"Last combine my ankle was tweaked and it affected a lot of the stuff that I did," said Manning. "So they wanted me to come back out here and work out without the ankle injury. They called me up, so my dad drove me up here."
Manning, a linebacker from Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland Co., was successful in bettering his 40-yard dash time and also ran the 20-yard shuttle, an event his ankle injury forced him to skip.
"Last time, I made a lot of errors in the agility drills and I thought I did a lot better on my forty-time," said Manning. "My forty-time could always be better – I've seen better forty-times come from me – but 4.6 is pretty mediocre."
On the grass field at Richmond High School, Manning ran a 4.74-second 40-yard dash. Saturday, he clocked a 4.66-second time on Ragsdale's track.
On a gym surface, Manning posted a 4.69-second 20-yard shuttle, which was third best in his group.
Manning measured in at 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, which was shorter than the 6-foot-4 ¾ he measured at Richmond. And he lessened his vertical with a 32.8-inch jump (he jumped almost an inch higher at Richmond).
Manning, a Scout.com four-star recruit, has been the subject of recent controversy regarding his favorites.
"It was just a lot of people taking what I was saying and twisting it around a little bit," said Manning. "Basically, they were just overplaying what I was really saying."
At this point, Manning doesn't possess a clear cut favorites list. However, he is strongly considering Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Miami, N.C. State, and South Carolina.
"Basically, I'm going to try to take it slow, but sometime during the summer I'm going to try to narrow it down to five," said Manning. "Then once I make it to five – if I don't go ahead and commit after five – most likely I'm going to narrow it down to three. From three, you can expect a commitment."
Manning will "definitely" make a verbal commitment before the start of his senior football season, he said.
On May 5th, Manning will take an unofficial visit to North Carolina.
Unsurprisingly, T.J. Graham, a track star from Raleigh (NC.) Wakefield, was this combine's burner. He recorded 40-yard dash times of 4.30 and 4.36 seconds.
"I know I could have gone faster than that, but the track was missing some parts so every time I would try and go faster I would slip," said Graham. "It wasn't a major slip. It was slight where I couldn't run that 4.2."
Graham, who checked in at 6-foot and 166 pounds, recorded a 4.31-second 20-yard shuttle, a 35.2-inch vertical jump, and benched 185 pounds seven times.
While he's still awaiting that first scholarship offer, Graham's recruitment has picked up and is going much smoother now that Wakefield finally hired a head football coach – Chip Williams. Williams, who served as head coach at New Bern (N.C.) for 14 years, coached Montario Hardesty and Davon Drew among others and assisted in their recruitment.
"Check back with me after the summer; I'll probably have a few [offers] then," said Graham. "Right now, I'm hearing from a whole lot [of schools] – Florida State, Penn State, N.C. State, [North] Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, [and] Georgia."
Graham is considering attending one-day camps at Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State, and Virginia.
After measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds, Michael Via, an offensive lineman from McLeansville (N.C.) Northeast Guilford, shined during position drills displaying quick feet.
"During weight training we work on our footwork a lot," said Via. "We do agilities like running the ropes, and go out [on the field] and do agility stuff like we did today so it's routine for me."
Relatively speaking, Via posted solid combine numbers – 5.12-second 40-yard dash, 4.71-second 20-yard shuttle, 26-inch vertical jump, and 20 reps of 185 pounds.
Via, who holds scholarship offers from East Carolina and Georgia Tech, isn't naming any favorites.
Other offensive line standouts included Justin Ward of Wentworth (N.C.) Rockingham Co. and Caleb Poplin of Boonville (N.C.) Starmount.
Ward, who carries 284 pounds well on his 6-foot-4 frame, plays with great leverage and a lot of passion. However, his combine numbers were mediocre – 5.62-second 40-yard dash, 5.27-second 20-yard shuttle, 18.1-inch vertical, and 16 repetitions of 185 pounds.
Poplin checked in at 6-foot-6 and 257 pounds and posted combine numbers similar to Ward – 5.89-second 40-yard dash, 5.32-second 20-yard dash, 18.1-inch vertical, and 16 repetitions of 185 pounds. While not as polished as Ward or Via, Poplin has a very high ceiling with his long arms and fluid hips.
In the secondary group, Ed Gainey excelled in his respective position drills. The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Mount Tabor product showed great range and was much quicker in drills than his 4.52-second 40-yard dash and 5.31-second 20-yard shuttle might suggest.
At 6-foot and 172 pounds, Gainey vertically jumped an amazing 38.8 inches, while his 13 bench reps of 185 pounds were also relatively impressive.
The talk of the weight room was the amazing performance of Evan Short who rep'd 185 pounds 39 times. Short, a defensive end from Hickory (N.C.) St. Stephen's, measured in at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds.
Other prospects of note: Garrett Benge, QB, Mocksville Davie Co.: 6'0", 196, 4.82 forty, 4.95 shuttle, 25.9 vertical, 14 reps…Andrew Bodenheimer, WR, Clemmons West Forsyth: 6'2", 171, 4.70 forty, 4.53 shuttle, 29.6 vertical, 15 reps… Kendle Bratcher, DB, McLeansville Northeast: 5'8", 170, 4.49 forty, 4.63 shuttle, 33.9 vertical, 15 reps… Nelson Bullard, DE, Shelby Crest: 6'1", 229, 5.18 forty, 4.59 shuttle, 28.4 vertical, 18 reps… Tony Forster, WR, Burlington Williams: 6'1", 163, 4.53 forty, 4.55 shuttle, 34.6 vertical, 9 reps… Anthony Garner, DT, Siler City Jordan-Matthews: 6'1", 295, 5.28 forty, 4.95 shuttle, 22.7 vertical, 24 reps… Jay Hollinsworth, RB, Sanford Lee Co.: 5'10", 175, 4.61 forty, 4.58 shuttle, 31.3 vertical, 16 reps… Lawrence Jackson, TE, Thomasville: 6'4 ½", 198, 4.61 forty, 4.9 shuttle, 31.3 vertical, 20 reps… Kemory Mann, DT, Pittsboro Northwood: 6'2", 263, 5.04 forty, 5.47 shuttle, 26.5 vertical, 26 reps… Tobias Palmer, RB, Pittsboro Northwood: 5'10", 156, 4.42 forty, 4.48, 28.7 vertical, 4 reps.
The Shrine Bowl Combine Tour will conclude next week in Snow Hill at Greene Central High School.