After redshirting in 2008, he made six starts as a freshman and sophomore in relief of oft-injured Christian Ponder, recording a 4-2 record. Manuel became the full-time starter as a junior and ended the season with a streak of 121 straight passes over five games without an interception, raising expectations of rapid development as a pocket passer in 2012.
Manuel completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,392 yards and a TD-INT ratio of 23-10 as a senior. He culminated his career with a sparkling performance in the Senior Bowl in which he was named MVP by throwing one touchdown, running for another and guiding the South to its only other score in a 21-16 victory.
With great size, athleticism and intriguing arm talent, Manuel has as much upside as any quarterback in the 2013 draft. But despite statistical gains in 2012, Manuel largely remains the unpolished passer he was a year ago. His tendency to rely on initial reads and vacate the pocket when pressured could lead to significant growing pains in the NFL if pushed onto the field early.
Weaknesses: Isn't the sum of his parts and did not make noticeable improvements to his game in 2012. Needs work on his setup and delivery. While possessing plenty of arm strength, he has a noticeable hitch in his delivery which gives defenders an extra split second to react and limits Manuel's effectiveness in the "quick" game. Has a tendency to stare down primary target. Average accuracy in the pocket and will get "happy feet" when pressured. Very boor ball security when on the move.