Manuel Returning Home

Virginia-born Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel is looking forward to a return to his home state to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in a pivotal ACC Thursday night matchup.

Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech's campus is located, is much closer to home than Tallahassee is, but still a six-hour drive for the friends and family of Manuel.

As a fifth-year senior, you might think Manuel has been back to play at least one of the two Virginia schools, but this actually marks the first time he has returned to the state in a Seminole uniform.

Manuel has played both Virginia schools, just never in Virginia. The Seminoles hosted Virginia last year in a painful loss to the Cavaliers at home, and he also started the ACC Championship game in 2010 for an inured Christian Ponder against the Hokies, another game in which ‘Noles came up short.

It's safe to say Manuel hopes to change that trend with this being his last opportunity to do so as the starting quarterback for the Seminoles.

"It's going to be special to me, it's my last opportunity to play a Virginia school in college, so I definitely want to get a win," Manuel said in Monday's press conference.

Although Manuel says he has never been to a game at the always-hostile Lane Stadium, he has a good idea of what to expect.

"I've never been to a game there, but I know it's a great stadium and they have great fans," Manuel said. "Everybody in Blacksburg and the surrounding areas are Virginia Tech fans because that's pretty much all they have. They might be Redskins fans too, but I know they love VT. It's going to be crazy. They're going to hate us I know that. They're going to hate me, because I'm from Virginia and came here [Florida State]. So, I know what to expect."

When Manuel was a standout in high school he was recruited heavily by the Hokies, who he actually had interest in as well. But as a five-star quarterback, Manuel had endless options and with good friend Tyrod Taylor going to play the quarterback for the Hokies, that made his decision that much easier. Manuel decided to leave the state and carve his own legacy.

"Yeah, them [Virginia Tech] and UVA both appealed to me," Manuel said looking back at his college decision. "But at the time I was getting interest from tons of other schools, and with Tyrod deciding to go to Virginia Tech that pretty much made my decision to go somewhere else. It wasn't anything other than that. Frank Beamer is a great coach and it's a great program, but that was the main reason."

With the Hokies at 4-5 on the season, 2-3 in ACC-play, and coming off a humiliating loss to Miami on Thursday night, Manuel knows how hungry they're going to be.

"It's obviously a tough environment. Any team that goes in there and gets a win, they earned it." Said Manuel. "We would be fools to think that we're not going to get their best game of the year. They may have played not up to par as in year's past, but I don't think we're going to see the same team that we are watching on film. We're going to see a great team with great energy and guys flying around all over the field."

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