Manley commits to New Mexico State
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Leilehua quarterback Andrew Manley, who just completed one of the most celebrated high school football careers in recent Hawai'i history, said yesterday he has made a verbal commitment to play for New Mexico State University.
Manley, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound strong-armed right-hander, told The Advertiser he gave his commitment to New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker while watching Saturday's Dallas Cowboys-New Orleans game on TV.
"I was talking to (Aggies) defensive line coach Jesse Williams and he said I could come in and compete for the starting quarterback job," Manley said. "I said I was ready to commit, and he put (Walker) on the phone."
Manley said it was the only scholarship offer he received for next season.
He said Hawai'i offered him a chance to attend classes part time in the fall (paying his own way and not playing football) with the possibility of receiving a full scholarship in January 2011 — a process called "grayshirting" — but he opted to take New Mexico State's immediate scholarship offer instead.
"UH wanted me to grayshirt, but there's no guarantee with that and I could end up with nothing," Manley said. "New Mexico State had been talking to me the past couple weeks, since the (Hawai'i/Polynesia vs. Mainland) all-star game, and I liked what they offered. I thought it would be the best for me."
Manley burst on to the local football scene two years ago, when he was called up from the JV during the O'ahu Interscholastic Association playoffs and led Leilehua to five straight victories, including the school's first state championship.
In that title game, the Mules trailed powerhouse Saint Louis, 16-6, in the third quarter but Manley calmly guided them to a fourth-quarter comeback capped by his 15-yard game-winning touchdown strike to Edieson Dumlao with 30 seconds remaining.
Leilehua won, 20-16, and a local legend was born.
After a prolific junior season in which he again led the Mules to the state championship game, Manley was named Advertiser State Co-Offensive Player of the Year.
This past season, with many of his key skill players and linemen having graduated, Manley helped Leilehua win the OIA Red Conference Western Division and reach the league title game and state semifinals.
In 13 games this season, he completed 245 passes in 402 attempts (61 percent) and led the state with 3,108 yards. Manley also tied for second among all Hawai'i quarterbacks with 27 touchdown passes.
He was named OIA Red West Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
The first day prospects can sign an official National Letter of Intent is Feb. 3.