Coming off of his recent visit to the University of Maryland for Junior Day, Colonia HS (N.J.) 2016 linebacker Solomon Manning has taken this week to reflect on his time spent on campus last weekend. After digesting all the information thrown at him, Manning came away from Junior Day impressed.
"When I first got there, I got to see the facility where I’m going to be most of the time," said Manning. "We were there pretty much the whole day. They were showing us the weight room, cafeteria and all of the position rooms where our team meetings will take place. I got to see the linebacker’s room where we would go over film and other classrooms. It’s pretty much where I’m going to be most of the day."
Maryland played host to nine prospects from the state of New Jersey, which accounted for half of the participants for Junior Day. Courting that many kids from New Jersey could spill over into more heated recruiting battles with Rutgers in the years to come, as many prospects from the Garden State have expressed legitimate interest in the Terps.
"I know from a lot of reactions after Junior Day, people are interested in Maryland," he said. "After I got home, I got on Twitter and saw a lot of people from New Jersey talking about it and saying it was great. As far as New Jersey recruits as a whole, they seem to like Maryland."
While on campus for his visit, Manning was able to listen to presentations about the Cole Field House renovation project. Seeing the dimensions and layout of the new complex was very intriguing to the prospect and already envisions how the facility could be put to efficient use.
"I thought it was pretty cool. It was pretty interesting," he said. "They’re planning on having an indoor practice facility connected to the weight room. I think that will be nice not just during the season, but I think during the offseason it will be more useful. Whenever I don’t have that many classes, I can get over there and get a lift in and focus on getting some field work in too."
New defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski serves as Manning’s lead recruiter. With his transition into a newer, expanded role, he hasn’t been able to specifically pinpoint where Manning could play should a scholarship offer be extended.
"Coach Dudzinski is my lead recruiter, and he said they are going over all of the offensive players first, and in a couple of weeks, they’ll go over the defense," he said. "It’s hard to say right now because I don’t have an offer yet."
Pittsburgh and Old Dominion were the first two schools to recognize Manning’s talent and ability to the point of offering a scholarship. Manning, the 15th-best player in the state of New Jersey according to the 247Sports Composite, knows that there is much to learn in regards to the Panthers and Monarchs.
"I don’t know much about the schools yet, which is why I’m going to have to take some visits to each school," he said. "One thing I know is I’ve met the coaches for both schools, and they’re really cool."
The offseason leading up to senior year is monumental for kids trying to establish their name amongst college coaches nationwide. For Manning, the mindset of finishing high school football on a strong note trumps everything else.
"I would like to announce before my senior year," he said. "So I can focus on my craft and make sure I finish off my senior year on a strong note and not have to worry about where I’m going to go to college."