With early signing day beginning Wednesday, the Kentucky Wildcats just landed a big-time transfer for next season.
Today, Auburn Tigers transfer Tashawn Manning announced his commitment to the Wildcats. It comes after Manning visited Lexington over the weekend. He’ll have one year of eligibility at Kentucky.
This is a huge get for Kentucky, who is already losing starting offensive linemen Darian Kinnard, Austin Dotson and Luke Fortner, while Dare Rosenthal could be heading to the NFL Draft, leaving the Big Blue Wall with just one returning starter for the 2022 season.
Manning appeared in 12 games this season after starting every game at left guard in the 2020 season for Auburn. He started the final three games at left guard this season due to an injury to Brandon Council. Manning then entered his name into the transfer portal after head coach Bryan Harsin decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
Kentucky football is no stranger to inspirational stories, and Manning is also a very inspiring story for many across the sport.
Manning was Auburn's starting left guard throughout the 2020 season and in his 2021 snaps was graded by Pro Football Focus as the team's best run blocker.— Josh Moore (@JoshMooreHL) December 13, 2021
He'll have one year of eligibility at Kentucky.
On Thanksgiving of his senior year of high school, Manning was diagnosed with leukemia. From that diagnosis, he went through eight months of chemo, before he was declared cancer-free in July of 2016.
Manning didn’t arrive at Auburn until January of 2017 and has been growing into a solid SEC starter ever since.
Originally from Apopka (FL) the 6-foot-4, 270-pound, Manning was listed as a defensive lineman recruit coming out of high school. He was considered a 3-star prospect by the 247 Sports Composite rankings, which also ranked him as a top-65 defensive line recruit in the country. He’s since grown to 335 pounds.
Manning chose Auburn over offers from Louisville, Tennessee, North Carolina, NC State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Purdue, and several others.
For now, the safe bet is projecting Manning to be the starting right guard with Austin Dotson departing and Kenneth Horsey likely returning to start at left guard. Kentucky will still need to figure out center and right tackle, as well as left tackle if Rosenthal departs.
While the Big Blue Wall may take a step back in 2022 from what it was this season, having guys like Manning on board will help ensure it continues to play at a high level.
You can see some highlights of Manning (LG #56) in action in the videos below.