Update: Va. QB E.J. Manuel

If there's any quarterback that has seen his stock soar in the last couple of months, it's Virginia Beach, Va. (Bayside) signal-caller E.J. Manuel. While most prospects make a name for themselves during the spring and summer evaluation periods, Manuel's talents are already widely known, and he has no shortage of top programs vying for his services.

When Terp Sports Report talked to him Saturday, Manuel was in Miami preparing for the MSL/Adidas combine tomorrow, which features some of the best players in south Florida. He will participate in quarterback drills as well as speed, agility and strength testing.

Earlier in the day, he visited Miami's campus and was given the grand tour by Head Coach Randy Shannon and wide receivers Coach Marquis Mosely. He also talked to an academic advisor about his plans to major in Biomedical Engineering.

"I had a great time," he said. "There was a track meet going on so we checked that out, and I just had a really great time."

Miami, along with LSU, are perhaps two of the most prestigious offers he has received so far. He visited LSU earlier in the week and said it "set the bar," but after visiting Miami, he said they are both even.

"Both schools are powerhouses. Both schools are known for winning. But I can't say I had a better time at one or the other," he said.

He also said that the quarterback situations are in his favor at both schools, as he is looking for a place where he can play early.

Manuel was very high on Maryland early in the recruiting process, declaring the Terps his leader. When asked about a favorite now, though, he gave no indications as to where he is leaning. He does talk to the Terp staff regularly and could visit for the spring game on April 28.

"I keep in contact with Coach Tom Brattan and I talk to Coach Freidgen," he said. "If we're able to make it [for the spring game], we'll definitely be there."

With so many schools to visit, traveling expenses pile up, so there is a lot of uncertainty in Manuel's future plans. He said he is taking a visit to State College next weekend to meet with Penn State Coach Joe Paterno and take part in the Nike Camp there. He will travel to the Elite College Combine in New Jersey on May 1 and then participate in the Elite 11 Regional Combine, which is a search for the nation's best quarterbacks.

Manuel plans to decide on a college before his season starts in the fall with the intention to help the school recruit. He talks recruiting with two of Virginia's top wide receivers— Chesapeake's Kerry Boykins and Christchurch's Deion Walker -- and discusses with them the possibility of playing together at the next level.

"We have favorites and we tell each other," he said, "but we kind of keep them between ourselves. All three of all us trust each other. We're just trying to find the best college for all of us.

"I'll have more influence on them [then they'll have on me], but I don't tell them where to go."

Walker is a well-known commodity across the nation and recently received an offer from Southern Cal. Boykins has offers from up and down the east coast, including Maryland, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Clemson. Manuel has his fair share of offers, with the latest coming from Colorado, Kansas State and Northern Illinois.

With all the attention Manuel is receiving, it would be easy to get a big head. But he remains humble and considers the whole opportunity a blessing.

"I don't let this recruiting process get to me at all. I definitely don't let it make me say I'm better than somebody else," he said.

Even recruitnik's talk of Manuel potentially being one of the nation's top five quarterbacks doesn't get to him.

"I don't even know what to say. I'm pretty confident in how I play but it's a blessing that people put me in the top five. I'm in a good group with [Terrelle] Pryor, Blaine [Gabbert], Dayne Crist and Landry Jones, you know. I'm very happy to be named among these guys."

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