First Visit

Big Phil Manley's first trip to West Virginia University proved to be an excellent experience.

"I liked it – West Virginia is a great place," Manley exclaimed enthusiastically after returning to his home. "The coaching staff is excellent and Coach Rich Rodriguez is a great man. They are playing awesome right now.

"This was my first visit, and the thing that I found surprising was the atmosphere. It's a great stadium and the players were great. Everybody I met was superb. I got to meet Ryan Stanchek, and he was talking about Cincinnati and that there were probably some more Cincinnati area players on the way to West Virginia."

Manley, who hails from Hamilton High School, and Stanchek, who played for LaSalle, had a good bit to talk about, and compared notes on their hometowns and on the WVU football program. Manley was very impressed with his first look at the West Virginia program, and hopes to hear from the Mountaineer coaching staff after they view his film.

"This was the first time they have seen me in person," Manley said. I took my tape up with me, and they said they would be looking at it and then giving me a call. Hopefully they will offer me after they do that."

Manley currently has offers from Miami (OH) and Western Michigan, and has also been getting interest from Kentucky and Purdue, among others. He has visited the RedHawks, and has a visit set up for the Purdue-Ohio State game next week. He also plans a return visit to Lexington for the Kentucky-Florida contest.

On the field, Manley is working to improve his technique to complement his natural skills.

"I like pass blocking a lot, but I am good at both," he said. "I have good footwork, and a quick first step. When I lock on to a defender, it's pretty much over. I want to get faster, and improve on my fundamentals – things like taking the right steps and some other technique things.

Manley was originally slotted to play both offensive and defensive line spots for Hamilton, but a sprained ankle and a pulled calf muscle have limited him to offensive tackle for now. That injury might have slowed his recruiting a bit, but he hopes that a solid senior season will result in more offers.


Manley is the cousin of Hamilton athlete Kenny Veal, who joined him on the recruiting visit to WVU. Veal has long held the Mountaineers in high regard. The pair are cousins – Veal's father, also named Kenny, is Manley's uncle. The elder Ken Veal went to school with Bruce Tall's older brother, providing another tie between the Hamilton standouts and the WVU coaching staff.

Manley's father also accompanied them on the trip.

"My dad loved it there too – he felt pretty much the same way about it as I did," Manley reported. "He likes the West Virginia and Miami coaching staffs really well.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories