Simply put, they want to be stars.Jacory Harris and E.J. Manuel, two of the hottest senior quarterback prospects in the country and members of the Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern team, have their sights set on turning around the once-elite Miami and Florida State programs that have fallen on hard times.
Fans chatter about the prolific passers daily on Internet message boards, anointing the quarterbacks as their saviors.
They dull the pain of Miami's tepid play and Florida State's academic woes with talk about Harris' speed and Manuel's strong arm.
Can Harris and Manuel possibly live up to all this hype?
Players and coaches think so, but recruiting analysts are more circumspect.
Harris is oozing confidence.
He led Miami Northwestern to a 15-0 season capped with a 41-0 shutout of Boone for the Bulls' second consecutive Class 6A state championship.
Northwestern also clinched the mythical national title.
Harris, who is 6 feet 4 and 185 pounds, thrived on piloting the Bulls' spread offense.
He passed for 6,365 yards and 86 touchdowns in two seasons.
"There's no question he's the best player we faced all season," Boone Coach Phil Ziglar said. "Usually a quarterback has some kind of weakness. If they throw well, they usually can't run. If they can run, their arm usually isn't as strong. And a lot of them don't make real good decisions under pressure.
"Harris was different. He could do it all. Miami's really getting a solid football player."
Harris is on the mend after suffering a knee injury in the fourth quarter against Boone.
He told the Miami Herald he only strained his anterior and medial cruciate ligaments, avoiding dreaded tears that could have derailed his chances of playing for the Hurricanes next season.
Harris is graduating from Northwestern this month and will enroll at Miami in January.
This will give him a head start on learning the Hurricanes' offense, which in turn gives him a better chance of beating front-runner Robert Marve for Miami's starting job.
"You can tell Robert Marve I'll be ready to compete with him in the spring," Harris told the Herald when discussing his knee injury.
Manuel speaks of his future with just as much bravado.
While spread offenses are all the rage in high school, Manuel was taught a pro-style offense.
He is still shifty and speedy enough to evade trouble, but he looks to pass first.
Manuel, who is 6-5 and 215 pounds, passed for 1,896 yards and 19 touchdowns his senior year at Bayside High in Virginia Beach, Va.
He has more than 5,800 career yards in four years as a starter at Bayside.
His size, strength and textbook-perfect delivery this season led recruiting service Rivals.com to name Manuel the No. 1 quarterback in the country.
"They are seeing what I've seen for years," Bayside Coach Darnell Moore said. "You can just look at him warming up throwing the ball and you know he has it.
"He has so much raw talent and worked so hard to develop as a quarterback that he really is the complete package right now. If you look up the word quarterback in the dictionary, you might see a picture of E.J. Manuel there."
Manuel will stay at Bayside for the spring semester, but he is following a Seminole conditioning and meal plan to bulk up.
He plans to graduate in June and enroll at Florida State two days later.
"I want to be the guy who puts them back on top," Manuel said. "I know it will take a lot of work, but I can do it.
"I want to send Coach Bowden out on a high note and help Florida State win a national championship."
Allen Wallace, a national recruiting editor at Scout.com, has vastly different expectations of Harris and Manuel.
He has seen hundreds of promising high school quarterbacks, who were preordained college superstars, crash and burn at the next level.
"The quarterback position is so much harder in college," Wallace said. "We thought Jimmy Clausen was a terrific high school quarterback and everyone said he would be a star in college, but he played as a freshman and has been part of the worst Notre Dame football team in 50 years."
Wallace argues Manuel and Harris have a much better shot at success if they redshirt their rookie seasons and are eased into starting quarterback jobs.
"There are Tim Tebows walking around out there, but they're a rare breed," Wallace said.
"It's just impossible to tell right now whether a player will be able to handle all the pressure and be a star quarterback in college."
JACORY HARRISPosition: Quarterback
Size: 6-4, 185
High school: Miami Northwestern
College choice: Committed to Miami
Emulates: Vince Young
Stats: Passed for 6,365 yards and 86 touchdowns in two seasons. . . . Led Northwestern to back-to-back Class 6A state titles and helped the Bulls win the mythical high school national championship.
