Manuel and Vereen are Standing Out

Minnesota brought in three freshmen defensive backs and two have already impressed the coaches enough this fall to earn playing time this season.

One name keeps coming up every time coach Tim Brewster is asked about the freshman players, James Manuel.

James Manuel is impressive. He is a legit 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds. He carries his weight incredibly well and has room to add some muscle without losing his mobility.

Coach Brewster said Manuel's strength numbers were that of a junior or senior when tested this summer. He has a nose for the ball and loves to come up into the box and punish the ball carrier.

While Manuel will have to work on getting more adept at the coverage responsibilities of the safety position he has a great foundation to improve upon as a freshman.

Manuel possesses more than just incredible physical tools; he has the desire to get the most out of his ability. Coach Brewster has commented on Manuel being the best note taker during film sessions out of the entire freshman class.

If Manuel continues his dedication in the film room, he will push for playing time all season long and be the favorite to take over a vacant safety position next season.

Cornerback Brock Vereen is another newcomer that has impressed the coaching staff not only with his physical skills but his maturity.

Vereen stands 6-foot-0 and weighs 180 pounds. While he is probably a tad smaller than his listed height he plays bigger than his size. He appears to be a very physical player who seeks out contact.

Vereen's versatility can be used in a variety of ways. He will be most effective when he can play close to the line of scrimmage and body up on a receiver. His aggressive mentality will also prove valuable in stifling outside runs.

Don't expect Vereen to redshirt this season. He could see time in the secondary in certain situations but most likely his talents will be used on special teams.

One player who has been solid but hasn't impressed as much as Manuel and Vereen is Tyrone Bouie. Bouie is listed at 6-foot-0, 180-pounds but he is closer to 5-foot-10 or 5-foot-9. Bouie isn't a particularly explosive player but he has been solid in drills during practice. He has fairly fluid hips and is more quick than fast.

Spending a year in the strength and conditioning program will benefit Bouie tremendously. Bouie will most likely redshirt this season as he physically prepares for the demands of Big Ten football.

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