One of the biggest name prospects on the Florida Gators campus on Saturday night was defensive tackle Shavar Manuel (6-3, 262, Bradenton, FL IMG Academy), who is considered to be one of the best linemen in the country.
This was Manuel’s second visit to Florida this year and Saturday’s game didn’t disappoint the big lineman.
“It was a fun game throughout the whole game,” Manuel said. “Florida State and Florida go after it every year, it was fun.”
Manuel, who likes both the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles, says that Saturday’s outcome will play no role in his recruitment.
“This game doesn’t have an impact,” he said. “Recruit wise, this is just a game everything is still the same. I have much respect for both schools, they played their heart out today.”
Saturday night Manuel didn’t get to see a lot of positives from Florida but he did see a freshman lineman play, and he also received a message from the Gators.
“Florida tells me that I come in and be an impact freshman,” Manuel said. “They said that I could get mad plays and reps as a freshman. CeCe [Jefferson] made some plays tonight and it was just fun watching those guys.”
Over the last few months Manuel has said that the Florida Gators and LSU Tigers were on top, but Manuel now says that five teams are in the mix for his signature.
“Florida, Auburn, FSU, Clemson and LSU is still in there,” Manuel said. “I’ve already taken my official to LSU, but the rest of them will be in like January next year. I’m still looking at those schools in my top.”
Manuel has been to all of his top schools except Clemson, so his official visits will be more about getting to talk more in-depth with the coaching staffs.
“I know the coaching staffs and I talk to them a lot,” he said. “I basically just want to touch basis with them and I think it will be fun for my officials.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Right now I think the Florida Gators are the team to beat for Manuel but Florida State and LSU are in the mix. Manuel has a great relationship with Florida Gators defensive line coach Chris Rumph and that should play a big role in his recruitment.