difficult match-up. One who is coordinated, physical and can catch the ball? Well, that's a downright coaching nightmare. Justin Maneri, a tight end from Saddlebrook, New Jersey, fits this mold, and he Maryland football staff has taken notice.


A two-sport star, Maneri made 30 receptions for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense as well as 60 tackles and 10 sacks on defense. His last timed 40-yard dash was a 4.8, although he admitted it has been a while since he ran the drill.

On the hardwood, he made second-team all county, after averaging 21 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game. He recently joined an AAU team named Long Island Lightning, which Maneri said is competing in a tournament in Bronx, New York this weekend.

His size speaks for itself, and his prowess in both sports demonstrates his good hands. Why, then, is he not getting chased by some of the top football programs in the country?

Maneri has yet to earn any offers, partly because he has not participated in any football camps and partly because he has not made any visits. "I think when I get through camps and show those schools, it won't be much longer," he predicted.

Maryland is recruiting Maneri as a tight end. "Most schools are on me for tight end. Only a few schools are looking at me for defense," he said.

Though Maneri and Maryland have only spoken once, the Terps are high on his list. "I like Maryland a lot," he said.

"I wish they were recruiting me harder, but they aren't," he said.

Maneri plans to kick it into gear and travel to three or four football camps beginning in late June, although he is not sure which camps he will attend. "[Maryland is] probably one of the three or four schools I might be going to," he said.

He noted that his one weakness in the game is his blocking. He watches tape of Antonio Gates and former Maryland standout Vernon Davis. "I'm very coordinated for my size. I don't drop passes and I'm not easy to bring down. I run through people, and I can catch over people," he said of his strengths.

Since his recruitment has not picked up yet, he does not have a firm time set on making a decision. "I think when I get through camps and show those schools what I've got, it won't be much longer," he said.

"I don't know if I'm going to [decide] early. It depends on how football season goes this year," he added.

The determining factors in his recruitment are "when I'm going to play, and where is [the school's location]."

He said that the things he liked about Maryland were that "it's a great school, it's three hours away from my house, and it's in a college town."

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