"It's been crazy, with work and all the camps," said Manning. "I'm ready for some football. We start back working out [today] at my school. We're going to be doing some seven-on-sevens and game situations.
"I'm pretty excited. We started about a month ago, but we've been off for a couple of weeks. I'm ready to get back in the swing of things."
What is Manning's goal for the 2007 season?
|"I want to be better than I was last year. Anytime you can improve that's a plus."|
"I want to be better than I was last year," he replied. "Anytime you can improve that's a plus.
"I also want to keep getting bigger. I want to get up to about 215 or 220 pounds. In college I wouldn't mind getting up to 250."
Regarded by most as one of the top two prospects in the state of North Carolina with Bunn's Brandon Barnes, Manning's recruitment is the focus of a lot of media attention now that Barnes has verbally committed. Add in that he plans to enroll early and is closing in on a decision, and Manning understands the recent swarm of attention from media outlets and even other players who have already reached decisions.
"It's no big deal," he said. "I understand how it is... you guys are just doing your job. [Laughing] You're probably the last one I'm going to answer tonight though.
"Wherever I go there is always someone committing so I know the schools are getting other players. What it boils down to is that it is about you. When I was at NC State's camp, there was a lot of excitement because they had players committing... I admit that. It just wasn't the right time for me."
Recently Manning has hinted at taking additional visits, possibly to Florida or Tennessee, prior to announcing his decision at a press conference at his school. Is that still the case?
"I can't really say for sure," he said. "The way I feel right now, I'm so tired and busy with everything that I'm not even sure if I'm going to do that. I don't even think I'm going to do that."
It appears that three programs have made the final cut for Manning, with two ACC schools recruiting him the hardest and an SEC program trying to get involved.
"I'm looking at NC State, Clemson, and Florida... that's really about it," he said. "I was doing a lot of thinking about Tennessee, so I guess you can put them on there because that was one of the schools I had looked into visiting.
"NC State and Clemson are recruiting me the hardest. Both of them have a need at linebacker, and they are looking for someone that can come in and contribute right away. I guess they see that in me, and that's why they are coming at me so hard."
Manning's last visit was to NC State for the Wolfpack's recent camp.
|"I'm real excited about where I'm going to go."|
"The whole NC State coaching staff I like," he said. "One thing I liked about being up there is they didn't treat me like somebody special. They worked me hard like everyone else and there was some great competition. I wanted to be around them to see how it was to work in their environment. It was a lot of fun up there, and they treated me like every other player. That's one thing I really liked."
Manning has discussed his recruitment with his coaches and parents. The four-star linebacker believes that his family hopes he chooses a particular school, but he wouldn't indicate which program that was.
"They definitely have their favorite," he replied. "I know they have one they like, but I dont think I can put that out here."
What will be the biggest factor in his decision?
"The biggest factor is always going to be playing time," said Manning. "After playing time I'm looking at my surroundings. I have to like the place I will be for the next four to five years."
A press conference could happen in the next couple of weeks. Manning believes that he now knows where he wants to go, and it is just a matter of making it official.
"I'm real excited about where I'm going to go," he said. "So I think that if I can get up with my head coach here real soon I can set this press conference up and get everything out of the way.
"It should happen in the next week or two."