After spending the last month traveling all over the country, Florida State quarterback will EJ Manuel use the final few days before fall practice begins to catch up on rest.
Spending last weekend in Pinehurst, North Carolina as one of FSU's player representatives was just the latest stop for Manuel. Earlier in the month he traveled to Thiboudaux, Louisiana for the Manning passing academy, then just a week later he racked up more sky miles traveling to Malibu, California for the Elite 11 camp.
"I remember telling my Grandma I always wanted to go on flights somewhere," Manuel said. "She even called me and told me my dreams' come true. God hears your prayers, but I've been on the move and I think this summer's been very beneficial for me
this past month I've done a lot of traveling and everywhere I've been I've been successful, and I just want to represent for my school."
In Louisiana, Manuel got the chance to be around Superbowl champions, Eli and Peyton Manning, as well as number of other NFL quarterbacks. Manuel said what he got most out of working with the Mannings up close and personal, was seeing that they're not that different from him.
"Biggest thing was just getting a chance to see that Eli and Peyton are normal people," he said. "You see guys like that on TV and you might think 'Oh he's a premadona, or he's not like me," but he's just like the rest of us. He wakes up every morning with a work ethic, they save Peyton is one of the hardest workers there is. So getting a chance to sit down just like I'm doing with y'all, and talking with him, not just talking about football but about being a good person was awesome for me."
In California the roles reversed for the 6'4, 246-pound QB. It was his turn to have his brain picked by the top high school quarterbacks in the nation, including FSU target Jameis Winston, who from most reports was like Manuel's shadow at the camp.
Manuel participated in the camp when he was in high school, so it never really occurred to him that on this visit the campers would be looking up to him.
"Some of those young guys they really look up to us," he said of the Elite 11 campers. "You don't really realize that the younger crowd does look up to you, you kind of see yourself just like them. But I think going out there and doing well, it went a long way for me."
While Manuel has more experience than most first-year starters, the summer still seems to have helped him validate that he can compete with top quarterbacks around the country. In a sit down last week head coach Jimbo Fisher told Warchant.com that he was told Manuel outperformed many of the Manning camp participants, including Oklahoma's Landry Jones among others.
"I think it's huge for him," Fisher said of Manuel's busy summer. "Because I think what it's done, he's got around some of these other guys, been able to communicate with Peyton and Eli ball-wise. He's sitting there going man 'I understand what's going on, I understand what they're saying.'
"He watched other guys throw and he throws with them and he says 'I think I'm as good as these other guys are too.' I think he saw how high school guys look at him, and the ability to teach and just being in that atmosphere was very good for his confidence."
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