04/08/2013 - For much of the offseason, Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel has lurked as an intriguing sleeper in a pretty "meh" quarterback class. The recent uptick in the usage rates of athletic quarterbacks only makes him more interesting for NFL teams. But I don't believe many see Manuel as a Day 1 starter. That isn't stopping the quarterback from being confident about his chances for hearing his name called early during the 2013 NFL Draft.
"I have a good feeling that it'll be within the first two rounds," Manuel told 92.3 the Fan in Cleveland. "I think the biggest thing for me is just continue to get better. When I have these opportunities to work out for the teams and show them what I can do on and off the field -- whether it's on the board writing my plays or watching film and just talking football with them -- I think that's where I'm able to put my best foot forward. "So I'm pretty sure I've impressed a lot of decision-makers within these franchises, so draft day is gonna be great. Whether I go in the first or second round, I'll still be happy."
In other words, it's not a matter of if he'll go before the second round ends, but whether or not he'll be a first-round pick. That's not something taken out of context either; Manuel told Jim Corbett of USA Today that he thinks he has a "really good chance" of being picked on Thursday. "I think I have a really good chance to go in the first round of the draft," Manuel said. - Will Brinson, CBSSports.com
04/08/2013 - 2013 Florida State Pro Day: There were 32 teams represented at Florida State Pro Day on March 19. They ran outdoors and the field was damp due to prior rain. It was about 70 degrees. EJ Manuel QB (6-4 ?? 238 pounds) - He was put through a scripted workout. It was designed to allow people to see what he can do on roll-outs and boot-leg passes. He performed very well. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
03/19/2013 - 2013 Florida State Pro Day: Manuel said he has met with about 25 teams since the Senior Bowl -- "all the teams I know need a quarterback" -- and has five or six private workouts already scheduled. Because of his injury history and some questions about his decision-making in the pocket, scouting opinions are split on Manuel's final draft grade. Manuel did receive a pretty nice birthday gift, too -- an invite to attend the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The draft begins April 25.
"When I got the invite, I was about to cry, really, because that was probably my biggest goal," Manuel said. Beginning last year, invitations went out to dozens of players and not just a select crowd. "I know there's a lot being said about me going into it, but I never listened to it."
There's a good chance that Manuel will be surrounded by friendly faces in New York. Werner, Rhodes and Watson, who each declared for the draft following their junior seasons, are all among the top prospects at their positions and could also be invited to join their quarterback for the festivities. - Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
03/19/2013 - 2013 Florida State Pro Day: Riding the momentum of a strong combine and an MVP performance in the Senior Bowl, quarterback E.J. Manuel celebrated his 23rd birthday by throwing in front of NFL scouts and assistant coaches on Tuesday at Florida State's annual Pro Day. Manuel declined to participate in other tests, letting his 4.65 40-yard dash in Indianapolis stand, but he attracted a heavy crowd as he threw a variety of routes to former teammates. "The biggest thing, I wanted to go out and compete, and I did that," Manuel said. "Scouts all know we can play. They've seen tons of tape on us. So you are what you are on film. I think the biggest thing you can do, don't shy away from competition. Don't shy away from being up against other talented guys in the draft."
Manuel was one of several talented prospects working out at Doak Campbell Stadium. Florida State had 23 players from the 2012 team on display, each looking to impress in a group headlined by defensive end Bjoern Werner, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, offensive tackle Menelik Watson and Manuel. - Derek Harper, The Sports Xchange
02/20/2013 - 2013 NFL Combine, Workout warriors: While most of Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel's issues are mental and in regards to his decision-making, he is an outstanding athlete for his size (6-foot-4, 237) with quick feet to evade pressure and the long-striding speed to out-run defenders downfield. He should perform well in the 40 and other drills. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/26/2013 - EJ Manuel's January couldn't have gone much better on the field. More importantly, he's hoping for a similarly happy February for his family. The Florida State quarterback passed for a touchdown and rushed for another on the South's first two drives in a 21-16 victory over the North in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, and was named Most Outstanding Player. Now, he can try to be the MOS - Most Outstanding Son. His mother, Jackie Manuel, who was diagnosed with breast cancer before the season, has been recovering from her final round of chemotherapy, and Manuel said she's scheduled to have surgery on Feb. 1.
''That's kind of been my motivation,'' Manuel said. ''I call my mom every single day and tell her I love her. I never miss a day. ''They'll be sending that award home to her. I won that award for her. I went out there and played well for her. I'm happy I was able to do it.'' And even happier to return to her side in Virginia for a few days, instead of just squeezing in Skype and Facetime sessions. It was a great finish for Manuel to a month that began with a 291-yard performance in an Orange Bowl victory over Northern Illinois. - AP Sports
01/24/2013 - 2013 Senior Bowl, Quarterbacks...5. E.J. Manuel, Florida State. Between some issues with his throwing style and his decision making, Manuel's weaknesses outweigh his potential. The guy is a beast of a quarterback with tremendous athleticism. He also has a strong arm and can push the ball downfield but he was iffy in drills all week. He's not close to being a starter in the NFL and his drafting will be done by a team that thinks they can mold him into a major threat. - Dave Richard, CBSSports.com
01/23/2013 - Several years after being recruited by Chip Kelly out of high school, former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel relished the opportunity to re-unite with the former Oregon head coach Monday at the Senior Bowl. Manuel met with the new Philadelphia Eagles' head coach and members of his staff for about 15 minutes Monday night in Mobile, Ala.
