Manning Talks Recruitment

One of the top remaining players on the Texas board talks about his recruitment, what he's looking for and future trips.

Justin Manning had a trip to Texas planned for the Spring Game, but canceled. And Thursday night, the defensive tackle said that he had to do the same to this weekend's planned trip to Oklahoma because his brother had to work.

But Manning said neither school should take anything from the cancellations, and said that he wants to make a return trip to both schools.

"Right now, I'm playing things by ear," Manning said.

Playing things by ear is a good way to describe Manning's recruitment. The 6-foot-2, 275-pound defensive tackle is taking his time with his recruitment, and said he had a specific reason for doing so.

"When I go on visits, I evaluate the coaches," Manning said. "I care about winning, and I look at the schools and all that, but it's mostly about trust. I have to trust you to want to play for you. I need to trust the people surrounding me."

And Manning admitted that gauging trust was a process. So it isn't surprising when the defensive tackle — most often linked to LSU, Oklahoma and Texas — says that he is wide open, and didn't have a timetable for his decision.

"I haven't really narrowed it down at all," said Manning, before stating that the decision would come whenever he was comfortable.

Manning said he was still taking in the process, which he said came as a bit of a surprise initially.

"Honestly, I didn't think I was good at all," Manning said. "I didn't play defensive tackle until my sophomore year. I was on the offensive line before that, probably because I didn't mention my brother until I got to high school."

Manning's brother is former blue chipper and Oklahoma Sooner DeMarcus Granger.

"After my sophomore year, I got an offer from A&M, but I thought it was just because of my brother," Manning said. "It took a while before I realized (it was for me)."

Now, that shouldn't come as any big surprise. Manning has emerged as arguably the top defensive tackle in a loaded class for them, up against talents like Texas commitment A'Shawn Robinson and Texas A&M commitment Isaiah Golden. But Manning said he tried to keep Granger's advice in his mind.

"He just told me not to get too big-headed through it all," Manning said. "He told me to stay humble.

"As far as saying where I need to go to school, he hasn't really said anything," Manning said. "All he ever said was, when I was on my way to Oklahoma for Junior Day, he told me 'I wouldn't be taking you to Oklahoma if it was a bad school.'"

Manning made the that trip to Oklahoma after visiting Texas, but it was hardly his first time in Norman.

"I found myself comparing the schools a bit in my head," Manning said. "I was more into the Texas one, just because I hadn't ever been there and I enjoyed seeing new stuff. At Oklahoma, it was just another day at the park."

And Manning said neither trip would likely be his last to either campus. He said he plans to visit both schools again unofficially, though if his recruiting process stretches out, official visits could also come into play.

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