First of all, if the name Manning sounds familiar, it should. Tahj Manning is Elijah Manning’s cousin, (Louisville Male, Class of 2022). Elijah made our Freshman All-State Football team, is rated the overall 11th best prospect in Kentucky’s 2022 class, and was a fixture on the various Team Kentuckys from FBU to Future Stars prior to enrolling in High School. We have featured Elijah in our on-line magazine on numerous occasions. That is he pictured to the left of this particular paragraph.
Now, if you were thinking Elijah was the only Manning who can play football, you, my friend, are sadly mistaken. There is football playing ability running rampant throughout the Manning family. Matter of fact, the Class of 2021 boasts a Manning who we believe will kill it in the upcoming football season for the below appearing reasons.
Tahj is a deceptively good athlete. Tahj runs better than you expect, is quicker than you expect, way more coordinated than you would assume, and way more explosive than you would assume. In a lot of ways he is similar to guys in his graduating class like William Long (Hoptown) and Cameron Willis (Johnson Central).
Tahj has really long arms permitting him to be a prospect on either the interior offensive or defensive line. Tahj has bench pressed 265 pounds in competition (Border Brawl, hereafter “BB”) and has power-cleaned, again in competition (BB), 230 pounds. Neither of those lifts are “true maxes” for this athlete as he will firmly establish during this offseason’s progression.
As an example of plenty of pounds remaining in his competition bench-press, Manning floor-pressed 285 pounds, barely failing at 295, just this week. A “floor-press” is basically a bench-press lying flat against the floor.
It is generally considered a harder lift than the flat-bench, or bench-press, as the “down-stroke,” is a “negative-rep.” By negative-rep, what is meant is the lifter has to take the weight down both slowly and measured before firing back up to the locked-out position.
Most people, owing to momentum and bottom of the lift-bounce, bench-press considerably more than they floor-press. Manning also back-squats 425 pounds and that lift will exponentially rise this offseason. After all, his squatter’s back-side is one of his most pronounced physical traits and one which lends itself well to the back-squat. Like before, Manning shares that physical trait with class-mates Long and Willis together with his cousin, Elijah (Class of 2022, Male HS).
There is a saying in football circles that The weight room isn’t for everyone. Then again, neither is playing time…nor winning. We don’t know the origin of the cliché, if you will, but heartily endorse and believe it.
Had Tahj Manning bought into that particular saying prior to his sophomore season (2018), a year in which he played a plethora of defensive snaps, we believe he may have had an All-State year like Elijah. Tahj is an All-State capable player with All-State levels of athleticism, physical ability, power, explosion, and strength. Regardless of what he either did or didn’t do leading up to 2018, he appears to have bought-in fully this off-season, which is all that matters. We can’t presently choose the road we’ve traveled but can select the path which lies ahead. There’s a cliché we just originated. Pretty clever, huh?
So, were we to bet, and we really aren’t the gambling-type at KPGFootball; but, if we were…what are the odds Tahj Manning breaks out in 2019 to have a fantastic junior campaign? What are the odds he puts himself squarely in discussion for coaches looking for players who can play on Saturdays?
If he continues to work like what we have been seeing from him this offseason, and continues to make the physical strides we have witnessed thus far, we would have to say we like those odds. From where we sit, the “smart-money” would be wagered on that occurring; again, if we were the betting type. Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen!
Reporting for KPGFootball, this is F.W. Long, reminding all of you ballers out there to PLAY THROUGH THE WHISTLE.
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