Jimbo Fisher did an excellent job recruiting E.J. and was one of the primary reasons FSU was able to land his commitment so early in the process. When the talk of Fisher possibly going somewhere else to become a head coach, some wondered what would happen with Manuel. After it was announced Fisher would be the next head man for the FSU program, those talks were put to rest on Manuel looking elsewhere. Last week there was scuttlebutt that Penn State had made major headway in their recruitment of the Bayside star. E. J. addresses those rumors, saying, "You can put it in capital red letters, those rumors are FALSE. I have no idea where that's coming from. It's not even remotely true. They've come by the school and all but that is it. There is no shot at changing my mind. Jimbo Fisher isn't going to let that happen."
Jimbo has made it a point to visit Manuel each week due to the importance Manuel brings to the future of FSU quarterback play. Now that the quiet period is on us, Fisher won't be able to visit until January. But before the NCAA mandated rule began, the FSU coaches made the most of their last visit for this calendar year when Bobby Bowden and Coach Fisher visited E.J. for an in-home last week. "I really appreciate and respect Coach Fisher for the way he comes and sees me every week. It's nice that he feels that even though I'm committed I'm important enough that he comes to see me this often. When he and Bobby Bowden came it was pretty neat. They came to my school first before the in-home. Coach Bowden is a great coach and person. He took the time to meet some of my teachers, coaches, fellow teammates and students. He posed for pictures and signed autographs. Everyone for the most part played it cool," stated Manuel.
E.J. continues to talk about the visit when the coaches made it to his home, saying, "After the visit at school the coaches came to my house. That is when it got a little crazy with family and close friends there. Coach Bowden and Coach Fisher were there for about 3 hours. We ate and talked about football. Overall it was a great time and I was honored to have Bowden in my home. After this quiet period is over I am expecting to see Fisher more and I think Coach Lilly is going to make a trip up here sometime."
It has been stated that E.J. is one of the commitments who's been working hard to help bring the talent to Tallahassee. One of those prospects Manuel hopes to hit it off with is Scout.com's #1 player Julio Jones. The 5-star wide receiver is considered to be the best in some time, and E.J. hopes their time together at the ESPN All-American game will lead to good things. He said, "There's been some talk that I may make an unofficial visit to FSU January 11th. That is when Julio is going to be making his official visit to FSU and I would like to be there for that. I've got to talk to my dad and see if that is feasible. When we get to the ESPN game I hope to be able to throw the ball to him and show him where he needs to be the next 4-5 years at FSU and that he'll have a good thing going there. I'll talk to him then and see where his head is at. Basically I want to build a relationship with him because he is the best wide receiver in the nation this year. But that weekend of the 11th looks to be big."
E.J. has been working hard since his season has ended and is excited to play on national television in Orlando. "I want to go there and have a good time. I feel that I really don't have anything else to prove, but I want to be able to answer any remaining questions that are left with my game. I am doing all the skill competitions there and those should be fun. I've been working hard getting ready and I'm set to go."
While the talk on E.J. most likely won't stop until he signs his letter of intent in February, he emphasized the fact that there are no schools out there that'll change his mind. The rumors that were around last week were wishful thinking, and people can understand now Manuel is not going anywhere but to Florida State.
Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with E.J. and the rest of the 2008 recruiting class.