E.J. Manuel's character and playmaking ability has been touched on many times. Before he arrives at Florida State NoleDigest wanted to get up with him for a fun feature where we ask 21 questions on topics ranging from the size of the playbook, who's given him the best advice and his goals off and on the field over the next few years.NoleDigest: Which is/was more nerve racking: playing in the ESPN All-American game or starting your college career?
E.J. Manuel: I'm not nervous at all really. I wasn't really nervous about the game but I'd have to say that because we only had a week to prepare and it was going to be on television in front of millions of people.
ND: What are currently feeling?
EM: I am feeling good and I am feeling blessed. I am in good shape cardiovascularly. I am in the best shape I've been in, and I am now 6'5" and 223 pounds. I'm just ready to go and ready to play.
ND: Is anyone coming down here with you when you make the move?
EM: My parents are driving me down and are staying a few days, but no one is coming to stay. My parents may move down there in the future but for now they're staying in Virginia Beach.
ND: In the last update we did with you, you talked about learning the playbook. Was it streamlined or is it the whole playbook?
EM: Nah, it's the whole thing. There's like 400 or 500 sets in it. I've just been working hard since I signed, watching film and going over it with my coach. I've talked to Drew (Weatherford) about it and I've talked to Xavier Lee some too. He was trying to instill to me the importance of learning it. For the most part he was telling me about learning from his mistakes.
ND: Have you been in constant contact with Xavier?
EM: To be honest he's been one of the one's to give me some of the best advice I've gotten. I've been asking him how Fisher is with his guys, the morale, the transition and all that.
ND: Do you think you and Xavier are similar quarterbacks?
EM: I think we're both good quarterbacks, but I'm just trying to be E.J. I think people compare us because of our skin color and all that. He does his thing and I'm going to do mine. I think I am more of a passer than a runner. I plan on just making my own legacy at FSU.
ND: Why are you coming a week earlier than the rest of your class?
EM: I just want to get started. I told Coach Fisher way back that as soon as I graduated I'd be down there. My last day of school was today (Monday) and I graduate Wednesday. On Saturday I'll be heading down there. I heard Jarmon Fortson has been ripping it up, so I am just excited to get down there. I'm tired of talking about it and I am just ready to play.
ND: What do you want to work on most this summer?
EM: I want to become a team leader. I think that is what the quarterback is. I made sure on my visits down there I met all the guys and said hello to as many as I could. I want to show them that I can be the next leader there. I want to do what the coaches tell me and just get better at every aspect I can.
ND: Are you going to be upset if you don't see the field next year?
EM: I want to play and I am coming in to compete and battle the other guys. If I don't play because I didn't perform to my standards, then I will be upset at myself. If Coach Fisher wants me to sit, then that's okay because he is going to do what's best for the team and for my career.
ND: You recently competed in the Super 7 QB camp in California. Can you talk about what that was and who was there?
EM: Oh man, it was first class all the way. Coach Clarkson invited me and my father out to Santa Barbara to work with him. It was great. Guys like Terrelle Pryor, Matt Barkley, Jimmy Clausen, Russell Sheppard, Dayne Crist, Jake Locker, Rhett Bomar, Josh Freeman and a few others were out there. We were just working out together and did our thing. I feel like I went there and proved to some people how I am as a player. I got to meet Joe Montana, Wayne Gretzky and Snoop Dogg. It was just a good time and I enjoyed it.
ND: Do you feel any pressure to perform right away?
EM: I plan on just being me and doing what I've been doing. I know the fans at FSU are tired of losing and they want to win more. FSU fans aren't used to that. I'm going to ball out and let God take care of the rest.
ND: What are your expectations of Coach Stroud's workouts?
EM: I've been doing some stuff he gave me for a while now, so I know what to expect. I've just been getting ready for it. I know it's going to be different than anything I've done before.
ND: What are your off-the-field goals?
EM: I want to keep up my good grades and take that to college. I took some AP and Honors classes this year and graduated with a 3.4, so I am happy with that. I want to continue that in college. I want to keep a clean slate and not get into trouble. A funny story happened after prom. I was driving home and there was a routine traffic stop. The cop asked for my ID, and when I showed him he was like, "You're going to FSU, right? Go Noles!" I thought that was cool, man.
ND: Is there anyone at FSU you're looking to lean on as you make the transition to college?
EM: Myron Rolle by far. Our relationship has really grown and I look at him as an older brother. I love him and his family and I think it's an honor that we're going to share the same number. He'll never steer you wrong and he is just a good person and role model.
ND: Do you feel any pressure to be a leader?
EM: Nah, not at all. I feel as though I am a natural leader an always have been. When I came to Bayside as a freshman the older guys looked up to me because I was the starter. I came in and took charge. I think the team needs to have that in their quarterback; a guy who can lead the huddle and make the play. I really feel like the guys coming in want me to be the leader. I want to be, and I plan on it.
ND: You nervous about moving away from home?
EM: God has prepared me for this. I am ready.
ND: What is the best advice you've gotten?
EM: Just to be humble from my parents and to think of the person I was before all the fame and stuff came along. Also to continue to work hard and get better even if you've made it. I'm my hardest critic.
ND: Tell us something about you people may not know?
EM: I am a simply guy who likes to hang out with my family. I don't need to go out and party all the time. I'm very organized and I like to get my work done. I don't like to talk a lot of game as I just want to get to work.
ND: What are your expectations?
EM: I want to make myself the guy that puts FSU over the hump. Hopefully I get on the field and become a leader. I want to be successful. There's going to be no more losing at FSU; no more .500 seasons. At least 10 wins and getting FSU in big games and on ABC all the time is what I plan on doing. I'd love to be the guy who brings back the tradition at FSU.
EM: Biomedical Engineering.
ND: Have you spoken to Charlie Ward or JaMarcus Russell?
EM: I have spoken to JaMarcus but it was before he started the season. That was real cool, man. I'd love to get a chance to meet Charlie as well as Chris Weinke. Hopefully while I am at FSU I will get a chance to meet guys like Derrick Brooks and Deion Sanders.