February 13, 2012

Manning all about the competition

Justin Manning loves competition.

He relishes being on the bottom of a pile where the real action happens and welcomes the challenge of a double-team.

The sound of knocking the air out of an opponent is music to his ears and there's nothing he covets more than the look of fear on an undersized opponent's face.

But most of all, the 6-foot-3, 275 pound Dallas Kimball junior defensive tackle loves the thrill of a win.

That's why of all the programs currently recruiting him, the one with the most W's at the end of next season may claim the spoils of victory with his pledge.

"I just want to win," Manning said of what mattered most to him in choosing a program.

For the most part, the teams pursuing him have done just that the last few years and are on equal footing.
"TCU, Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and LSU - it's all equal," he said. "One school hasn't stood out to me yet (above the others)."

The four-star tackle, a member of the Rivals 100 ranked the No. 89 overall player in the nation, visited TCU's campus for junior day on Saturday before heading to Austin to check out Texas, which offered him on Sunday.

When comparing the two, Manning said the atmosphere at Texas was more "business", which he said wasn't a negative aspect, while TCU was more about "fun."

"We went to the rec and did some rock climbing," Manning said of his cross-Metroplex excursion on Saturday.

"I hung with the defensive line coach the whole time and the head coach. We played games and just talked," he said.

While he had some interest in the Frogs prior to his visit, Manning said his experience elevated TCU into contention with the Longhorns, Sooners, Tigers and Aggies.

"I didn't think (the campus) was going to look that good," he said.

"Everything was brand new and they said they are still adding more equipment to the workout facility."

TCU's move to the Big 12 also helped the Frogs' cause in landing Manning, who earned all-district honors as a junior after recording 43 tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles and 18 tackles for loss even while missing four games with a torn meniscus.

"It brings more competition," he said.

Two seasons ago, Manning was named district sophomore of the year after posting 68 tackles, five sacks and two fumble recoveries.

The brother of former Oklahoma defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger plans to visit Texas A&M and LSU and has no intention of committing anytime soon.

He had this to say when asked of his decision timetable: "Sometime after football season."

As far as which defensive scheme he'd prefer, Manning said the technique he'd play mattered more than scheme.

"If it's the 4-3, I'd rather be at tackle and if it was the 3-4, I'd rather be at end. I like to be surrounding the ball," he said.

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