Justin Manu had plenty of options when it came time to decide where to continue his college football career.
In the end, the Snow College tackle went with his gut feeling.
Manu had a good time in Denton on his official visit earlier this month, saw how he would fit in at UNT for the last two years of his college career and committed to play for the Mean Green because of those factors.
“I had a good feeling about North Texas,” Manu said. “My visit went really well.”
Oral commitments are non-binding. Manu said he would sign with UNT today during the first day of the mid-term signing period for junior college players.
Manu (6-foot-5, 285 pounds) said that he was also offered a scholarship by Florida Atlantic, UNLV, Youngstown and Ball State.
UNT recruited Manu to play right tackle. He was a first-team NJCAA All-American last season and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Mean Green.
Manu will transfer to UNT at the semester break and participate in spring practice.
UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales, a former Snow College assistant coach, recruited Manu.
“He has all the measurables,” Snow assistant Britt Maughan said. “He is one of the most athletic offensive tackles I have been around.”
UNT has two of its top three tackles returning next season in Antonio Johnson (starting left tackle) and LaChris Anyiam but lost Coleman Feeley to graduation. Feeley rotated with Anyiam at right tackle and made six starts as a senior.
Manu believes he has reached the point where he can step in and play a major role right away at the FBS level after two seasons in junior college.
“I really grew as a player at Snow,” Manu said. “There was not a lot to do there. I really worked hard at becoming a better player.”
UNT’s offensive line was one of its best units last season. The Mean Green finished the regular season tied with Air Force for the fewest number of sacks allowed nationally with six and was also productive in the running game, largely because of its offensive front.
UNT finished with 2,082 rushing yards in 12 games behind a trio of running backs that posted at least 500 yards each. Brandin Byrd led UNT with 860 yards, while Antoinne Jimmerson added 544 and Jeremy Brown had 500.
UNT lost two seniors from its offensive line in Feeley and center Aaron Fortenberry, the team’s only first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection.
Manu is the second junior college player to commit to UNT who could help bolster the unit. Trinity Valley center Shawn McKinney committed to UNT earlier this month.
Manu served as a team captain last season at Snow.
“Out of high school he was a natural big kid and has developed into a leader for us,” Snow offensive line coach Mike Meifu said. “He was a great player for us.”
Free tickets offered
The UNT athletic department is giving away 3,000 tickets for its game Thursday against Lehigh through a promotional offer on its website.
A UNT booster donated the money to cover the cost of the tickets that will be given away at www.meangreensports.com.
The game will be one of the highest profile games UNT plays all season, largely because of the showdown between a pair of top NBA prospects in Tony Mitchell and Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum.
McCollum leads the nation in scoring with an average of 24.9 points a game, while Mitchell is averaging 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.
Both participated in the LeBron James Skills Academy this summer for top NBA prospects.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
The following is a list of players who have committed to become members of North Texas 2013 signing class:
Valor Christian (Colo.)
Fort Bend Elkins
Snow College (Utah)
Trinity Valley JC
Wichita Falls Rider
Fort Bend Austin
* Transfer currently enrolled at UNT