The arm-in-arm march of the Rutgers football team out of the tunnel Saturday came as no surprise to linebacker commit Solomon Manning.
As the Rutgers coaching staff made it a busy week for the 732 area code after five player arrests, Manning remains comfortable with his college decision.
“It was an unfortunate thing with the players that got arrested, but it’s good that all of the commits stayed together,” said the three-star Colonia (N.J.) linebacker. “I’m staying. It doesn’t make me rethink or change my decision at all.
“We all stuck together through it all. We’re all Jersey kids, so we’re going to stick together. We’re going to be Rutgers commits no matter what happens.”
Manning committed to Rutgers during the summer and the Saturday 63-13 victory over Norfolk State marked his third visit since his decision.
“It was cool being down on the field and getting to talk to the coaches and stuff like that,” Manning said. “They made me feel at home, especially the coaches. They made me feel really comfortable. It still feels like home.”
As expected, Manning keyed on the linebackers during the game.
“They were big,” Manning said. “They were physical. They’re pretty much a sign of where I need to be one day. When I look at them, it’s like seeing where I have to get.”
Rutgers accepted Manning’s commitment as an outside linebacker, but he is now three weeks into a transition to middle linebacker for Colonia.
“I’m starting to get used to the position now, actually,” Manning said. “I like it a lot. I get to make more plays and it’s like I’m the captain of the defense. … My defensive coordinator gives me a hand signal and I pass it on to the D line and the linebackers to let them know what the stunts are, the coverage, everything.”
Manning and Colonia open their season Friday against Edison (N.J.) Bishop Ahr.
“I’m pretty prepared,” he said. “I’ve been studying a lot of film and working hard. I’m working out as much as I can, and on the weekends. I’m working really hard to be in great shape.”