Transfers have had a ton of success at Kentucky. Early returns indicate that Auburn transfer Tashawn Manning is going to have a huge impact for new offensive line coach Zach Yenser.
After spending five seasons at Auburn playing for both Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin, Manning hit the transfer portal after the 2021 season and quickly landed at Kentucky. The Apopka (Fla.) Wekiva product was a three-star recruit in the class of 2016 who went on to start 14 games in the SEC West over the last two seasons.
Early reports are that Manning has made an immediate impact on the Big Blue Wall.
“Heavy,” said Justin Rogers. “He definitely going to get me right for new games against Georgia or Florida.”
“He’s strong. He’s real strong. When he puts his hands on you it’s hard to get them off,” said Tre’vonn Rybka. “Don’t let him touch you.”
“I call him the little refrigerator because once he gets his hands on you it’s over with,” said Jacquez Jones.
To say that Kentucky’s defensive personnel is impressed with the new addition on the offensive line would be an understatement. Manning is currently running with the ones at right guard as he has replaced Eli Cox after the Nicholasville (Ky.) West Jessamine product shifted to center. The new addition is making waves.
At Auburn, Manning excelled as a puller on gap scheme runs and was very good at anchoring in pass protection. A former defensive tackle, the transfer has great size to go along with excellent play strength. Both those traits appear to be making an impact for Kentucky.
“I’m trying to take this team to the next level. Take the o-line to the next level,” Manning told reporters prior to spring practice. “I’m coming in — it’s my last year — and I’m coming to give everything I’ve got.”
So far, so good for the Auburn transfer. Tashawn Manning has solidified the right guard spot, and that will allow the Wildcats to have one of the best guard-center-guard units as the transfer teams up with Cox and left guard Kenneth Horsey.
Expect Kentucky to establish the run early and often this season behind Manning.