The Commodore coaching staff has already made a splash in the class of 2014 with the commitment of Nashville (TN) Montgomery Bell Academy’s Jashon Robertson. Not to mention, Vanderbilt has already offered other Middle Tennesseans out of the Class of 2014 as well, and several others are on the radar.
Vanderbilt is already off and running for 2014.
One of those firmly planted on Vanderbilt’s radar is Smith County’s Jalen Manning, and the talented athlete recently camped at Vanderbilt.
“It was a great experience. I was really happy about my performance. I obviously have things to improve on like others, but I was happy with the way I performed. I had a 10’2 broad jump along with a 4.5 forty. I thought I did well in the individual drills as well,” said Manning who also benches 400 pounds.
Manning admits that he is a big fan of the SEC, and he likes what he sees in the Vanderbilt program.
“I really like the hospitality and the coaches at Vanderbilt. You can tell that they care for their players, and I like that,” stated Manning. “I also like that Vanderbilt is an up and coming program, and they focus on academics.”
In addition to Vanderbilt, a host of schools including Louisville, Mississippi State, Oregon, Ohio State, and Tennessee have shown interest in the talented athlete from Carthage, Tennessee.
One question brought up by many is what position Manning will play once he gets to the next level. Many see him as a running back, but others think that he projects best as a safety, outside linebacker, or even corner.
As a sophomore, Manning rushed for 1,254 yards on 143 carries for a whopping 8.8 yards per carry and 16 touchdowns from his running back position. This season, he will start at both safety and running back, and many believe that he’s best on the defensive side of the ball.
“I just want to play anywhere that I can get on the field. Wherever the coach wants me to play and feels that it will help the team succeed, I’ll do it,” said Manning.
Manning is excited about the opportunity to play on both sides of the football this season.
“I’m preparing for playing both sides. I’m doing conditioning and weight training getting ready. I’m excited about playing defense. I can be the leader of the defense as I get to make the calls. I’m getting more comfortable on that side of the ball,” said Manning.
In addition to the Vanderbilt camp, Manning hopes to attend camps at Ohio State, Middle Tennessee, and Kentucky to show off his versatility.
Vanderbilt has already offered five other Middle Tennesseans of the class of 2014 in addition to MBA’s Jashon Robertson. These prospects include MBA’s Alex Bars, Independence’s Vic Wharton, Station Camp’s Josh Malone, Beech’s Jalen Hurd, and safety Rashaan Gaulden.
Could Smith County’s Jalen Manning be next? Maybe. But Manning is definitely a prospect for Vanderbilt fans to keep an eye on in the future.