As Lancaster wide receiver Omar Manning approaches his senior season of high school football, he’s considering a decision with the Texas Longhorns apparently surging in his recruitment.
Now, it’s certainly possible that the nation’s consensus No. 21 wide receiver will put off his commitment or continue to take visits after pledging, but there is some positive momentum for the ‘Horns, for whatever that is worth in the coming days.
For the first time in Manning’s recruitment, there are 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions in favor of Texas as of early this week, one from Horns247’s EJ Holland and one from GigEm247’s Taylor Hamm, a seeming switch in momentum from long-time perceived leader TCU.
With 4.66 speed in the 40-yard dash and a 34.5-inch vertical that complements extremely strong hands and an elite ability to adjust to the football, Manning is somewhat comparable to current Texas sophomore wide receiver John Burt.
The difference is that Burt took a huge leap from his junior to senior seasons as a wide receiver and Manning merely needs to improve upon the 20.3 yards per catch and touchdown every 2.75 times he touched the football as a junior.
When factoring in some rather average quarterback play, the production and evident ball skills put Manning’s No. 151 national ranking in more perspective than his current slot as the No. 21 wide receiver and illuminate the cause for his spot atop the wide receiver board.
But back to the recruitment that may feature a looming commitment.
The 6’3, 203-pounder visited Austin in June and again in July for the Under the Lights camp, the latter particularly important because it was the biggest recruiting event of the summer for the ‘Horns and the program’s biggest recruiting event until official visits heat up in January.
Don’t look for any pictures of Manning in the stadium that night, though, as he meet with the coaching staff before leaving without staying for the actual camp.
While interacting with the current players and commits will eventually be important for the big receiver, the time spent with Strong was crucial and illuminated Manning’s priority status even with so many other prospects around.
A visit to Oklahoma followed the trip to Texas, with the Sooners also in the mix now and perhaps ahead of the Horned Frogs.
As the remaining top target in a wide receiver class that already features athletic Tyler John Tyler product Damion Miller, Manning is the clear priority for position coach Charlie Williams and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.
For head coach Charlie Strong, getting the big Lancaster receiver around the current team and 2017 class and targets in January will likely be the key regardless of what happens in the coming months, but the process may be much easier if Manning does decide to commit to the ‘Horns in the coming weeks.
So if there’s a pending #LetsRide from Strong in regards to Manning, well, that will secure the basis for another strong class at the position as the crucial 2016 season looms.