"It was awesome just to see him again," Manuel said. "It wasn't like I had just met him. I've known him for five years and was really happy to see the success he had as a coach. I'm sure he'll do the same in the NFL." Manuel said Tuesday that he's well-equipped to run the read-option if he's selected by the Eagles in April's NFL Draft. "I can do the read-option as far as making the read, throwing the bubble on the outside or doing the vertical game," Manuel said. "We did a lot of that (in college). You have to have quick guys around you, and I did at Florida State."
The Eagles have the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, as well as two picks in Round 2. "You're talking about someone who had a lot of success in his conference and in his career," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "He's a really good kid. We're just starting the evaluation process and this is part of it at the Senior Bowl."
Manuel (6-foot-5, 237 pounds) said the Seminoles operated out of a no-huddle in about 70 percent of their games in 2012. He strived to get the ball snapped with roughly 14 seconds on the play clock to make adjustments at the line. When asked why he didn't chose Oregon out of high school, Manuel quickly responded, "I wanted to, man, but it was far." - Matt Rybaltowski, CBSSports.com
01/21/2013 - 2013 Senior Bowl, Monday practice: Manuel is the wild card, not just on the South roster but in this draft. He's not a polished talent by any means -- a noticeable hitch in his delivery is an example -- but it's obvious he has the build and athleticism to make NFL coaches drool. Manuel has proven his ability to work in a read-option offense, among others, and that paired with his physical traits could really help his draft resume. "NFL teams are all going to like what they see from him because he's got the really good mix of a skill set plus he's got a great background and [played in a] really good system," Linehan said. - Dave Richard, CBSSports.com
01/01/2013 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB E.J. Manuel will be playing the final game of his career at FSU and has been involved in three previous bowl wins. It will be an emotional time for a player that put up big numbers, but seemed to struggle against better competition. The Seminoles need the E.J. Manuel who played the second half against Clemson to show up in the Orange Bowl. - The Sports Xchange
12/12/2012 - 2012 COACHES ALL-ACC FOOTBALL SECOND TEAM: QB-EJ Manuel, Florida State, 6-5, 245, Sr., Virginia Beach, Va. (12), has been selected Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. This year, for the first time under the auspices of the ACC, the league's 12 head football coaches voted for an All-ACC football team. - Florida State football
12/01/2012 - 2012 ALL-ACC SECOND TEAM (MEDIA): QB-EJ Manuel, Florida State (25)...has been named Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2012 college football season by the ACC Media Association. - Florida State football
11/27/2012 - 11/26/12 NFL DRAFT SCOUT FALLER: 1. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State...When scouts put on the game film to evaluate E.J. Manuel this off-season, they'll want to see how he performed against the top defenses on Florida State's schedule, including Saturday's in-state rivalry against Florida. But unfortunately for the senior quarterback, he didn't capitalize on the big stage and really struggled against the Gators' top-five ranked defense. Manuel finished 18-for-33 (54.5%) for 182 yards, and three total touchdowns, two rushing and one passing. But the most glaring statistic for the Seminoles' quarterback was a season-high four turnovers with three interceptions and a fumble.
Manuel made poor decisions throwing into coverage and failed to see the entire field on several downfield passes, something that has plagued him throughout his career. He routinely held the ball too long in the pocket and seemed rattled by pressure, creating much concern among NFL teams about his ability to quickly read the defense, process and anticipate open windows. On a good note, Manuel showed off his outstanding arm strength and athleticism, flashing the footwork and agility to avoid the rush and pick up big chunks of yards with his legs. But he will need a strong showing during Senior Bowl week to help his draft stock. Manuel is a likely candidate to be overdrafted next April because of his intriguing physical tools. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
11/17/2012 - Florida State rolled to the ACC Atlantic Division title with a 41-14 rout of undermanned Maryland on Saturday at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The 10th-ranked Seminoles (10-1, 7-1 in the ACC) clinched the Atlantic championship for the second time in the last three years, and the third time since the league went to divisional play in 2005. Quarterback E.J. Manuel led the way, completing 17-of-23 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter.
