Manning Makes Surprise Visit To USC
The 6'3, 205 pound Manning, who had previously planned on visiting Clemson's spring game on Saturday, talked about his trip to Columbia and shared his thoughts on the Garnet and Black Game.
"I ended up going to South Carolina's spring game," said Manning. "I loved it. I loved it. Everything went great. The fans were just crazy. Just by being at the spring game, I could tell that on a regular game that would be the place to be. Their fans were going crazy over a spring game. They were yelling and screaming like it was a regular game."
According to Manning, he got the opportunity to go down on the sidelines and speak with his USC recruiter, Coach Fred Chatham, during the game on Saturday.
"During the game, I was escorted down to the sidelines, and I got to speak with Coach Chatham for a little while. He basically told me that South Carolina is where I need to be, and the place spoke for itself."
Manning got to watch his friend and former teammate Travian Robertson compete in USC's spring game, and he was impressed with what he saw.
"He did very well. As a matter of fact, he looked like a monster out there. He's huge. He's gotten bigger since the last time I saw him."
The Tar Heel State prospect got to hang out with Robertson and 2007 USC signee Cliff Matthews for a little while during his time in Columbia, and Manning said Robertson is working him to join him at USC.
"He likes it down there, and he says it would be a great place for me to play with him."
The Gamecocks had fallen down Manning's list of favorites in recent weeks, but after his time in Columbia, the standout linebacker said South Carolina is definitely back on his radar.
"Oh yeah, it changes things. I always liked the Gamecocks, but it just pushed them up on the list a lot, a lot."
Manning went on record by naming a new top five list of schools following his trip to South Carolina.
"My favorite schools are South Carolina, NC State, Virginia Tech, Florida, and Clemson. Everybody in there is about equal."
With so many schools recruiting him, Manning will look for a few key factors when deciding on the school of his choice.
"The people that I'm going to play around as far as my teammates, academics are always important, and the chance of me being able to play early."
As far as a timeframe, Manning said he hopes to have a decision on his college choice made by the end of the summer.
"As of right now, I'm not really sure, but I know that it's going to be before the football season starts. I want to make sure I get it done before football season starts back. It's going to be sometime over the summer."
Manning, who racked up 130 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 3 fumble recoveries as a junior last season, said he plans to attend Virginia Tech's spring game next weekend and hopes to make it to several team camps over the summer.
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