The b uzz: Harris capitalized on his lanky frame to evade defenders in high school, but he needs to bulk up to weather the beating he will take piloting the Hurricanes' offense.
Size: 6-5, 215 pounds
High school: Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside High
College choice: Committed to Florida State
Emulates: Tom Brady
Stats: Passed for 1,896 yards and 19 touchdowns his senior year, leading Bayside to the state playoffs for the first time in eight years. . . . Passed for more than 5,800 career yards in four years as a starter.
The buzz: Manuel appears to be the complete quarterback package, but he wasn't tested by the best high school competition in the country and it's unclear how he will fare against a college defense.
MEET THE 2007 ALL-SOUTHERN FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Player of the Year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeWR Julio Jones 6-4/210 Sr. Foley, Ala. Ala. FSU, LSUOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Anthony Landrum 6-0/205 Sr. Sweetwater UndecidedOL Tyler Love 6-7/285 Sr. Mountain Brook AlabamaQB Barrett Trotter 6-2/195 Sr. Briarwood Chr. AuburnRB Justin Rogers 5-11/185 Sr. Vestavia Hills UndecidedLB William Green 6-4/215 Sr. Hoover Spain Park UndecidedATH Mark Barron 6-2/202 Sr. Mobile St. Paul's AlabamaLB Jerrell Harris 6-3/215 Sr. Gadsden City AuburnDE Courtney Upshaw 6-3/230 Sr. Eufaula AlabamaQB A.J. McCarron 6-4/195 Jr. Mobile St. Paul's UnderclassRB Justin Albert 5-8/175 Sr. Prattville Undecided<
Player of the Year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Dennis Johnson 5-8/180 Sr. Texarkana UndecidedOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeWR Tyler Serrano 6-2/185 Sr. Nashville UndecidedATH Joe Adams 6-0/170 Sr. L.R.C.Ark.Christian Southern CalRB De'Anthony Curtis 5-10/209 Sr. Camden Fairview ArkansasWR Jarius Wright 5-11/180 Sr. Warren ArkansasDE Carson Knowlton 6-2/215, Sr. West Memphis UndecidedQB Tyler Wilson 6-3/185 Sr. Greenwood ArkansasOL Matt Hall 6-10/320 Sr. Russellville ArkansasTE Jake Byrne 6-5/240 Sr. Rogers WisconsinQB Jim Youngblood 6-2/220 Sr. Camden Fairview ArkansasWR Cruz Williams 6-4/206 Sr. L.R.Pulaski Academy Arkansas
Player of the Year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Jacory Harris 6-4/170 Sr. Miami Northwestern MiamiOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeCB Patrick Johnson 6-2/190 Sr. Pompano Beach Ely MiamiQB B.J. Daniels 6-1/203 Sr. Tallahassee Lincoln UndecidedWR/DB Derek Winter 6-0/178 Sr. Tampa Plant UndecidedDL Marcus Forston 6-2/290 Sr. Miami Northwestern MiamiDB Brandon Harris 5-10/174 Sr. Miami Washington UndecidedATH Janoris Jenkins 5-11/185 Sr. Pahokee FloridaRB Carlton Thomas 5-8/175 Sr. Frostproof GeorgiaLB Nigel Bradham 6-3/225 Sr. Wakulla Co. Florida StateOL Mike Brewster 6-6/305 Sr. Edgewater Ohio StateRB Bubba Brown 5-9/180 Sr. Osceola UndecidedATH Jeremy Gallon 5-8/165 Jr. Apopka Underclass
