Kole Manley already has the look of a big winner, both on and off the football field.
As the starting quarterback for the Eudora Cardinals in Kansas, Manley helped his fifth-grade team go 8-1 this season while winning the Lawrence Youth Football league championship. “I am happiest about winning our league championship because that was my personal goal as well as our team goal,” Manley said. “We worked hard as a team to accomplish this goal. Having an outstanding offensive line and great receivers like (Braylen) Hoobler, (Logan) Sullivan and (Adrian) Seals are the main reasons for our success.”
The best quarterbacks are always passing around the praise, and Manley is no different. But he had a big season for the Cardinals, connecting on 45 of 60 passes for just under 1,800 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Manley also ran for 600-plus yards with 8 rushing touchdowns. The young QB’s versatility really showed in the championship game, when he completed 9 of 12 passes while throwing 4 touchdowns to Hoobler and running for 2 more scores.
He is still in the early stages of his career, but Manley is already showing he’s a quarterback to keep an eye on. “I have played football for seven seasons now, with the last four being tackle,” Manley said. “I have been the quarterback for six of those seasons. I like playing quarterback because I am the one that all my teammates lean on to keep calm and make the best decisions under pressure.”
In addition to his success on the football field, Manley is straight-A student at Eudora Elementary School. As he’s learned from Cardinals coaches and the NFA staff, getting good grades is crucial for players at all levels that are one day hoping to land college football scholarships.
Training with NFA has helped numerous QBs realize their dreams of playing in college. Manley joined up with NFA last year.
“I attended my first NFA camp in Denver,” he said. “NFA has helped me learn how to self correct my throwing technique, which helps me with my accuracy.”
Manley got an invite to the Duel in July and he finished fifth among incoming fourth/fifth graders. “Since it was my first time attending the Duel, I was not sure what to expect,” he said. “I knew my goal was to finish in the Top 5 and I accomplished that. Finishing fifth in the Duel gave me a lot of confidence to perform under pressure going into the season. I’m happy with that, but it is not enough. I continue to work on my accuracy and decision making.”
With his impressive fifth-grade season in the books, Manley is looking forward to getting even better at quarterback. “I will always be working on my accuracy and the ability to read defenses so I can find the open receivers quicker,” he said. “I feel that my ability to stay calm under pressure and perform for the best of the team is what my strong points are. I am also looking forward to attending the NFA camp in Denver again this year and I hope to get invited to the Duel again, where my goal is to win.”
While he’s already making a name for himself in football, Manley is a multi-sport athlete. “I made the Kansas United basketball team and am one of the starters because of my hard work on defense and my passing,” he said. “I have played baseball and wrestled in the past but plan to focus most of my time on football, basketball and pole vaulting.”