Hank Manos is supposed to be getting ready for wrestling practice, not his first day as a student at the University of South Carolina.
The former 3-star center from Chapin (S.C.) High School was among the group of 2018 signees who was on campus for the first day of class on Tuesday.
Manos, who played in the Under Armour All-America Game earlier this month in Orlando, Fla., typically spends this time of year in the 265-pound range, 10 pounds below the limit for heavyweight wrestlers in the state.
Now, as he navigates his way around the South Carolina campus, Manos has an eye on his weight, but from a different perspective.
“I would lose the weight, and I would naturally cut body fat [during wrestling practice],” he said. “So, now, without it, I’m having to gain the weight and cut body fat. … And not get fat, that’s the goal, to try and not get fat.
“Try to get big, not fat.”
Fortunately, for him, South Carolina strength and conditioning director Jeff Dillman has a plan in place to ensure that Manos, who’s in the range of 280 pounds, is at a good weight once spring practice begins in a month or so.
“[Dillman] definitely wants to build me up,” Manos said. “Try to put as much weight as he can on me. … It’s great to watch him work with those players, because some of the times that I’ve been in there, when he’s with players, he changes the emotion of the room as soon as he walks in. He’s always on go, always pedal to the metal, fast-paced. It’s amazing.”
Manos arrived to South Carolina last week with a chance to compete for the starting center spot left behind by multiyear starter Alan Knott. Redshirt freshman Eric Douglas is among the players expected to be in the mix for the vacant spot on coach Eric Wolford’s offensive line.
“[Wolford] said there’s some competition. Obviously, there’s always going to be competition in a college setting, but there’s nobody that he doesn’t think that I [can’t] out-effort and out-tough,” Manos said. “That’s my goal, as far as playing, just try to outwork, try to out-tough. That’s what I learned from Chapin.
“We always said we’re going to outwork ‘em, out-tough ‘em, so try to go in, fight for reps, fight for weight-room time, fight for extra time with Coach, try and get as much time as I can.”