"Batman": What Northwestern Fans Are Saying

Sorry Tim, your titles are just too good to even attempt to match. My solution is to steal them.

I was actually excited when we drafted Sherrick McManis for a couple reasons. First, he has a sweet name. Second, he goes to Northwestern. I like NU. Third, he plays at a position that the Texans need help with and he has potential to help elsewhere (after the jump). So I headed over to Sippin' On Purple, NU's SB Nation blog to search for more in-depth analysis on the newest (and only?) Texan from Northwestern. Rodger Sherman, an avid NU fan, was awesome enough to give me his thoughts on McManis' potential with the Texans; specifically his ability to play safety. Needless to say, I'm sold on this pick now.

It's weird for me to say this, but now that I've thought about it, McManis will definitely be a better contributor at safety than corner in the NFL. For his entire career here, Sherrick was our lockdown corner:  If you look at big performances by opposing wide receivers over the past few years against Northwestern, it's either because a) Sherrick was hurt or b) we were playing Ohio State, which is really its own issue, but that's besides the point. So it seems weird for me to picture him not at corner, which is why I was kind of taken aback when people started talking about him as a safety in the NFL.
But as an NFL corner, he'll be a step slow. The single ridiculous skill I'd pinpoint about him is that sometimes - I'm reminded of plays against Auburn and Miami (OH) last year - you could tell right out of the quarterback's hand that if the ball looked like it was going to hang in the air for five or six seconds, and if McManis was in single coverage against his man, he was coming down with it. Underthrown lobs 30 yards downfield didn't have a friggin chance. He was wily and athletic enough that you could guarantee that in those jump balls, he'd be wily and athletic enough that he'd take the better route and come down with that ball. 
This makes me think maybe he is more of the center-fielder type of guy you'd expect out of the free safety position. He was never a presence in the opposing backfield; can't think of him ever recording a sack on a CB blitz, and, well, NFL guys are fast, and McManis was only Big Ten fast. That being said, I think the Texans got a steal. McManis was, like I said, LOCKDOWN on the college level, and before our bowl game, was being talked about as the best player from our team in the draft, but hamstring injuries prevented him from doing any pre-draft running for scouts and that apparently hurt his stock a lot, as he ended up dropping to the fifth round where you guys got him. He won't be a starter right away, but trust me, he can play.

As for anecdotes, the only one I can think of is that in his early career here, Sherrick had an extremely unsuccessful attempt at self-nicknaming himself "Batman."  Because he swoops in from all over the field?  Because we have to signal for him to show up?  Because he's a morally ambiguous defender of our defensive backfield, even though Heath Ledger stole the show, to be honest?  Nobody's quite sure. There's no Youtube evidence, but I think he used to do the Batman dance and everything when he picked off passes. Even if he didn't, I'd like to start that rumor, so run with it, even though I much prefer the nickname "Pickmanis".

Hope that works - I wrote more than I expected.
A ballhawk on the Texans? It can't be! Anybody up for reviving the embarrassment "Batman" theme?

Special thanks to Rodger for being more helpful than any "experts" and esteemed draft sites could possibly be. Do check out his site if you're interested in NU sports.

Watcha think, BRB?
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