The Terrapins (4-7, 2-5), who won only two games last season but began 4-2 this year, had their quest for bowl eligibility end with the defeat, their fifth in a row. Maryland, with 10 players out for the year because of injuries, finishes the regular season next Saturday at North Carolina. Florida State went 61 yards in 11 plays on the game's opening possession, Devonta Freeman slamming over from five yards for the touchdown. Freeman had 148 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, part of Florida State's 237 yards on the ground. - The Sports Xchange
11/14/2012 - Wednesday morning was a pretty good one for Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. Before noon, the Seminoles signal-caller had accepted an invitation to one of the more prestigious pre-NFL Draft events, and was named a finalist for a similarly prestigious award. According to the Twitter feed for the Senior Bowl, @seniorbowl, Manuel became one of the latest draft-eligible college players to accept an invite to appear in the game that will be held in Mobile, Ala. the final weekend of January. Seniors who are projected to be among the top rising NFL prospects are extended invitations to what is a weeklong event. From Monday through Friday of Senior Bowl Week, players meet with coaches and NFL team representatives as they begin learning nuances of the professional game and receiving pointers near the start of their long draft journey. On Saturday afternoon, the invitees play in a game televised by NFL Network. - Coley Harvey, The Orlando Sentinel
11/13/2012 - Florida State's top quarterbacks are often remembered for engineering memorable wins. EJ Manuel is now a part of the conversation. Manuel led a 68-yard drive that resulted in a 28-22 last-minute win Thursday at Virginia Tech to keep the 10th-ranked Seminoles' Atlantic Coast Conference championship hopes alive. ''That's what the really good players are able to do,'' Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday. ''To do it after being hit, being knocked around ,tough environment, everything going wrong, to be able to do that, that takes some special things.'' Manuel was sacked five times, had the wind knocked out of him twice but didn't flinch against Virginia Tech's pressure. The Hokies had stopped the Seminoles running game cold before Manuel hit Rashad Greene with a 39-yard touchdown pass with 40 seconds to play. It was a dramatic finish to Manuel's lone collegiate appearance in his home state. ''You see a receiver make a catch and go down the field and score a touchdown, there's no more gratifying feeling for a quarterback,'' said the always understated Manuel. ''To do it in a place where nobody wanted you to win, it was cold, it was late in the game, we were beat down. It says a lot for our confidence and moving forward in our season.'' And left the Seminoles in position to win their first ACC title in seven years and perhaps finish with their best record in a dozen seasons. Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC) can clinch the Atlantic Division and a berth in the Dec. 1 league championship game with a win at Maryland (4-6, 2-4) on Saturday. Manuel is 22-5 as a starter at Florida State and has been at the helm with come-from-behind wins over Maryland in 2009, Clemson in 2010 and Notre Dame in last year's Champs Sports Bowl - the last time the Irish lost. - AP Sports
11/09/2012 - Virginia Tech sacked Florida State senior quarterback EJ Manuel five times Thursday night, more than any other team had this season. Yet Manuel kept getting up and making big plays. Manuel passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns, and he led the 10th-ranked Seminoles to a fourth-quarter comeback in a 28-22 win over the Hokies at Lane Stadium. Manuel, a Virginia Beach native playing in a college game in his home state for the first time, completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rashad Greene with 40 seconds remaining. He then connected with tight end Nick O'Leary for a two-point conversion. "Nobody was fearful of the situation," Manuel said of the game-winning drive. "I think we embraced it more than anything. That's where legends are born, and we felt that way tonight." Florida State (9-1, 6-1 ACC) remains in control in the ACC's Atlantic Division, while Virginia Tech (4-6, 2-4) is in jeopardy of missing the postseason altogether. The Hokies, who fell to 7-31 against top-10 teams under coach Frank Beamer, are guaranteed to finish .500 or worse for the first time since 1992. They need to win their final two games to continue their 19-year bowl streak. - The Sports Xchange
11/08/2012 - SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: The Seminoles have been clicking again on offense and they've got weapons throughout the lineup. They've been mostly well-balanced between the rushing and passing attacks, so that helps. With QB EJ Manuel steering the offense, the Seminoles have been a scary team for defenders. They've racked up at least 200 yards on the ground in their last three games, when the offensive line has been in control of the line of scrimmage. The Seminoles committed a season-high four turnovers against Duke despite winning in a romp, but such carelessness might not go without punishment against Virginia Tech. PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB EJ Manuel -- He's the nation's No. 2-ranked quarterback in terms of passing efficiency with a rating of 174.03. He trails only Kansas State's Collin Klein in that category. - The Sports Xchange
10/22/2012 - The Florida State Seminoles made enough mistakes to keep the Miami Hurricanes in the game for three quarters, but the Seminoles overcame their miscues with just enough good plays to post a 33-20 victory over their instate rival before a Sun Life Stadium crowd of 73,328 here Saturday night. After spotting the Hurricanes an early 10-point lead, giving them short fields to work with via a fumble and a poor punt, the Seminoles defense took over, limiting Miami to just a field goal until less than a minute remained in the game. The Seminoles offense then produced just enough to secure them their seventh win in eight games. They are 3-1 in ACC play and share first place in the Atlantic Division with Clemson. They are ranked 14th in the BCS standings. Miami dropped to 4-4 overall after losing its third straight. The Hurricanes are 3-2 in the ACC, good for second behind surprising Duke in the Coastal Division. Though its defense kept Miami in check for most of the night, Florida State couldn't rest easy until Dustin Hopkins' fourth field goal of the game made it 26-13 just past the midpoint of the fourth quarter. - The Sports Xchange
