"I had been sick for about two weeks, throwing up and stuff," Mangold said. "I couldn't hold anything. My weight was down to 221 and I wasn't at full strength."
Then as he became healthy again and started gaining weight and strength back, he suffered another setback.
"I was running a drill in practice one day," he said, "and I made a real hard cut. My foot just snapped. It was a freak accident. It was a hairline fracture. It prevented me from playing in the spring game and you have no idea how much I wanted to be in that game. But I guess it's better than sitting on the sidelines for a November game when a playoff berth is on the line."
Mangold, who is just now getting back to close to 100-percent, said he's up to 247 pounds (on his 6-3 1/2 frame) and running well.
"I got timed at 4.55 on grass without shoes on yesterday," he said. "It was hand-timed so I know it's off but I know I can get down to a 4.5-flat when being hand-timed."
Mangold, who had 95 tackles and 9 1/2 sacks as a junior, recalls one play as a junior that still gets him excited.
"I got a chance to line up against Dave Howell for one play last year," he said. "Something happened to the other guy so they put Howell in and lined him up on my side. As soon as the ball was snapped, I slammed him and sacked the quarterback. They took him out the next play but it was good knowing that I could do that to someone so talented. Dave's a good guy and a great player so it gave me a lot of confidence."
Mangold is starting to narrow his list of college favorites down some.
"My top three right now are Miami, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh," he said. "I'm also looking at Florida and Tennessee as well. All of them have offered me except for Miami."
Mangold made a very early commitment to Pittsburgh but says that won't be a big factor.
"It was just a verbal thing," he said. "They were the first school to offer me, my coach said good things about them, and I know H.B. Blades, who is going there. It seemed like the right thing to do. But then I started getting more offers so I decided to look around."
One of the next offers came from Virginia Tech, where Mangold has family connections.
"Their athletic director, Jim Weaver, married my aunt," he said. "My dad and everyone has sort of been pushing me there because they know my aunt and Jim would look out for me up there. But ultimately, it's going to be my decision."
That news might not sit well with the Panthers and Hokies. That's because Miami's involved.
"Oh man," he said, "Miami's my dream school. I've loved the Hurricanes since I was little. They're in the national title hunt every year, it's close to home, I know some guys there, and it would be a dream come true."
Mangold spoke to UM coach Larry Coker in May and is planning on taking an unofficial visit to UM within the next few weeks.
"Coach Coker and one of his assistant coaches came by my school in May," he said. "They talked to my coach and watched tape and stuff like that. Then I talked to them. He said he likes my motor and how I'm always playing at full speed. I'm trying to take a ride down there real soon so that I can meet with the coaches and then go from there."
Mangold said if the Hurricanes were to offer him a scholarship, it may be too difficult to turn down.
"If they offered me, I may decide on it right away," he said. "Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh are great programs but if you ever get a chance to play for a school that you've always wanted to play for, it would be real tough to turn it down."
In addition to the Hokies and Panthers, Mangold has other offers.
"Florida offered me in the spring," he said. "Then Nebraska offered me. I got Tennessee's FedEx package in the mail yesterday with an offer. Now I'm hoping for Miami. Whether it's tomorrow, the middle of the season, or at the end of the process, I hope Miami comes through. I can't wait to get on the field and prove to them that I can play there."
DL Hoping for Dream Offer -- UM
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