Early Decision for Manning

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Laurinburg (NC) Scotland linebacker Terrell Manning arrived late to the Shrine Bowl combine, but that didn't stop him from being one of the most impressive players in attendance.

Terrell Manning, Hope Mills (NC) Gray's Creek tailback Marquan Brown, and Mt. Gilead (NC) West Montgomery athlete Vince Jordan all posted impressive numbers at the first Shrine Bowl combine of the year.

Physically, Manning screams outside linebacker as he checked in at 6'3.75 and 201 pounds with a frame that can easily add 30-40 pounds.

"Schools are saying to not worry about my weight right now, and the reason I'm losing it is because I'm running track," said Manning.

Manning tallied 16 reps of 185 pounds on the bench and a 33-inch vertical jump. Because he was nursing a sprained ankle, he chose to not attempt the pro shuttle, and nearly sat out the 40 before his competitive side took over.

On his first attempt, Manning recorded a 4.89 and topped that with a 4.74 on his second attempt.

Manning is also productive on the gridiron. He led Scotland's defense in 2006 with 130 tackles, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. On film, he is a playmaker that reads plays extremely well and shows tremendous instincts. Manning moves through traffic with ease and is a solid tackler. He just might be the state's top rising senior prospect, and colleges are starting to make their move.

"I've been offered by Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Clemson, Tennessee, Miami, Florida, Alabama, and East Carolina," said Manning.

He has had a chance to take numerous unoffical visits over the past few months, as four local programs have hosted him the most.

"I've probably visited NC State, Clemson, South Carolina, and North Carolina the most," Manning stated. "The people around those schools are real good. It doesn't matter where I go because I'll have good people around me. Those are all great environments."

Next up for Manning is the May 12th Scout.com Combine in Charlotte, and his team will head down to Clemson for a camp.

"I'm going to the Clemson camp because my team had planned on going to the seven-on-seven there," he said. "I guess I'll go down there early and meet up with them, but I'll probably try to catch a few other camps like [North] Carolina and State or somewhere out-of-town."

What does Manning like about the Tigers?

"Clemson, they have a great football environment," he said. "Their stadium is packed everytime they have a game, and I love the hill."

North Carolina was the first program to offer Manning a scholarship, and the Tar Heels remain in hot pursuit.

"I like Carolina," said Manning. "They are trying to bring in a whole bunch of recruits from around the area. As far as them trying to get the top players, they are starting to get them. They might be able to do something in the ACC."

NC State also appears to be in great shape.

"They are based around football," Manning said of the NC State coaching staff. "They are there to win. Most of the coaches came from Boston College, and they are known for winning. They are known for competition.

"They've got a defensive coordinator from Kentucky, and they had a good defense too. All of them have a good NFL history, and that is what catches me the most."

The Wolfpack have made Manning a priority.

"They've said that possibly if I came in early and do everything right and gain weight that I could be a starter on the team," said Manning. "That's real important to me, but right now I'm just focusing on [graduating early]."

Rumors pursuit that NC State might be the silent leader for Manning. When asked by Inside Carolina's Don Callahan if that was the case, Manning wouldn't confirm or deny the rumor.

"I like N.C. State – that's all I'm going to say," Manning told Callahan. "They are one of the three."

There are leaders, but Manning didn't want to go public with them.

"I have favorites, but I'm not going to put them out right now," he said. "I don't want to put out that information... I've got about three [leaders]."

Unlike most high-profile prospects, Manning can't afford to wait until Signing Day to make a decision. He wants to enroll at the program of his choice mid-year.

"It's the same thing with my weight," he said. "I want to get in there and gain weight as quickly as possible so I can try to be a starter wherever I go. If not I'll try to get a special teams spot and go from there."

"I want to [commit] either before the football season or during the football season," he added. "I definitely don't want to wait until after my season is over."

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