10/22/2012 - For a half, Florida State did just about everything wrong and still held the lead. And when the Seminoles finally got clicking, they simply pulled away from rival Miami. EJ Manuel threw for 229 yards, Devonta Freeman ran for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and No. 12 Florida State overcame a shaky start to beat Miami 33-20 on Saturday night, the Seminoles' third straight win over their archrival. Manuel completed 21 of 31 passes for Florida State (7-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which won despite 12 penalties and five fumbles, two of them lost. Dustin Hopkins kicked four field goals for the Seminoles and James Wilder added a touchdown run for Florida State, which scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth to break open a three-point game. "I didn't think it would be decided in the last few minutes, but it was an important game," Manuel said. "It's always a huge rivalry game, whether both of us are 1-9, it doesn't matter. Whenever you have Florida State and Miami squaring up against each other it's going to be a great game." Stephen Morris, playing a week after spraining his left ankle, started and threw for 223 yards and a late touchdown for Miami (4-4, 3-2), which has lost three straight but controls its Coastal Division destiny. Mike James had a touchdown run for the Hurricanes, who lost freshman Duke Johnson in the second half with an undisclosed injury. Miami finished with 29 yards rushing on 21 attempts. - AP Sports
10/15/2012 - WEEK 7 ACC OFFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: EJ Manuel, Florida State, R-Senior, QB, 6-5, 240, Virginia Beach, Va.,...Manuel passed for a career-high 439 yards and matched his career-high with four touchdown passes as the No. 12 Seminoles defeated Boston College, 51-7. The senior from Virginia Beach, Va., authored the 10th-best single-game passing yardage performance in program history by completing 27 of 34 attempts. He also established a new career best with a 77-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Shaw to put the Seminoles on the scoreboard first. He connected with tailback James Wilder, Jr. on two scores, and as well as wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin for one. The Seminoles converted all seven trips into the red zone as they moved to 6-1 on the year and 3-1 in ACC play. - ACC football
10/14/2012 - Criticized for conservative play calling after blowing a 16-point lead last week, Florida State went to the air from the get-go Saturday and didn't let up. EJ Manuel threw for a career-high 439 yards and four touchdowns and kicker Dustin Hopkins became the Atlantic Coast Conference's career scoring leader as the 12th-ranked Seminoles rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 51-7 victory over Boston College. Manuel, who completed 27 of 34 passes before leaving early in the fourth quarter with a 48-7 lead, had little to say afterward, though he was quite happy. "I was ready to go," Manuel said. "We made sure everybody came back with a punch." Florida State (6-1, 3-1 ACC) didn't waste any time shaking off last week's 17-16 loss at North Carolina State, rolling to a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter before Boston College (1-5, 0-3) scored its touchdown on Chase Rettig's 18-yard pass to Bobby Swigert. "Some teams can't bounce back," said Florida State running back James Wilder Jr., who caught two of Manuel's scoring throws. "We just made sure we didn't have that taste in our mouth anymore." "I thought our kids did a great job all week of putting that last game behind them," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Not letting it drag on. We executed very well." - AP Sports
09/29/2012 - Even with a sea of garnet in the stands at Raymond James Stadium, fourth-ranked Florida State couldn't quite make itself at home in its first game away from Doak Campbell Stadium. With South Florida's possession-oriented offense focused on keeping FSU's offense on the sidelines, the Seminoles used an efficient performance from EJ Manuel and a defensive touchdown from linebacker Christian Jones to pull away from the Bulls for a 30-17 victory. The win moves the Seminoles to 5-0 for the first time since the 2005 season. They'll shoot for their first 6-0 start since their 1999 national title season next week at North Carolina State. Manuel finished 19 of 26 for 242 yards and a touchdown. Trailing 13-3 after the first half, the Bulls threatened to flip the game on its head by forcing a three-and-out on FSU's first drive of the third quarter, then blocking the subsequent punt and recovering at the 9-yard line before scoring on a B.J. Daniels touchdown run three plays later. - The Sports Xchange
09/29/2012 - EJ Manuel threw for 242 yards and one touchdown, helping No. 4 Florida State remain unbeaten with a 30-17 victory over South Florida on Saturday night. Receiver Rashad Greene got the Seminoles going with a 10-yard touchdown run, linebacker Christian Jones scored on a 12-yard fumble return and Penn State transfer Kevin Haplea had a 1-yard TD reception as Florida State (5-0) survived its first road test of the season by pulling away from a three-point lead with two TDs and a field goal in the final 5:09 of the third quarter. Three years after returning to his hometown of Tallahassee to lead USF (2-3) to a stunning 10-point upset of the Seminoles in his first college start, B.J. Daniels threw for 143 yards ran for 72 yards more and two touchdowns for the Bulls. But the game changed dramatically on the one play the senior quarterback missed after appearing to be knocked woozy by a hit at the end of a 20-yard run that was wiped out by a holding penalty. With the clock showing no time remaining in the third quarter, the officials announced the period would end with an untimed down. Freshman Matt Floyd came off the bench to replace Daniels on third-and-12 from the USF 23. The backup was sacked at the 12 by Cornelius Carradine, who forced a fumble that Jones scooped up and returned for a TD. That put the Seminoles up 30-10. - AP Sports
09/24/2012 - WEEK 4 NCAA NATIONAL FBS OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Colbi Hamilton's 303 receiving yards was an SEC record, but this week's top performer did more for his team in the national landscape with an equally huge effort. QB EJ Manuel guided Florida State back from a 28-14 deficit with a pair of second-half touchdown passes as No. 4 Florida State came away with a leg up in the ACC race after rallying past No. 10 Clemson. Manuel finished with a career-best 380 passing yards and added another 102 yards on the ground, helping the Seminoles to 667 total offense yards. He became the first Seminole since Charlie Ward in 1992 to pass for more than 300 yards and run for more than 100 in a game. - NCAA.com
