"He's relentless," Scotland head coach Mark Barnes told Don Callahan of Inside Carolina. "He's got great speed and he's very, very athletic. He changes direction well. He defends all types of offenses well; in other words, he'll play well against the spread when he's involved with the coverage, he'll play well against the two-back, three-back teams that try to play power football."
Manning has draw comparisons to UT linebacker Jerod Mayo for his closing speed, lateral quickness, athleticism and instincts. He flows to the ball smoothly and strikes with authority. He has areas to improve and the upside to exceed expectations. Scout.com national recruiting director describes Manning as follows: "Manning projects as a weakside linebacker. Several things jump out at you when watching Manning play. First, he is a very aggressive player. At times, Manning gets too aggressive and his fundamentals break down. When he does connect he is a big hitter. Second, Manning has a great burst to the ball. Once he recognizes and reacts he certainly gets to the ball in a hurry. As well as Manning plays when he has to chase things he is perhaps at his best when things come his way. He sheds blocks nicely and fills the hole very quickly. Overall, Manning has very nice upside at the WILL linebacker spot. He's versatile, tough, fast and aggressive and plays the run well."
Playing primarily at middle linebacker, Manning posted a total of 294 tackles combined the last two seasons for the Fighting Scots, including 130 stops in 2006 with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He bench presses 300 pounds and squats 440.
Despite suffering from a moderate ankle sprain, Manning made a spur of the moment decision to attend the Shrine Bowl Combine. Favoring his damaged wheel, he turned a 4.84 on his first clocking in the 40. But he shed his shoes and ran a 4.75 on his second attempt in his socks. Under optimum conditions he's probably a 4.55 and a consistent 4.6 flat the rest of the time. However its his quickness and lateral mobility that make a natural at linebacker.
"I'm a lot quicker than my 40 time," he said. "I'm a side-to-side runner and try to be aggressive most of the time. I'm also really physical.
"I still want to improve my tackling technique and bulk up. I think by gaining weight I'd be able to be a bigger presence on the field."
Just as Manning plays faster than he clocks, he looks bigger than he weighs. He cuts an intimidating presence at middle linebacker and has a frame to add another 30 or 40 pounds. In essence: he has the mentality of a MLB and athleticism of a weakside backer. In some respects he's like former Vol and current NFL All-Pro pass rusher Leonard Little, who was the same size entering his senior year of high school in Asheville, N.C.
Terrell Manning doesn't indicate he has a favorite from a list of offers that includes: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, North Carolina State, North Carolina and South Carolina. He plans to commit to a school before his season begins, but with his mailbox overflowing he may be forced to extend his deadline.
"Basically I want to be able to see myself living there and choose a place I would go to even if I weren't playing football," Manning told Scout.com's national recruiting editor Allen Wallace. "I definitely want to commit before the season, so I plan to take a lot of unofficial visits this summer. I really want to visit Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Maryland, Alabama and Georgia. I plan to be busy."
Whether it's tackling football players or touring football facilities, Manning is sure to be a hit.