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NoleNation: Manuel stars at FSU pro day

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- EJ Manuel was eager to wrap up his throws at Florida State's pro day Tuesday -- not just because he had a host of NFL scouts carefully critiquing each motion, but because he had plans for when it was all over. Tuesday was also Manuel's birthday.

"I just had to knock this out, and now I can go celebrate," Manuel said.

After solid showings at the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine, Manuel already believed he had plenty to celebrate even before throwing for scouts Tuesday. He's worked his way into the mix of top quarterbacks available, met with more than two dozen teams, and earned an invite to the NFL draft in New York.

"When I got the invite, I was about to cry, really," Manuel said. "That was probably my biggest goal. I know there was a lot being said about me going into it, but I never listened to it. I continue to work hard, did well at the Senior Bowl and the combine, and the naysayers have pushed me to have a bigger chip on my shoulder."

Manuel insists he's not bitter about any criticism he's gotten along the way, but he said it has pushed him to work harder.

Read the rest of David Hale's story here.