Virginia Tech is on the board in a big way in 2012 football recruiting. One day after Signing Day for the 2011 class, the Hokies picked up commitments from two outstanding cornerback prospects in Miami Central (Miami, FL) star Davion Tookes.
Manning, a 5-10, 160-pound junior, chose Virginia Tech over a slew of offers including Alabama, Florida and Miami.
“[Committing to Virginia Tech] has been in his mind for a long time,” said former Miami Edison defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator Marlon Williams, who is a mentor to Manning. Manning played three seasons at Edison before recently transferring to Miami Central. “I asked him if he was sure about doing it this early. He said yes. I asked about three more times. This is what he wants to do.”
The fact that he has never visited Virginia Tech before didn’t matter to the blue-chip prospect, who is sold on the Hokies for several reasons.
“Ever since he was a young kid, when I met him in the ninth and 10th grade, we’ve watched a lot of football. Virginia Tech’s tradition at the cornerback position is second to none,” Williams said. “He always liked it. Even when he wasn’t contacted by Virginia Tech, he mentioned Virginia Tech in his list of favorite schools. A reporter asked him and he mentioned Virginia Tech as one of his favorites. All of the sudden, the interest started coming. We had a chance to go up and watch Virginia Tech in the bowl game. We watched a practice. I think Coach Gray was a big selling point. Coach Gray does a great job of teaching technique. He’s a technique-based coach. Manning enjoyed watching him and felt he needed to be around that.”
Manning “knows what he wants,” said Williams, who will make the trek with Manning to Virginia Tech sometime this spring. “I’m not going to be the guy to tell him where to go, either. I told him I support him 100-percent. I asked him why he would commit without seeing it first, and he said he didn’t care. He said if he just has football, his laptop and his Playstation, he’ll be fine (laughs).”
Manning informed Coach Gray of his decision on Thursday night. This time next year, the Miami Central star hopes to reside in Blacksburg as he plans on graduating high school in December and enrolling at Tech next January.
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