Fresh off a visit to Rutgers for practice, it was Manning’s turn to play host, where he hopes to impress the staff into a verbal scholarship offer this spring.
“They like me,” Manning said. “They want to evaluate me a bit more though. … It felt great knowing that I was the first one on his mind, but it motivated me to just keep going and not get happy with it. He likes me and I want to keep working for that opportunity.”
“I’m interested in them a lot because they’re really close,” Manning said. “My parents would be able to come to my games and stuff like that, so that’s important to me.
The last Rutgers football product out of Colonia – defensive tackle Eric LeGrand – is an impressive figure for Manning when discussing the Scarlet Knights.
“He actually comes to the school pretty frequently and talks to the team, so that’s pretty cool,” Manning said. “… [Legrand’s path] shows that Rutgers really is a family. They stick together no matter what.”
Manning is hard at work during track season to showcase an improved speed in front of visiting coaches. The 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker did not run well while battling an injury at a previous Rutgers camp. An improved showing this spring could be the key to an offer.
Running the 100- and 200-meter dash, Manning said he averages in the 23s and low 11s respectively. Manning’s next 40-yard dash time comes in two weeks at the Nike Football Training Camp event in North Jersey.
“I’m going to speed training camps and I’m running track,” Manning said. “My offensive coordinator, one of the coaches, helps me with my speed after track practice as well and working on my form and stuff like that to prepare me for when I have to run my 40.”
On the visit front, Manning plans to camp and work out at Pittsburgh in May and recently returned from a Rutgers spring practice.
“Rutgers was a good atmosphere,” Manning said. “It seemed like I could imagine myself there. It was a great experience going to the practice.”