Player of the Year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Washaun Ealey 6-1 / 215 Jr. Emanuel Co. Inst. UnderclassOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeDL DeAngelo Tyson 6-2/276 Sr. Statesboro GeorgiaATH James Fortson 6-3/222 Sr. Columbus Carver AuburnATH Richard Samuel 6-0/197 Sr. Cartersville Cass GeorgiaRB Debrale Smiley 5-11/235 Sr. Thomas Co. Central UndecidedRB Tijuan Green 5-11/190 Sr. W.R. Northside UndecidedDE Cornelius Washington 6-4/220 Sr. Burke Co. GeorgiaDL Omar Hunter 6-2/290 Sr. Buford Notre DameWR Brice Butler 6-2/178 Sr. Norcross Southern CalRB/DB Greg Reid 5-9/185 Jr. Lowndes Co. UnderclassQB Michael Tamburo 6-1/185 Jr. N. Gwinnett Underclass
Player of the Year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Corey Robinson 6-0/190 Sr. Lone Oak UndecidedOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeWR Aaron Boyd 6-6/210 Sr. Lexington Henry Clay UndecidedWR John Cole 6-0/170 Sr. Somerset VanderbiltDB/WR Winston Guy 6-0/185 Sr. Lexington Catholic KentuckyDE Dexter Heyman 6-4/220 Sr. Louisville Male UndecidedQB Alex Matthews 6-3/195 Sr. Shelby County UndecidedWR D.L. Moore 6-5/185 Sr. Bowling Green UndecidedDL Brandon Newman 6-1/300 Sr. Pleasure Ridge Park Notre DameOL Sam Robey 6-5/240 Sr. Louisville Trinity FloridaOL/DL Dave Ulinski 6-6/270 Sr. Louisville Manual KentuckyTE/DE Ryan Wallace 6-5/230 Sr. Bowling Green Undecided
Player of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Jordan Jefferson 6-4/200 Sr. Destrehan LSUOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeWR Damaris Johnson 5-7/175 Sr. Destrehan UndecidedRB Luther Ambrose 5-8/165 Sr. St. James UndecidedQB Randall Mackey 5-11/200 Sr. Bastrop UndecidedOL Clay Spencer 6-5/280 Sr. Parkview Baptist LSUTE/DE Tyler Edwards 6-3/230 Sr. Monroe Ouachita UndecidedWR Tim Molton 6-3/200 Sr. Destrehan LSUDE Chase Clement 6-5/240 Sr. Thibodaux White LSUQB Ryan Lewis 6-3/215 Sr. Baton Rouge Cath. RiceQB Blaine Gautier 6-0/194 Sr. Lutcher La.-LafayetteRB Vince Collins 6-0/180 Jr. Westlake Underclass
Player of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Darius "Tig" Barksdale 5-11/200 Sr. South Panola Ole MissOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeWR DeAndre Brown 6-6/205 Sr. Ocean Springs HS UndecidedRB Jason McNair 5-11/180 Sr. Mount Olive UndecidedDB Alonzo Lawrence 6-1/187 Sr. George Co. UndecidedRB Kenneth Davis 6-1/215 Sr. Tupelo Ole MissLB Andre Wadley 6-2/255 Sr. Hernando UndecidedQB/DB Akeem Davis 6-0/180 Sr. Laurel UndecidedDL Willie Packer 6-2/260 Sr. Moss Point Ole MissDB Charles Mitchell 5-11/190 Sr. Clarksdale UndecidedLB Marlon Walls 6-2/225 Sr. Olive Branch Ole MissATH Dennis Thames 6-0/180 Jr. Louisville Underclass<
Player of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Braden Hanson 6-6/200 Sr. Charlotte Latin North CarolinaOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeLB Kevin Reddick 6-1/210 Sr. New Bern North CarolinaTE Dwayne Allen 6-4/245 Sr. Fayetteville Terry Sanford GeorgiaRB Eric Breitenstein 5-11/201 Sr. Boone Watauga UndecidedLB Terrell Manning 6-2/205 Sr. Laurinburg Scotland Co. N.C. StateDB Robert Blanton 6-1/175 Sr. Matthews Butler Notre DameOL R.J. Mattes 6-6/260 Sr. Robinson Virginia TechQB Jacob Charest 6-4/195 Sr. Matthews Butler IllinoisLB E.J. Abrams-Ward 6-5/210 Sr. Thomasville UndecidedDB Brandon Barnes 6-0/185 Sr. Bunn N.C. StateOL Michael Via 6-6/260 Sr. NE Guilford Virginia Tech
