Following the completion of the 2020 NFL Draft Saturday afternoon, Tarleton wide receiver Zimari Manning wasted no time in joining the professional ranks by signing a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.
Manning becomes the first Texan to get an opportunity at the next level from the 2019 Texan senior class. More undrafted free agent contracts could be finalized in the coming days. Manning becomes Tarleton's fourth player to sign an NFL contract in the last two seasons — joining E.J. Speed (Indianapolis Colts), Xavier Turner (Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks) and Tyrell Thompson (Los Angeles Rams).
Manning is the only Texan to be named to five different All-America teams. He was also named the D2CCA and Don Hansen Super Region 4 Offensive Player of the Year, the first in Tarleton history to win the award from each entity. He's also received the LSC Wide Receiver of the Year and first team All-LSC.
The wide receiver from Long Beach, California is coming off one of the greatest single seasons and two-year careers in the history of Tarleton Football. Manning finished third in the Harlon Hill voting — an award given to the nation's top player in NCAA Division II — and made Tarleton and national history in the process.
Last year, Manning played in all 12 games for Tarleton and led the Texans to their second consecutive undefeated regular season and Lone Star Conference Championship. In his two-year career with the Texans, Manning and the Texans boast an overall win-loss record of 23-2.
He hauled in 68 receptions for a school-record 1,462 yards and 22 touchdowns. His 22 scores set a new Tarleton single-season record, tied the Lone Star Conference record, and led all of NCAA Football (Division I, II, and III). Through the regular season, Manning led all of college football at any level in yards and touchdowns. Manning had 100 yards receiving in seven of the 12 games last season, including a 257-yard performance at UT Permian Basin that earned hi D2Football.com National Player of the Week honors. He scored at least one touchdown in 10 straight games starting against Doane on Sept. 14, including eight games with multiple scores and four games with three touchdowns.