09/24/2012 - WEEK 4 DAVEY O'BRIEN QUARTERBACK OF THE WEEK: After guiding Florida State to a 49-37 come-from-behind victory over Clemson, EJ Manuel has been named the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week. The 6-5, 240-pound signal caller had a night to remember, successfully completing 27 of 35 passes for a career-high 380 yards while rushing for an additional 102 yards. Manuel was the first Seminole quarterback to surpass 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards since 1993 Davey O'Brien Winner Charlie Ward did it in 1992. "They were mixing up looks and bringing in blitzes from everywhere and he made plays when he had to," said Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher. "But I thought he was extremely selfless and understood how to win. I was very proud of him." The Seminoles will try to protect their perfect 4-0 record as they head out on the road for the first time this season to take on the USF Bulls in Raymond James Stadium Saturday night. - Davey O'Brien Award
09/24/2012 - Week 4 Rewind: On a Saturday in which there were plenty of impressive performances from top teams and individual NFL prospects, nothing stood out more than the Florida State Seminoles and their senior quarterback EJ Manuel, who in leading the team to a nationally televised victory over conference rival Clemson firmly planted FSU's flaming spear as a legitimate BCS title contender and himself as a Heisman Trophy contender, as well. Manuel completed 27 of 35 passes for a career high 380 passing yards and ran for another 102 yards in the victory. It is the first time a Seminole quarterback has eclipsed the 300 yard passing and 100 yard rushing mark since Charlie Ward, the 1993 Heisman winner, accomplished this feat against Maryland on November 7, 1992. Manuel had been similarly statistically-impressive in each of Florida State's first three games but talent evaluators could take little from them, as the Seminoles cruised to victories over Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest by a combined score of 176-3. The No. 10 ranked Tigers, however, matched the Seminoles' speed and raced out to an early lead, testing the team's ability to handle the pressure of being behind. The Tigers scored first, went into halftime up 21-14 and twice carried double-digit leads in the second half. Manuel, however, was unflappable, consistently beating Clemson to the edge as a runner and showing deft touch on a variety of short, intermediate and deep passes to stretch the Tigers' defense both vertically and horizontally. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
09/24/2012 - Week 4 Rewind: Clemson's inability to stop Manuel (FSU only punted three times in this game) is certain to improve the multi-dimensional quarterback's chances at winning the Heisman. NFL scouts don't put much stock in trophies but Manuel also showed improvement in this contest in some of the key areas they do care about. Possessing a strong arm, good maneuverability and speed and prototype NFL size at 6-5, 240 pounds, Manuel has always intrigued scouts with his upside. He completed 65.3% of his passes last season - his first as a full-time starter after taking over for Christian Ponder - and tossed 18 touchdowns against eight interceptions. He still made scouts nervous, however, as he rarely had to move past his first read in Jimbo Fisher's relatively easy spread-option offense before simply tucking the ball and running it himself. Manuel was forced to make tougher post-snap decisions against Clemson, however, and it was clear that Fisher has tailored his offense over the off-season to better take advantage of his large, mobile quarterback's unique talents. Manuel was often allowed to roll-out on his own or keep the ball on bootlegs after faking the hand-off. His mobility and accuracy on the move kept the Clemson defense off-balance and took advantage of the fact that Manuel is one of the country's better play-action passers - one of several "little things" that the senior quarterback does much better than which he's often given credit. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
09/24/2012 - Week 4 Rewind: An example of this is Manuel's touch. The FSU quarterback was able to lob several passes over the linebackers and under Clemson's safeties to gain yardage in chunks. His 29-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Smith, who was tightly covered, was perfectly placed in the right corner of the end zone to give the Seminoles their first lead at 35-31 late in the third quarter. A second play that demonstrated Manuel's improved awareness actually cost him an opportunity to pad his own statistics later in the game. With Florida State leading by 12 points and possessing the ball late, Clemson's only chance at winning was to get the ball back. Manuel ended any chance of that happening by electing to slide - essentially tackling himself - after he'd broken free for 28 yards on a 3rd and 8 run. Rather than attempt to score (which would give Clemson the ball back) or fight for more yardage and risk turning the ball over, Manuel slid down at the 9-yard line. A touchdown likely would have sent the fans in Doak Campbell Stadium home that much giddier but by keeping the ball, instead Manuel simply secured the victory, instead. That type of awareness, selflessness and leadership is precisely what scouts are looking for from a senior quarterback. If Manuel is to emerge as a serious Heisman candidate and potential first round choice, his all-around performance against a talented Clemson defense was certainly a strong start. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
09/24/2012 - WEEK 4 ACC OFFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: EJ Manuel, Florida State, Senior, QB, 6-5, 240, Virginia Beach, Va.,...Manuel turned in one of the most complete performances by a Seminole quarterback in ACC play, passing for a career-high 380 yards (27-35-0) and two touchdowns, while adding 102 rushing yards on 11 carries in the 49-37 victory over No. 10 Clemson. He is the first Seminole quarterback since Charlie Ward in 1992 against Maryland to pass for more than 300 yards and rush for more than 100 yards. Manuel calmly led the Seminoles back from a 14-point, second half deficit, completing 12 of 17 second half attempts for 199 yards and a pair of scores. The Seminoles erased a 28-14 deficit by outscoring Clemson 28-3, a streak that included TD passes of nine yards to Rashad Green and 29 yards to Rodney Smith. Manuel was named National Offensive Player of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards. His performance was also notable because he moved to the No. 1 spot in ACC career history in completion percentage (67.2) and passing efficiency (151.41). - ACC football
