Joe Manning plays for Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida, one of THE powerhouse teams in the country. Ranked in the top 15 by USA today, Manning is used to success and knows what it takes to get there.
By the same token, he also has a good grasp on what good defense looks like, especially from the secondary spot and he saw a good defense this weekend.
Having Nebraska on his list of favorites, it was logical to assume that he would be interested in seeing just how the game went against the offensively-potent Oklahoma State Cowboys. All that offense, Nebraska with so many questions on defense, Manning was not the only defensive recruit eyeing that game with curiosity, but to Nebraska, he's important to say the least. They offered him, meaning they want him, so the question is, what did he think of NU's defensive output this weekend? "That was something." Manning said of the defensive performance. "Bo Pelini is really trying to do some things out there."
"That's how defense is supposed to be played. When your offense is not rolling, that's the kind of support they need. That was good and I like to see that."
"It really opened my eyes as to what they are really all about and what Pelini is doing to change that program around."
That wasn't the only thing that impressed Manning. "I was watching the TV and saw all that red and I was like ‘Oh my goodness' and the commentators had so many good things to say about their fans. It made me really want to come up there for a visit and to see a game."
Now, this wasn't by any means a revelation for Manning, Nebraska not appearing on his list of favorites prior to seeing this game. Point of fact, Nebraska has been amongst his leaders if not THE leader for most of the off-season this year. What the Huskers did though was reinforce something that Manning had thought could be, turning maybes into something he didn't just hear, but saw for himself. "I would have never thought they could have done that to Rashaun Woods." Manning said of the defense holding the All-American to under 50 yards receiving. "That says a lot for them right there."
Manning also likes Nebraska for another reason, if only to keep a little taste of home in mind at the thought of being at NU. "I have a fellow native of Florida up there in Fabian Washington." Manning stated.
Don't misunderstand Joe in thinking that he needs that kind of feel or reminder of the sunshine state, because he doesn't. What Washington is, is just something that tells him that if one Florida kid can put up with the weather there, it stands to reason that it wouldn't bug him all that much either.
Climate isn't the only thing as Joe has a variety of factors he has in mind about the school he eventually wants to attend. Academics, tradition and most importantly, a place that he finds that feeling, it's where he wants to be. Most Florida kids with offers from in-state powers like Florida usually wouldn't even hesitate at pulling the trigger to stay where it's warm all the time, but Manning isn't even thinking about that right now. "We've got so much to play for and we're going for another state title, the recruiting will wait." he said. "I might take some visits, but I know I won't make a decision until after our season is over."
Manning did say of the Huskers though that if they weren't a leader before, you can put them squarely at the top right now. "Yeah, I would say that." Manning stated. "They are my leader."
No official visits scheduled for Manning right now and he's yet to figure out just when he might take them, but again, voiced interest in possibly taking some during the season.
Joe is ranked amongst the top 30 Cornerbacks in the country by the Insiders.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 402-730-5619
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