Linebacker Manny Abreu out of Union City (N.J.) Union Hill is a class of 2007 prospect that has already landed two scholarship offers. We got a chance to talk to his coach Joe Rotondi about the 6-foot-3, 215-pound star to find out more on the young prospect.
"He's only a rising junior and he's got two offers from Rutgers and Maryland," Rotondi said. "I contacted the schools I know and the coaches I trust to put his name out there. They all told me he's a big-time player. He's going to be a blue-chip guy and most likely will be a linebacker or maybe a receiver/tight end in college."
What makes Abreu stand out?
"He's got great range, feet and he's a tremendous hitter," he said. "He started both ways for us as a sophomore and he plays with a tenacity on the field. He's a 100% practice and player who has a motor that doesn't stop. He'll make plays across the field and track people down, he can hunt. He's one of those guys that's always around the football and last year I remember he made a couple of spectacular tackles.
"I think he's just hitting his potential and he just turned 16. He's also a great kid, a good student who takes football seriously and wants to compete at the next level and knows what to do to get there. Overall, he's had limited exposure and is a very humble kid, respectful and he comes from a good family. He's got tremendous parental support and appreciates everything he gets. He is the most polite, soft-spoken gentleman you want to meet and even his teacher calls him the gentle giant. Most people can't believe that he's a mean, rough and tumble guy on the field."
Coach Rotondi took his prize recruit to Rutgers recently for a practice.
"We went to Rutgers and he was very impressed with the school and facilities," he said. "We watched practice just to give him a taste of what practice is like on the college level."
Does Abreu have any favorites?
"I would say he has no preference now, he may have a favorite team, but I haven't talked to him about it," he said. "He knows this is a life decision though and the process is just beginning."
Rotondi has big expectations for his athlete this season.
"I can tell he's twice as good as last year and he's getting faster and stronger," he said. "Last year he was a lanky sophomore as he only started playing football as a freshman, but now he is somewhat developed as a junior and he's still growing. My expectations this year are that he'll be a force and teams will have to scheme against him in every game. I expect him to be a bigger playmaker and we're going to get him the ball more on offense. We plan to get the ball in his hands 15 times a game with sweeps, pass routes and more. I'm looking for him to make things happen with his athleticism and put him in a position to make plays."
Abreu recorded 100 tackles and four receiving touchdowns as a sophomore. He went on to be named honorable mention all-county.