Rutgers redshirt freshman Solomon Manning has spent the spring transitioning from linebacker to defensive end after enrolling early as a true freshman last January. He talked about that position change with Scarlet Nation this past weekend.
“It was before spring ball. I started getting into the meetings with the D-line and it’s been great. They have been great support. I think it will also help because I am used to playing linebacker.”
To prepare for that role, Manning upgraded his weight to 240 pounds, which was quite a jump from where he was a year ago.
“I came in around 198 pounds. It’s been a little hard at times, but with this amazing strength and conditioning staff I have been able to put on the right weight, keep my speed, and keep my explosion,” Manning said. “So when I get out on the field and put the pads on, I am ready to go and mess some stuff up.”
Manning spent last year watching and talked about what it was like redshirting his first season.
“I was a little disappointed because I came in and enrolled early. Every freshman who comes in thinks they are going to play. It taught me that I had a lot more to learn and I needed to develop more as a player. My technique was bad. I needed to work more on that. I had to get my weight up. Mentally, I needed to learn the plays and focus in so I had the right technique on certain plays. S9 the redshirt year was good for me.”
One of the benefits Manning also enjoyed as an early enrollee was the ability to get a leg up on the academic side of being a Big Ten student athlete.
“The staff here is amazing as far as academics go. My second semester after I enrolled early was way better. I started to get the hang of things. The balance between football and school has been great.”
For more on Manning and the D-Ends, check out our latest Scarlet Slant.