Catching Up With Donaldven Manning

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The Kickoff Classic may only be a preseason game, but defending 6A state champion Miami Central (FL) made a statement last week with a 33-14 win over a talented Dwyer squad. In this latest update, Central senior cornerback Donaldven Manning reflects on last week’s performance and also talks recruiting, which is not over despite the pledge he gave to the Hokies last February.

Beginning with last Friday night’s contest, Manning, said, “I played pretty good. I had six tackles and a two pass break-ups. Our coaches were most pleased with the way I played on special teams, me being good at the gunner. I know for sure I could help [Virginia] Tech out there early on. I also came down and made a couple of great tackles.”

The offseason has been a busy one for Manning, who played for Miami Edison the first three seasons of his high school career.

“When [the offseason] first started up, me and some of the local players, we first took the approach of us all working out together,” Manning said. “We did that to get an early competition level with each other. Then there were practices and two-a-days in the spring. I worked in track a lot too, to get my speed better. I worked at the beach and in the sand to improve my footwork.”

Manning attended several camps, including Alabama and FSU, played in 7 on 7 tournaments, and also attended the Junior Rank combine. The Miami native says he has been selected to play in the latter’s newly founded Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, which will take place on January 3.

The 5’10”, 160-pound Manning earned over 20 major FBS scholarship offers before he committed to Virginia Tech on February 3. He maintains that he is “very solid” with the decision he made, but he is exploring other options. He has scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame for the weekend of October 22 and adds that he is “working with” Nebraska and Alabama on official visit dates as well. A return trip to Blacksburg is also expected.

“Most definitely, Tech will be one of the options,” Manning said when asked if he would take an official visit to Virginia Tech. “When I came up before, it was beautiful.”

Of the decision to further explore other schools, he said, “I want to make sure I weigh all my options. Even though Tech may