E.J. Manuel is a competitor.
The Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside star quarterback isn't one to shy away from a challenge, one of the main reasons he was so active during the camp and combine season this past month. And Manuel's efforts are being rewarded with five-star status from Rivals.com.
"Wow!" said Manuel when informed he is one of 27 five star players in the country. "That pretty much says it all. To be honored by one of the best recruiting websites in the world like Rivals, it's a big deal. I'm very excited about the honor and I want to continue to work hard to prove it's accurate."
Manuel attended the Rivals.com Junior Day held in Chesapeake, Va. in March with a handful of offers. At the time he said he wanted to show everyone he was the best. Standout performances at the Elite College Combine in New Jersey and at the NIKE Camp and Elite 11 held in State College, Pa. clearly did the job.
"I went to all of these things because I love to compete," he said. "I don't know if you noticed but I did the entire NIKE Camp and the Elite 11 while some others just did one or the other. I didn't do it to be ranked as a five star or anything like that, that's just a bonus and an honor. I just can't get enough of competition."
Manuel, who named 10 finalists for his services last week, has been termed a "flawless" recruit by many college coaches because of his on field ability and off-the-field character. The humble quarterback credits his parents for his demeanor.
"My parents always told me I should be a nice person," said Manuel. "From when I was young and now, they taught me to treat people the way I want to be treated. I believe in that. They've also guarded against getting a big head on my shoulders because of all of this attention. My dad reminds me every day to stay down-to-earth."
Next up for Manuel is an unofficial visit to Florida State in mid-June. He lists the Seminoles along with Alabama, LSU, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers and Tennessee. A new team has also been added to the list after a recent visit in school.
"You can put Boston College up there as No. 11," said Manuel, who stands 6-foot-6 and weighs 202 pounds. "Coach Jagodzinski, Logan and Siravo were in my school this week and I'm interested in their offense. I'm still open to schools who are just starting to recruit me because I respect everyone and I have to look at all of my options."
Manuel hopes to visit Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and perhaps Boston College in addition to FSU this summer before making his decision. He's already been to Maryland once and has visited LSU, Penn State and Rutgers already.
"I think I'll be able to make my decision by the end of the summer," he said. "I'd like to focus on my senior season."