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June 28, 2007

Top-ranked QB chooses Seminoles

On Wednesday evening, Bayside High School quarterback E.J. Manuel held a press conference to announce his decision to attend Florida State University. While his announcement came as no surprise to most, as it had been reported he would likely choose to wear the Garnet and Gold, it became apparent that FSU and the five-star quarterback are a perfect fit.

For Manuel, Florida State means the opportunity to play quarterback in a system made famous by former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, a player he has followed the past five years.

"When coach Fisher came that was icing on the cake," the nation's top rated pro-style quarterback stated. "I have been watching JaMarcus since he was a red-shirt freshman."

It also means attending the school he feels most comfortable with and moving to a city he said most reminds him of home.

"It really was an easy choice for me," Manuel said in a previous interview with Rivals' Mike Farrell. "I've always heard that you'll know what school you want to attend by getting a feeling when you're on your visit. That's exactly what happened at Florida State. I just felt so comfortable there, my parents loved it and it reminded me a lot of Virginia Beach."

For Florida State, the signing of Manuel, FSU's second five-star commit and commit number 12 for the 2008 class, signifies the beginning for a coaching staff looking to rebuild a program that was once arguably the best in college football. The 2008 signees have bought in to what new offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, new offensive line coach Rick Trickett and the rest of the staff are selling, and it's paying dividends before the players even put on the pads.

"Guys like Nigel Bradham, Nigel Carr, Vincent Williams, and others kept in touch with me," Manuel said in Farrell's interview. "They want to build something special at FSU, and so do I. I got to know them pretty well. That comfort level helped."

Manuel can now help Bradham, Carr, Williams and the rest of the 2008 class recruit even more top-notched talent for the Seminoles, starting with five-star wide receiver Deion Walker from Christchurch, Virginia.

"Deion Walker is one of my best friends, me and Deion have formed a really good bond during this recruiting process, so I am definitely going to be in contact with him."

For the Seminoles, the future seems bright with plenty of talent already locked up for 2008 and more potentially on the way. As for Manuel, the day's events reminded him of something he put up as a young kid.

"It was a slogan I've had taped up on my mirror" Manuel said.

"Shoot for FSU."

Mitch Fortner is a recent graduate of Florida State University and an avid sports fan. By avid fan we mean obsessed with sports to the point where if he didn't make covering them his career, he would struggle to be successful in any other field. He claims he can throw a 95 mph fastball, but don't ask him to do it with a radar gun nearby, because then everyone will know it is a lie.



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