Miami (Fla.) Edison struggled as a team in 2009. The Red Raiders had a disappointing season, but a young defensive back was a bright spot for the program.
Donaldven Manning held his own at the cornerback position and now the 5-foot-11, 155-pound defender enters his junior year as one of the top prospects in the Sunshine State. In fact, he has already been offered by a trio of programs.
"I have verbal offers from the University of Central Florida, Miami and the University of North Carolina," Manning said. "With UNC I was talking to my recruiter and I was joking around and told him I was waiting for scholarship. He told me I have to wait until Sep. 1 and one would be in the mail.
"With UM I had gone down to their camp. My coach told me they had offered after that. UCF was the same way. I performed really well at UM. I talked to coach (Wesley) McGriff and they moved me to field with all the seniors. They wanted to see me go against them. I finished that camp with three picks. I had two in the 7-on-7 part and one in the 1-on-1's."
Manning also attended a camp in Gainesville a few weeks back.
"I also went to Friday Night Lights (at Florida)," he said. "They had invited my coach and I up there. They said I performed real well, it's just that I need to put on more weight.
"I'm trying to gain weight. I'm trying some protein drinks. I want someone to tell me what's right, though. I don't want to take any type of drugs or anything and not know it and get in trouble. I know I'll be able to put on good weight when I'm able to work with somebody. I'm not too worried about it."
Of the schools that have extended verbal tenders, Manning says one program is above the others at the moment due to his relationship with the coaching staff.
"I'd have to say that UCF sticks out right now," he said. "I have a really good relationship with David Kelly. He's the recruiter for the Miami area. He's welcomed me into the family."
Manning also says there are a few other programs from which he would like to hear.
"Ohio State, I've always dreamed of playing there," he said. "I like the tradition. I've also always liked Oregon and California-Berkeley."
Though just a sophomore a year ago, the young defender had a chance to go up against some of the top receivers in the city.
"I play corner. I'll play man-to-man all day," Manning said. "I take out the receiver to my side. Last fall I shut down Tommy Shuler, the receiver that has all kinds of records in Dade. I also held down Willis Wright and Quinton Dunbar. I had a little bit of Joshua Reese but he didn't play the whole game."