09/23/2012 - EJ Manuel threw for a career-high 380 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 102 yards as fourth-ranked Florida State rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to defeat No. 10 Clemson 49-37 on Saturday night. The biggest Atlantic Coast Conference game in years was a wild one for a while. Then it was Florida State's offense pulling away from Clemson and it's fast-paced attack. Chris Thompson ran for 103 yards and two scores and James Wilder Jr. added two touchdowns runs for the Seminoles, who broke open a close game with 35 second-half points. Thompson, who has 300 yards rushing in two ACC games, also caught eight passes for 79 yards. Florida State (4-0. 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed until late in the third quarter, taking its first lead at 35-31 on Manuel's 29-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Smith. The Seminoles, who finished with 667 yards, built a 49-31 lead before Clemson scored late. Florida State is now the only remaining unbeaten team in the ACC. Florida State, which just missed scoring 50 or more points for a fourth straight game, is averaging 56.2 points and 574.5 yards offense a game as it prepares to step out of conference play next weekend at South Florida. Clemson (3-1, 0-1) built a 28-14 lead early in the third quarter on a 52-yard pass from All-American receiver Sammy Watkins to Andre Ellington. The two teams combined for 1,093 yards offense as Clemson put up 426 yards against the nation's top-ranked defense. - AP Sports
09/22/2012 - Five Prospects I'll Be Watching Saturday: EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State: In terms of size, athleticism, and arm talent, there may not be a more gifted senior quarterback in the country than the Seminoles' star. That doesn't mean that Manuel is necessarily univerally viewed as a future NFL starter. At 6-4, 240 pounds, Manuel has the shown the manueverability to earn comparisons to Cam Newton. He completed 65.3% of his passes last season, which was his first as the starter after backing up Christian Ponder. This season, statistically-speaking, he's been even better, completing 71.2% of his passes for 525 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception. That said, while his numbers are impressive, FSU's opponents thus far (Murray State, Savannah State, Wake Forest) won't soon be confused with with NFL competition. Manuel, in fact, struggled with locating open targets downfield over the early portion of the season, typically taking his first read. He's also struggled a bit with ball placement, limiting his teammates' opportunities to create yardage after the catch. Perhaps Manuels' inconsistency has been due to the fact that his team simply hasn't had to prepare much to beat their early opponents. After all, considering that the team has out-scored their competition a combined 176-3 thus far, it is difficult to be too critical of any element of their play. Against a speedy and hungry Clemson defense Saturday night, however, Manuel and the Seminoles will get their first real test of 2012. I -- and many NFL scouts -- are quite intrigued by Manuel's skill-set and toughness. To warrant top 50 consideration, however, he'll need to prove that his game is more than just racking up big numbers in head coach Jimbo Fisher's relatively easy spread attack. This game is scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm eastern and will be televised by ABC. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
09/22/2012 - It will be the eighth time in school history that ESPN's popular GameDay program will be broadcast at FSU. It was once a regular occurrence during the dynasty era of the mid-1990's and early part of 2000. It's the second year in a row for the visit. The traveling road show was in Tallahassee last year for the Oklahoma game. Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and FSU QB E.J. Manuel both grew up in Virginia's Tidewater region and have known each other since playing on opposing youth recreation teams. Manuel grew up in Virginia Beach; Boyd grew up in Hampton. "You're obviously happy and proud of seeing somebody that you know personally having success, but on Saturday, we're both going to be opponents and be competitors and want to beat each other," Manuel said. - The Sports Xchange
09/22/2012 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB E.J. Manuel -- This is the biggest game of his career. He's a senior, the leader, the guy the offense looks to for big plays. Manuel has been in pressure games, won bowl games, but he has to prove he can win this kind of game. He'll be required to make some downfield throws and drill passes into tighter coverage. He has to avoid a penchant for making some ill-time throws and do more than he can. - The Sports Xchange
09/08/2012 - Florida State defeated Savannah State 55-0 in a game called midway through the third quarter because of lightning and thunderstorms. The game was interrupted twice by the inclement weather, once late in the first half for 59 minutes and again for 42 minutes before the game was called. After the game resumed after the first delay late in the second quarter, the game was played with a running clock and had a 10-minute halftime. Florida State officials said coaches from both schools and Atlantic Coast Conference officials gave their approval to play the remainder of the game with a running clock. Savannah State (0-2) entered the game after an 84-0 loss to Oklahoma State. The Seminoles (1-0) were installed as 70??-point favorites by Las Vegas odds makers. Savannah State is collecting paychecks totaling $860,000 for the two games, which will go a long way toward helping the athletic program meet its total budget of $5.1 million. Florida State (2-0) has outscored its first two opponents 124-3. The Seminoles defeated Murray State 69-3. - AP Sports
09/08/2012 - The only thing that could rein in the Florida State offense Saturday night was a pair of lightning delays and a running clock. Despite each, the sixth-ranked Seminoles had no trouble racing past overmatched FCS opponent Savannah State for a 55-0 victory in a shortened game at Doak Campbell Stadium. After scoring four touchdowns in its first 13 plays, Florida State (2-0) appeared on pace to at least match the 84 points hung on SSU in last week's opener at Oklahoma State. But after waiting out the weather and monitoring another incoming system, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, Savannah State coach Steve Davenport and the game officials agreed to play under a running clock for the final 34 minutes of the contest. The game was called 42 minutes into a second delay that halted things three minutes into the third quarter. A running clock is common for high school games that get out of hand but is extremely rare in college football. It's believed to be the first time FSU has played under one. Florida State ran, passed and scored at will in building a 48-0 halftime lead against overmatched Savannah State. The Seminoles might have had more, save for a 56-minute weather delay with 3:59 to play in the second quarter. Quarterback EJ Manuel connected with Rodney Smith for a 61-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage, and the Seminoles built a 28-0 lead before the midway point of the first quarter. Manuel threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 11-of-13 passing before leaving after just one quarter of work for the Seminoles, who piled up 391 yards in the first two quarters. - The Sports Xchange
