May 16, 2007

QB Manuel down to 10

Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside quarterback E.J. Manuel is one of the most coveted prospects in the country for many reasons. The 6-foot-6, 202-pounder is beginning to narrow his list and has come up with a final 10 programs under consideration.

"It's down to 10 schools," said Manuel. "These are my final 10 and they're in alphabetical order because I haven't narrowed it down beyond this. I don't have any favorites at this time. My final 10 is Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, Rutgers and Tennessee."

Manuel went on to list a few things he likes about each school.

Alabama -- I plan on taking a summer visit to Alabama. I've talked to coach Saban, coach Applewhite and coach Cignetti and I have a good feel for them. Coach Saban has won everywhere so you know he's going to win at Alabama. And they need quarterbacks.

Florida State -- I've always liked Florida State and the quarterback situation there looks good. I really like coach Fisher and of course coach Bowden would be great to play for. I'm going to visit down there after school ends, probably the weekend after June 14. The committed recruits for Florida State are always contacting me so I feel comfortable with them.

LSU -- I really liked my trip down to LSU when I was there and my dad liked it too. My mom just needs to see it so I might go back down there this summer for another visit. A few of their recruits have been in touch as well and they want me to come in and be the next JaMarcus Russell. It's a great program.

Maryland -- I loved my trip to Maryland the first time I was there and I plan on going back there this weekend. I like the offense, the quarterback situation is open and I got to speak with Josh Portis a little bit and he's a good guy. I've always liked Maryland.

Miami -- I took a visit there and it was good and I really liked the coaches. I think coach Shannon will turn things around there and the quarterback situation is a good one for me. Kyle Wright will be gone and they don't really have a successor so it's open. I also grew up liking Miami a lot when I was younger.

North Carolina -- Coach John Blake is recruiting me for them and they've shown a lot of interest. UNC is close enough for me to take an easy visit. I've been there once last summer for a camp and I liked it a lot. They also don't have an established quarterback and they've recruited well the last couple of years.

Oregon -- I'm not eliminating the west coast just because it's far away and I think Oregon has a great quarterback situation. I've talked to Chip Kelly a lot and coach Belotti and I think they're looking to take Deion Walker and I as a 1-2 package deal from Virginia. I plan on getting out there this summer.

Penn State -- PSU's offer just came in a few weeks ago and we took an unofficial visit there the day before the NIKE Camp. I got to talk to coach Jay Paterno and coach Buggs and I would like to get back there to meet Joe Paterno, he wasn't there when I went. I liked the campus there.

Rutgers -- I visited Rutgers with my dad the day before the Elite College Combine and was very impressed with the facilities. They have amazing facilities there and I spent some time with coach Schiano and they'll be a constant BCS contender in the Big East. I hope to get back up there this summer.

Tennessee -- I've talked to coach Slade, coach Cutcliffe and coach Fulmer quite a bit and I'm visiting there this summer. The quarterback situation there is good and they have a great tradition of winning. I've never been there so I'm looking forward to visiting.

So what's next for Manuel after this?

"I'll take as many visits as I can this summer and then narrow things down to five unless I really feel something at one place and commit," he said. "I'm not in a rush but I'd like to get it done before the end of the summer and before my football season."

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