Scotland County High School in Laurinburg, NC has produced more than it's share of division one prospects over the years- from Kennie Covington and Hilee Taylor to Cameron Sexton and Travian Robertson. However, a skinny youngster that used to look up to all of those players may end up being the most prized recruit of all.
At 6-2, 205 pounds and boasting 4.55-second speed in the 40-yard dash, LB Terrell Manning isn't so small anymore. After watching Scotland County produce one college player after another, Manning says the interest in his abilities seemingly came out of nowhere.
"The whole thing caught me by surprise because I always looked at those guys like they were better than me," said Manning. "So for me to come out here and grab as much attention as I have, it really threw me back on my heels."
When speaking with Manning the first thing that impresses you is his good nature and easy-going demeanor. He's very well-mannered and polite. Put pads on him, turn on the lights and Manning becomes something quite different. He led the Fighting Scots defense in 2006 with 130 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. On film, he is a play-maker that reads plays extremely well and shows tremendous instincts. Manning moves through traffic with ease and is a solid tackler. Because of those abilities, colleges are lining up with scholarship offers and promises of stardom.
To date, Manning boasts offers from Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, UNC, East Carolina, Clemson, South Carolina and NC State. If he chooses to draw out his recruiting, it is likely that list will grow exponentially.
For the Wolfpack, there is little doubt that he is a major priority for next year's class. State got in with Manning early and were able to lay a recruiting foundation before others began to dive in. They've hosted him on several visits and positioned themselves as a team he has under serious consideration.
"I love State," said Manning. "With the new coaching staff coming in, they really seem like they want to do something with the program and they're all about winning. Their facilities are nice. Everything is looking good for State."
Over the last three years, NC State has signed just four linebackers and will lose four more after the 2007 season including three possible starters- James Martin, Lerue Rumph and Ernest Jones. It's safe to say playing time has been an easy sell for the Pack coaching staff
"I love that State needs linebackers and the kind of defense they're talking about running," said Manning. "They need linebackers, So, that caught my eye and that might help me make my decision."
Wolfpack tight ends coach Jim Bridge is heading up the recruiting of Manning and it appears he's made a positive, early impression.
"The first time I met him, he seemed like a real cool person," said Manning. "He seemed like a nice person to get along with. He's the type of person that he's an easy-going man so, he's my kind of guy, I guess."
With a new scholarship offer arriving almost daily, Manning has chosen to put a top five list on the back-burner for now. Instead, he's chosen to evaluate all of his options before settling on a final five.
"I really don't have a top school right now because I've got a lot of people offering. So right now, I'll wait until everything gets calm, then I'll decide to do my top five."
Manning projects as an academic qualifier and is working toward graduating high school early in order to enroll in college next January.