McManis excited to start Memphis career

University of Memphis coach Justin Fuente has a tall task in front of him. He's got to fill out a staff and compose a half-decent 2012 recruiting class. Oh, and revitalize a football program that's gone 5-31 in the last three seasons. But give him this: He's making stellar first impressions.

University of Memphis coach Justin Fuente has a tall task in front of him.

He's got to fill out a staff and compose a half-decent 2012 recruiting class. Oh, and revitalize a football program that's gone 5-31 in the last three seasons.

But give him this: He's making stellar first impressions.

Olive Branch linebacker Wynton McManis, who committed in July, met Fuente for the first time this past Monday. He, Melrose quarterback Will Gross, and Ridgeway athlete Sheldon Dawson all met with him at Memphis to get better acquainted.

"He's confident," McManis said. "He was saying how he won the Rose Bowl (in 2011 with TCU) and how he's coming here with the same attitude. He's an offensive guy but he knows what he's talking about defensively."

Keeping the current commits is vital for Fuente, who inherits a team with just 50 scholarship players. The Tigers lost their first commit early last week when Eric Belew, an athlete from Columbia Central (Tenn.) decommitted.

McManis said Fuente told him his scholarship offer will be honored.

"I was a little worried at first. That was the first thing I asked," McManis said.

McManis said Fuente is using TCU as a model for the Tigers.

"He said we're going to work out the same way," McManis said. "We're gonna get more good players and get the community involved."

McManis said Fuente told him the Tigers would play out of a 4-3 base defense and switch to 3-4 in some third down situations.

"I like it, because we played it at Olive Branch," McManis said. "I can come and play outside linebacker."

Even though the coach he committed to play for is now gone, McManis said he's excited to begin his college career with Fuente.

"He's very personable," McManis said. "He can get down to business and relate to players."


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