09/07/2012 - THIS WEEK'S GAME: Savannah State at Florida State, Sept. 8 -- This may be one of the most difficult games to watch in FSU's football history. Not to mention, the challenge for coaches to get players ready to play a glorified scrimmage. The real intrigue is how many people will show up and how bad the final score will be. There is nothing to really be gained for the Seminoles, aside from another tuneup before ACC play begins the following week. But as last week proved, the biggest concern is not losing players to serious injury. KEYS TO THE GAME: Show up. The Seminoles are playing a team that might struggle to win in Division II, so FSU's goal will be to score as often as possible in the first half, then rest all the front line players the second half to build depth. PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB E.J. Manuel -- He'll have a chance to throw for 200-plus yards in the first half and pad stats before ACC play begins. He ran the offense well last week, but the opponent has to be factored into consideration. - The Sports Xchange
09/01/2012 - It took exactly one minute, 29 seconds and one touch of the ball for Florida State to score all the points it needed against Murray State on Saturday night. And after a little while, the Seminoles' offense got in on the action, too. Rashad Greene scored Florida State's first points with a 47-yard punt return for a touchdown and senior Lonnie Pryor added three rushing scores in No. 7 Florida State's 69-3, season-opening victory over Murray State. Florida State piled up 606 yards of total offense and scored seven rushing touchdowns for the first time in more than 20 years. James Wilder Jr. and Debrale Smiley ran for two touchdowns each, and senior quarterback E.J. Manuel began his senior season by completing 16-of-22 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown before exiting the game midway through the third quarter. - The Sports Xchange
08/29/2012 - According to some Heisman Trophy voters, Florida State QB EJ Manuel has quite the challenge looming if he is going to claim the iconic college football award this postseason. In a recent poll of Heisman voters conducted by the blog StiffArmTrophy.com, Manuel ranks 12th among players most likely to win the award this December. The poll asked 51 voters representing 28 states to provide an unranked list of 15 players they felt could win the award. Manuel appeared on 27 ballots, earning support for Heisman consideration by 51 percent of the respondents. Eleven other players from other schools had higher percentages and were on more ballots. - Coley Harvey, The Orlando Sentinel
08/16/2012 - Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel reportedly injured his ankle Wednesday during a two-minute drill in practice and left the locker room in a walking boot. He was held out of Thursday's team scrimmage for precautionary reasons, according to the school. The fifth-year senior, who played at least part of the Champs Sports Bowl with a broken leg, has a history of injuries. He also missed three games last season with a separated left shoulder. Manuel is considered by many the make-or-break talent in Tallahassee, where ACC championship hopes remain high based largely on a very talented defense. - The Sports Xchange
08/10/2012 - MOST IMPORTANT FLORIDA STATE PLAYER: E.J. Manuel - This is a quarterback driven offense and the Seminoles are hoping this will be an injury-free, consistent production season for Manuel as a senior. He was the nation's No. 2-rated quarterback by some recruiting analysts when signed in 2008, but injuries, the anemic offensive line and the team's struggles during his career have curtailed his effectiveness. Still, he passed for nearly 2,700 yards last season despite missing parts of three games and his overall career numbers could put him in the top five categories among the school's top quarterbacks. His biggest issue is not forcing plays and making ill-advised throws that have led to interceptions. - The Sports Xchange
08/10/2012 - QUOTE TO NOTE: "This has to be the year. It's my last year. As far as (a) personal goal, that will be to help us as seniors leave a legacy at Florida State. We can say we helped bring back a national championship. We helped put Florida State back where it used to be in the 1990s and early 2000s." Florida State QB E.J. Manuel on his senior season and the team outlook. - The Sports Xchange
08/10/2012 - KEYS TO SUCCESS: It's all about the offensive line and consistency at quarterback. The Seminoles figure to have a strong defense. They figure to be able to rush the passer, make plays in the secondary. Their kicking game and kick return game is solid. They have playmakers at receiver and running back. The quarterback, E.J. Manuel, is a senior. But the Seminoles' offensive line has been one of this program's biggest challenges in the past decade. If this group can run block and pass block with equal proficiency, then it's up to Manuel to avoid rushing throws into coverage or making one of those head-scratching decisions to throw a ball downfield when a better play was open nearby. If this offense clicks, the season will go accordingly. - The Sports Xchange
08/04/2012 - 2012 PRESEASON JOHNNY UNITAS GOLDEN ARM AWARD CANDIDATE: EJ Manuel, Florida State...A shoulder injury hindered Manuel at times in 2011 and with a full offseason to recover, should have an All-ACC caliber senior year. Manuel threw for 2,666 yards and 18 touchdowns last season and added 151 yards and four scores on the ground. - The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
07/27/2012 - Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, 65, perfectly summed up this week how important a quarterback like Logan Thomas is to a program: "I'm going to coach as long as my health is good and I've got a good quarterback." There are many ways to measure the ACC's struggles since Florida State's era of dominance in the 90s, but none quite covers it like the recent leaguewide absence of elite quarterback play. For instance, since Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke won the Heisman Trophy in 2000, there have been 60 quarterbacks who have finished in the top 10 in Heisman voting, but just two played in the ACC - NC State's Philip Rivers in 2004 and Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan in 2007. That is the lowest among all BCS conferences. By comparison, The Pac-12 has had 12 quarterbacks finish in the top 10 in Heisman voting, followed by the Big 12 (11), SEC (8), Big Ten (six), and Big East (four). Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas and Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel can be readily found in the first round of plenty of 2013 NFL mock drafts, and NC State's Mike Glennon could play his way into the first round, too. How big of a deal would three first round quarterbacks in one draft be? Consider this: Only three ACC quarterbacks have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1979. To put it another way, the Big 12 had as many quarterbacks taken in the first round (three) of the 2012 NFL Draft as the ACC has had in the last 33 first rounds combined. Ten ACC teams return their starting quarterbacks from a year ago, making the position as deep as it has ever been in the league. - Sean Bielawski, CBSSports.com
