- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
Dallas Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning wanted to get a better feel for Texas A&M on his official visit to the campus over the weekend. On Sunday night, after returning home from College Station, Texas, the ESPN 150 member and nation's eighth-ranked defensive tackle said he was able to do just that.
"I tried to get a good feel as much as possible," Manning said. "From the time I stepped on campus I was paying close attention to everything."
Overall, Manning came away with positive takeaways from his visit to Aggieland.
"It was good," Manning said. "The coaching staff, the players, everything. Everything was good."
The Aggies are one of five schools that Manning is currently considering. The others are LSU, Oklahoma, TCU and USC.
Before he left town Sunday morning, he got to spend plenty of time talking to the Texas A&M coaches, and they hammered home their need for him.
"It wasn't anything I hadn't heard already or anything I didn't already know," Manning said. "They were saying it again so I can get the picture of how much they can really use me. They have three graduating seniors on the [defensive] line."
Manning was hosted by junior defensive end Damontre Moore, who is also a Metroplex-area product. Manning said he already knows several Aggies, including other Metroplex products like freshmen Thomas Johnson and De'Vante Harris, from their little league playing days.
As for the game against Arkansas, Manning said he enjoyed it and was impressed by the Aggies.
"They played a good game against a good physical team," he said. "It was a well-played game."
A&M receivers coach David Beaty has been the coach most recruiting Manning but on the visit, Manning got to know Aggies' defensive line coach Terry Price, who would be his position coach if he picked A&M.
"He's a cool dude," Manning said. "I could see myself playing for him and things like that."
Manning said he got the impression that the coaching staff cares about more than just his football abilities.
"They care about your grades," he said. "They don't want to just use you for football. They want you to do well and graduate.
"It's a good sign this could be a good fit for me."
Manning's decision date is still set for Oct. 19, when he and his Kimball teammates host Dallas Pinkston for Kimball's homecoming game. He has a TCU visit lined up for this coming weekend but said he might have to reschedule his LSU visit because it falls on his homecoming weekend. He still is also trying to schedule an official visit to USC for after the season.
He has a sense for his intentions but is leaving the door open for other possibilities.
"I have a strong idea of where I'm going to go," Manning said. "But that 'what if' in my head keeps calling me."
20hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
2dEdward Aschoff and Greg Ostendorf