Last season the Gaffney Indians steamrolled the competition throughout the regular season and playoffs until they ran into their nemesis Byrnes again in the state championship game which upended their dreams of a perfect season. One of their strengths from a year ago will be a strength once again as their offensive line decimated opponents last season with strength and size. 2013 offensive guard Donovan Manning is one of their top linemen and he's already garnered one offer and has tons of other schools showing early interest.
Schools are taking a liking to 6'2 260 pound Donovan Manning as he had a strong junior season and has put together some strong showings on the camp and combine circuit this summer. Manning talked about the schools he's hearing from currently.
"I have heard from Toledo, Duke, Florida State, Old Dominion, Elon, Air Force, Wake Forest, Gardner Webb, Appalachian State, Pittsburgh, UNC Charlotte, Campbell, South Carolina, Clemson, Furman, and Virginia Tech."
Out of those schools Manning says Gardner Webb, Appalachian State, and UNC Charlotte are recruiting him the hardest currently.
The Gaffney prospect talked about some recent camp stops with those schools.
"I did attend the UNC Elite camp where the coaches were impressed with my strength that was back in June. The coaches from the new program at UNC Charlotte have been recruiting me hard. I went to visit with them and got a chance to tour the campus. I also attended the Appalachian State camp on June 17th and the coaches were impressed because I could play both sides of the ball. I also impressed the d-line coach at Wake Forest in one on ones, that was also in early June."
"I also attended the Gardner Webb camp and they liked my performance on d-line. They gave me my first offer."
He shared with us what he likes most about the North Carolina school and a helping hand that already is a member of the GW family.
"I like the fact that Gardner Webb is a Christian based school and comes highly recommended when it comes to getting a job."
"My older brother Don is a tight end at Gardner Webb and having him to lean on when I have a question about the game has made me a better player overall. He has helped me with my footwork and agility and he is very resourceful when it comes to needing help with a playbook."
The 2013 Gaffney prospect says he's open to everyone at this point and is hoping to hear more from the likes of South Carolina, Wake Forest, and Florida State.
On the field Manning talked with us about what he feels are his biggest strengths currently.
"My strength, my ability to get out on linebackers, and loving contact are probably my biggest strengths."
To improve he says he'll continue to work on his technique, footwork, and hat placement.
A little bit of payback is on Manning and the Indians' mind this coming season.
"I am really looking forward to the Byrnes game because we lost to them in the state championship game."
The Rebels also hosted the player Manning says was the most difficult he faced last season.
"Toughest player I went against was Rashad Dillard from Byrnes. He was tough to deal with because he had quick hands and a low center of gravity."
Another rival saw Manning have his best game of the season he says.
"My best game last season was against Spartanburg High. I recorded 7 pancakes in one game. What made it so memorable was that we were playing our old rivals which gave me a little more energy."
Asked if he would compare his game to any player out there he quickly replied, "I would compare my game to Ndamukong Suh because he wants to win no matter what. That's what type of mentality you have to have playing the game of football."
Manning has thought things through thoroughly when it comes to assessing what he'll weigh the most when choosing a college too.
"The most important factors for me when it comes to choosing a college are education first, graduation rate second, coaching staff, atmosphere, style of play, and then playing time because you have to figure out where you would fit in at before thinking about playing."
SCPrepNation.com will have more updates with Donovan Manning as we expect more schools to step up their recruiting efforts once they see him early on in his senior season. So keep it dialed in right here for the very latest!
INSIDE THE NUMBERS...DONOVAN MANNING
Bench Press: 320 pounds
Squat: 455 pounds
Power Clean: 260 pounds
Fastest 40: 4.98 seconds
Pro shuttle: 4.77 seconds
Broad Jump: 8'5"
A CLOSER LOOK...DONOVAN MANNING
Favorite food: BBQ Chicken
Favorite movie: Friday Night Lights
Favorite music artist: Meek Mill
Favorite subject in school: English
Dream School: Florida State
Dream Date: Meagan Good
Favorite football player: Ndamukong Suh
One thing that most people would be surprised to know about me: "That I can sing."