Going into last Friday’s game against Cherokee, Jackson Manns was leading his county and was 8th in the state with over 514 yards receiving and 4 touchdowns. At night’s end, he remained firmly at the top in the country by over 100 yards, but now has extra notoriety around campus after the big play he made.
It was overtime against Cherokee, and there was not a bigger moment for the senior to make an impact. Down 24-21, Etowah had the chance to steal a game against the favored Warriors on the road, so they looked no further to their reliable senior receiver to make a play.
It all happened so quick; Etowah ran a slant down the middle with Manns who caught a bullet from fellow senior Dalton Miller. He crossed the endzone, but before he knew it, Manns was walloped by two Cherokee defenders that sent the senior on his back, but the football still rested firmly in his arms. The sticky-handed receiver had held tight, and gave Etowah the 27-24 victory over their rivals in stunning fashion.
The senior popped up immediately, the crowd went wild as his teammates stormed the field in celebration. A few day later, the senior ended up in our top 10 plays, and finished 3rd in the final vote thanks to the tremendous support from the Etowah community.
It might all seem like whirlwind at this point for the senior. Going into the season, Manns had a very simple goal for himself.
“At the start of the year I really wanted to become the number one option for our team offensively and lead our team to a playoff run,” he said.
Both goals are definitely on track. Etowah sits at 3-3 but is 1-0 in region play with a 3-game stretch ahead where they should be favored Then one last big game looming against Roswell – granted there are no easy games in Region 4. On offense, Manns has double the receiving yards of the 2nd option on his team, but now that we are the midpoint of the season, those goals have changed.
“Since then, I have have shifted my focus to just doing whatever my team needs me to do to win.”
Last Friday’s catch against Cherokee was a brutal hit, but was the epitome of doing anything to help his team win. Just watch the senior’s film, and you can tell he has worked on his route running to get separation, but you also see him making an impact on defense where he already has several interceptions too. The two-way athlete has been a difference-maker at Etowah, and has really shown to be a solid all-around football prospect for the next level.
Going back to last year, Manns was a junior that caught our eye just looking at his 6’2″ frame and quality numbers in the weight room, but there definitely seems to be a difference in how he is playing in 2019.
“I feel like I have improved greatly on being a go-to option for my team when a big play is needed, where as last year, I hid from that moment,” the senior confessed.
That jolt of confidence has been instrumental to his breakout performance, and if he continues his current pace, then Manns will be over 1000 yards at seasons end. Colleges will definitely be taking notice the longer he stays atop of the state leaderboard in receiving, but right now, Manns remains under the recruiting radar.
The savvy senior receiver doesn’t models his game after any one athlete, saying, “I just want to be the best athlete I can be.” But since we are talking comparisons, Manns gives off some Adam Thielen vibes with his pin-point route running and toughness to get yards after the catch too.
The senior has definitely made the most of this season thus far, so we asked him to take a moment and reflect on his experiences playing football at Etowah.
“Friday nights are the best because you get to play in front of the people you grew up with and your surrounding community know that all the young players are looking up to you.”
There are still more games to play, and with Etowah looking to make a solid push in the postseason, there will definitely be more film for college coaches to chew on, so stay tuned to @RecruitGeorgia to hear the latest on Jackson Manns recruitment and many more athletes across the state.