Transportation issues could play a major role in Justin Manning's recruitment.
As the younger brother of former Oklahoma Sooner defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger, 2013 Dallas (TX) Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning has seemed like a Sooner lean for some time who could end the recruitment process at any point. It hasn't happened, however, and Manning released his top eight schools on Twitter on Saturday evening:
Top 8: (no order) TCU- OU- LSU- TexasA&M- USC- OklahomaSt.- Arkansas- TEXAS!!....— SILVERBACK_GRANG (@JustinGranger) June 3, 2012
The somewhat surprising inclusion on this list is Texas, as Manning has been lukewarm in his reception to the Longhorns throughout the process and had a public Twitter feud with Texas signee Peter Jinkens that included Manning tweeting Jinkens his address if he wanted to come over and fight.
For those into parsing the most minute details of such tweets, the capital letters and exclamation points involving Texas at the end could be a sign, but contact between Manning and the Texas coaching staff has been minimal throughout the spring and he has not been on campus since attending the first Junior Day in early February.
As for Oklahoma, Manning did not make the Sooner camp over the weekend, as previously planned. For other schools to seriously compete with Oklahoma for Manning's services, one or more visits to campus will likely be necessary.
Manning recently told Gigem247 that he has plans for summer visits ($):
As for out of state teams, I want to see LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State. In state, TCU, Texas A&M and maybe Texas. I don't have any plans set up just yet. I'm trying to find rides to different places.
As Manning mentioned, transportation can be an issue for the Metroplex product, which could play a major role in his recruitment by limiting his ability to take visits to schools on his list.
In the same interview mentioned above, the defensive tackle with an explosive first step had this to say about talk that he's locked in to become a Sooner:
For me going to Oklahoma, it used to be that way, but not now. Now I've opened things up and I'm considering all the schools and a few others in my top eight. I do like OU a lot but to say I'm a lock to go there isn't true.
As far as a timetable, the current plan is make an announcement some time in November, likely after taking official visits in the fall. These could become all the more important if Manning continues to struggle to find the transportation to take his planned summer visits. Can another school challenge Oklahoma with only one visit? Recruiting trends suggest that could be extremely difficult.
For more on Justin Manning, stay tuned to SBNation Recruiting and read his scouting report.