07/26/2012 - One of Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher's buzz words on Monday at ACC media days was "focus," and he's not just talking the talk. Fisher has told his players they can't use Twitter for the rest of the year. Twitter, Fisher said, is clutter. "Alright, 18-year-old guy gets on there. He's a 7-star (recruit), OK?" Fisher said, drawing a few laughs from reporters. "All of a sudden, he's got 20,000 followers, 18 years old. He feels like every day he's obligated, he's owed to somebody, to tweet something or do something. They don't need that distraction. "It's not truly indicative of how those kids are," he said. "It's usually younger kids -- a lot of them are retweets -- and they'll think, 'Well, I didn't do it.' No, it's under your name. It's still tweeted to you." Fisher said he's "not against" Twitter, but his players didn't understand the true ramifications of it. "It's a power that you must understand the implications of when you use it," he said. "We'll continue to educate, but it's a lot easier when there are less distractions." Fisher's decision seemed to have an immediate impact on the Noles. "Some guys just didn't understand what Twitter is," FSU quarterback EJ Manuel told reporters at ACC media days. "Obviously it's an open forum, you can say whatever you want - freedom of speech. But you guys (reporters) are following them, kids are following them, their moms are following them, their dads are following them. You can't do that. Whatever they said ... that wasn't right, and they understood that. Those guys obviously feel bad now because none of us can do it." - Heather Dinich, ESPN.com
07/21/2012 - On Friday night, I caught up with FSU QB E.J. Manuel. In the spring he spent a week refining his mechanics with George Whitfield, the noted San Diego-based quarterback coach. Whitfield told me earlier Friday how impressed he was with Manuel's development, noting the improvement in the 6-5, 240-pounder's weight transfer. Manuel had a tendency to under-stride, Whitfield said. That was a focus for the duo in April and has been something the Noles QB has worked diligently on his own to remedy. Manuel said he spent four or five hours each day on his mechanics to better his weight transfer and finish by bringing his shoulder through. He was proud of the improvement he's made. "The weight transfer with me was big," he said. "I noticed in my film I wasn't doing that. I would throw and not step as much as I could. I have a lot of power in my legs. Once I started doing that, I've been ripping the ball, 40, 50 yards on a line down the field. I've been throwing it great here. "My delivery has gotten a lot more fluid, a lot more consistent and that's where the accuracy will come from. I was pretty accurate last year around 63 or 64 percent. (It was actually 65 percent.) Now that I've been working very hard on this stuff this summer, it should get even better." - Bruce Feldman, CBS Sports
07/20/2012 - 2012 DAVEY O'BRIEN PRESEASON WATCH LIST: EJ Manuel, Florida State, has been selected to the Preseason Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season, presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback by The Davey O'Brien Foundation. Manuel enters his final year at FSU ranked statistically as the most accurate passer in program history thanks to his 66.1 career completion percentage. Dating back to last season, the Virginia Beach, Va. native hasn't thrown an interception in 121 pass attempts and counting. The 2012 season will mark Manuel's second as the full-time starter and he boasts all-time record as 13-4. Manuel threw for 2,666 yards and 18 touchdowns last year after taking over for NFL first-round draft pick Christian Ponder. Manuel has three bowl victories to his credit, with wins in the Gator, Chick-fil-A and Champs Sports bowls in back-to-back-to-back seasons. - Florida State football
07/09/2012 - 2012 MAXWELL AWARD PRESEASON WATCHLIST: EJ Manuel, Florida State, QB, Sr., has been selected to the preseason Maxwell Award watchlist for the 2012 college football season, given to America's outstanding collegiate football player since 1937 and named in honor of sportswriter Robert W. "Tiny" Maxwell. FSU's Maxwell Award candidate enters his fifth season at FSU with three bowl victories, a 13-4 record as the team's starting quarterback and a current streak of 121 pass completions without an interception under his belt. The Seminoles' field general also gets to compete with one of the country's deepest wide receiver corps, a young but talented group of running backs and an improved offensive line in 2012. Charlie Ward (1993) is the lone FSU player to ever claim the Maxwell Award. - Florida State football
06/15/2012 - Top-five Florida State prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft: 5. QB EJ Manuel (6-5, 240)...Once considered the top recruit out of high school, Manuel will be one of the more debated quarterback prospects between now and next April. After redshirting in 2008, he made several starts as a freshman and sophomore in relief of an oft-injured Christian Ponder, recording a 4-2 record as a starter. Manuel became the full-time starter last season, starting all but one game and finishing second in the ACC with a 65.3% completion mark. He had only 18 scores through the air, but also threw just eight interceptions, including none over the last five games (121 straight passes). The Virginia native passes the eye test with a tall, strong frame and the arm strength to spin the ball downfield. He has the legs to extend and make plays with 500+ yards rushing the past three years, including seven touchdowns on the ground. Manuel is an intriuging NFL prospect because of his raw physical and athletic tools, but will need to prove to NFL scouts that he is just as talented with the mental part of the game before he is labeled as a top-50 prospect. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
05/15/2012 - 05/14/12 BIG BOARD, BEST FOR 2013: 21. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State: Like Virginia Tech's Thomas, Manuel boasts the combination of size (6-4 245), mobility and arm talent to earn comparisons to Cam Newton. Manuel has struggled with consistency and injury, but made strides in his first season as a starter (completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,666 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions) despite FSU struggling to protect him. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
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