2007 Class: Khalil Latif Leads Lancers

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6-4, 290-pound Khalil Latif transferred from Monacan High School (Richmond, VA) to Manchester (Richmond, VA) before the end of his sophomore year, and Manchester head coach Tom Hall feels lucky that he did. As a junior last season, Latif, who primarily played offensive tackle but did play some defensive end as well, earned Richmond Times-Dispatch first-team all-metro honors for his performance.

“He transferred here midway through his sophomore season from Monacan,” Hall said. “He started working hard in the off-season and had a great junior year. He’s 6-4 ½, 290 pounds and he looks like he’s 220 pounds. He’s really lean. He can bench 360 pounds and I think he’ll be the first player I’ve ever had at Manchester to bench over 400 pounds. He had over 80 pancake blocks for us this past year. He’s a rare talent who has abilities you can’t teach. He runs extremely well for his size. He has really long arms.

“He’s the best offensive lineman I’ve seen in a long time.”

Latif welcomed the change in schools as well and feels as though he has benefited from it.

“It was a change of mentality because of the people around me,” Latif said. “I mean, I knew I was a good player back then but coming here kind of changed me a little bit from the way I was.”

One performance from last season stood out in particular. It was when Latif went head-to-head against John Graves, the 4-star Meadowbrook defensive end who signed with Virginia Tech earlier this month.

“He played against John Graves last year and Graves came up to him after the game and told him he was the best lineman he had ever played against,” Hall said. “Khalil came into last season as an unknown and left being a player everyone knows about.”

Succeeding against a top talent like Graves certainly boosted the Manchester star’s confidence.

“I think he built the rest of my season and the way it went,” Latif said of Graves. “He was the best around here. After that, it was kind of like smooth riding.”

Next season, Latif will headline a very good group of returning Manchester offensive linemen. Coach Hall returns Latif, Josh Turner, Tyler Kesper, Richie Stewart and Derek Tribbey – all of these players could help Manchester enjoy a special season in 2006.

“I think we can do real well,” Latif said. “We have a lot of seniors