Leilehua's Manley picks New Mexico State


POSTED: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's a long way from Wahiawa to Honolulu Airport, but Andrew Manley will know the route well in the next few years.

The Leilehua senior quarterback gave New Mexico State an oral commitment on Saturday, accepting his only scholarship offer despite prolific numbers since his sophomore season.

Manley had his eyes on Hawaii, but the Warriors are deep at quarterback and didn't make a scholarship offer.

“;They told me I might be a grayshirt,”; Manley said yesterday afternoon. “;New Mexico State said I could come in right away and compete.”;

Playing for New Mexico State, a member of the Western Athletic Conference, means Manley has an opportunity to suit up against Hawaii each year — twice in Aloha Stadium.

The trend in college recruiting has been toward fast quarterbacks rather than pocket passers. Manley is mobile with good footwork in the pocket, but not a typical burner who will run the option.

“;I can't believe he's not being recruited more,”; veteran college recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said last week. Lemming was in town to shoot footage for his annual recruiting show on CBS.

; “;If he were in Chicago, where I'm based, there would be at least 10, 15 schools wanting him,”; Lemming said.

Manley, the Star-Bulletin offensive player of the year last season, passed for 3,099 yards and 28 touchdowns this year. He was 237-for-412 with 11 interceptions in 13 games. Whatever the case, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound passer is ready for the future.

“;You just gotta move on. That's what happens,”; Manley said.

The Aggies began communicating with Manley during the week of the Aloha Prep Bowl, an all-star exhibition game featuring Hawaii's top players and a squad of mainland standouts.

“;They sold the school great to me,”; Manley said of NMSU assistant coaches Todd Littlejohn and Jesse Williams.

Manley is accustomed to both shotgun and under-center sets.

“;They like the shotgun. I'll find out more when I visit,”; said Manley, who is scheduled to go to NMSU on Jan. 8.

“;I have no regrets. Everything works out the way it's supposed to be,”; said Manley, who has a 3.2 grade-point average.

Manley caught the attention of football fans late in the 2007 season, when he was called up from the junior varsity at Leilehua to replace two injured quarterbacks. He led the Mules, who were 3-3 in regular-season play, to six consecutive wins and a state championship.

Leilehua lost in the state final a year ago and reached the semifinals this fall.