Play er of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeWR A.J. Green 6-4/185 Sr. Summerville HS GeorgiaOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Andre Ellington 5-10/170 Sr. Moncks Corner Berkeley ClemsonDL DaQuan Bowers 6-5/275 Sr. Bamberg-Ehrhardt ClemsonDL Everett Dawkins 6-3/250 Sr. Duncan Byrnes Florida StateQB Will King 5-11/155 Sr. Rock Hill Northwestern UndecidedOL Dalton Freeman 6-6/270 Sr. Pelion UndecidedLB Bruce Taylor 6-3/230 Sr. Myrtle Beach Virginia TechQB Richard Mounce 6-0/190 Sr. Blythewood ClemsonATH Gene McCaskill 5-11/160 Sr. Chester KentuckyQB Michael Ruff 5-9/170 Sr. Whitmire UndecidedOL Kenneth Page 6-4/300 Sr. Columbia A.C. Flora South Carolina
Play er of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Brent Burnette 6-2/193 Sr. Maryville HS UndecidedOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeDL LaDarrius Verge 6-3/235 Sr. Riverdale UndecidedWR Marlon Brown 6-5/205 Jr. Memphis Harding Academy UnderclassATH Deaunte Mason 6-4/215 Sr. Pearl-Cohn KentuckyATH Randall Cobb 5-11/176 Sr. Alcoa KentuckyOL Barrett Jones 6-5/271 Sr. Evangelical Chr. AlabamaLB Don'ta Hightower 6-3/215 Sr. Marshall Co. AlabamaOL David Spurlock 6-4/280 Sr. Riverdale Florida StateWR Rodriguez Wilks 6-1/195 Sr. Smyrna TennesseeOL Preston Bailey 6-5/315 Sr. Montgomery Bell Acad. TennesseeTE/DL Aaron Douglas 6-6/245 Sr. Maryville Tennessee
Play er of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Jacquizz Rodgers 5-6/175 Sr. Lamar Consol. Oregon StateOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Riley Dodge 6-0/185 Sr. South Lake Carroll North TexasRB Jermie Calhoun 6-1/210 Sr. Van OklahomaDE R.J. Washington 6-4/235 Sr. Keller Fossil Ridge OklahomaQB Andrew Luck 6-4/215 Sr. Houston Stratford StanfordWR Jason Bird 5-11/155 Sr. Lake Travis UndecidedRB Aundre Dean 6-1/200 Sr. Katy UCLALB Dravonnti Johnson 6-2/230 Sr. Nederland TexasOL J.B. Shugarts 6-7/321 Sr. Klein Ohio StateDB Aaron Williams 6-1/177 Sr. McNeil TexasLB Chris Williams 6-1/220 Jr. Abilene UndecidedQB Marcus Wright 6-1/185 Sr. S.A. Reagan Tulsa
Play er of the year Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeRB Kevin Whaley 5-11/170 Sr. Salem UndecidedOthers Ht./wt. Yr. High school CollegeQB Mike Glennon 6-6/195 Sr. Centreville Westfield N.C. StateRB Ryan Williams 5-10/192 Sr. Manassas Jackson UndecidedQB E.J. Manuel 6-1/200 Sr. Virginia Beach Bayside Florida StateRB DeAntwan Williams 5-9/203 Jr. Woodbridge UnderclassDL Antoine Hopkins 6-1/275 Sr. Highland Springs Virginia TechATH Ben Barber 5-10/200 Sr. Alexandria Edison Virginia TechDB Jeron Gouveia 6-2/180 Sr. Stone Bridge Virginia TechDL Kyle Long 6-7/280 Sr. St. Anne's-Belfield Florida StateRB Arlandis Harvey 5-11/200 Jr. Flint Hill Academy UnderclassOL Bobby Massie 6-8/335 Sr. Liberty Christian Virginia Tech
Iliana Limón can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE ALL-SOUTHERN FOOTBALL TEAM WAS COMPILED BY RECRUITING GURU BILL BUCHALTER, SENTINEL STAFF WRITER BUDDY COLLINGS, PETER THOMSON, AND JODY DEMLING OF THE (LOUISVILLE) COURIER-JOURNAL.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun