Chat with new UCLA commit Steven Manfro

Steven Manfro
verbally committed to UCLA today on his official visit, pledging his commitment to Rick Neuheisel on the spot.

“It was this morning when we were eating breakfast,” Manfro said by phone today. “He took me outside and he was just saying that he was really impressed with me, that I could help the program and he was offering me a full athletic scholarship.”

It did not take long for the long-time UCLA fan to commit, as he told Neuheisel soon after that he would accept the offer.

Manfro’s recruitment has been relatively light, but his production at Valencia certainly was not.

Manfro had 75 touchdowns the last two years for Valencia as a dual-threat running back.
In fact, it was Manfro’s receiving abilities out of the backfield that he thinks led to his offer.
“I got a call a few months ago from Coach Neuheisel saying that they were interested,” Manfro said. “He loved that i had the catching ability and the running ability, being a dual-threat helped. Whenever we talked he said I was a taller Danny Woodhead.”

At 5-10, 176 pounds, Manfro is bigger than Woodhead, but they play similarly – low to the ground with good lateral moves, displaying the ability to avoid defenders.

“I want to compete in the top level of football,” Manfro said. “With smaller running backs, it’s starting to get big now. Woodhead is 5-7 right? Hes balling it up. Maurice Jones-Drew is small. He’s great.”

For Manfro, having the opportunity to someday step into Jones-Drew’s shoes is a dream come true.

“That’s my favorite school,” Manfro said. “It’s been my favorite school for many years now. It’s great ot have the opportunity to play for team. And my parents are definitely happy that I’m only 40 minutes away.”

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  • Anonymous

    If Manfro accomplishes 1/10th of what MJD did at UCLA would be a great accomplishment for him. He may be the next Danny Woodhead but right now he’s more like Rudy Ruettiger than anyone else. Now go out and prove me wrong, son. Good luck and welcome to UCLA

  • Coach Thom

    This kid is a baller. He loves football and is dedicated to becoming a great Bruin. Good call, Coach Rick.

  • Anonymous

    His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield was noted by Coach Neuheisel.

    Is this indication of changing out offense slightly.

    We rarely ever threw to the RB’s last year.

    That is a real weapon is executed properly.

  • BRUINBEATCH

    Finally some good news! This kid is good and he is a great kid.Welcome to Westwood Manfro!

  • Bruin4ever

    what a cool lastname! Welcome to the Bruin family Manfro and make us Bruins proud!

  • Anonymous

    While I’m happy that Manfro gets to attend UCLA, I can’t help but think CRN is pretty much throwing in the towel this recruiting season. I don’t think he’s planning on staying at UCLA for a while.

  • Brock

    REALLY excited about this commit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irk7LE4skhI

    look at the TRUCK at 1:00.

  • Gman

    Wow Anonymous…reminds you of Rudy huh…? Funny but I’m not sure I remember Rudy scoring 135 td’s during his HS career – 3788yds and 41 tds during his senior year alone. Yeah, those are Rudy type #’s.

  • $uckaFREE

    With this commitment I guess the days of competing with USC are officially over….HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, he looks like an Army or UA All-American to me, with only 2 offers. Wow! 41 TDs Wow! 5-star (*****) that boy now! Wow! 3788 YDs Wow! Instant 2012 Heisman favorite. Hell, get those busts ready in South Bend, IN and Canton, OH!!!!!

  • BruinPain

    Obviously, those who have posted negative comments about Manfro’s commit have never seen him play. Forget about the worthless 2 stars that Scout.com gives him, he’s an excellent running back! I’m very happy that he’s joining the Bruin family. Welcome to UCLA Steven!!!

  • Anonymous

    Gman,

    His only choices are the 4-8 Bruins or the 3-9 Cowboys. He may be a diamond in the rough, but all he is is just a bunch of carbon atoms right now. I doubt he’ll be thermodynamically pressurized into a FL-clarity, D-color diamond. Just saying…

  • Anonymous

    This guy put up some absolutely stunning numbers in what is one of the toughest leagues in California. My favorite is his Foothill League record of 420 yards on 15 carries. He’s broken some of Manny White and Shane Vereen’s records. Neuheisel is probably treating himself to a Lobster dinner over this steal. Two-star my tuchas.

  • Anonymous

    To Gman, Anon @8:20pm and 8:32pm

    I’ve never seen him play in person. I’ve never heard of him until Jon Gold’s post about this weekend’s official visits from a couple days ago.

    Alright, forget about the rankings (or non-rankings) of Manfro. High school rankings don’t matter as much. I get that. Lombardi winner and BCS champ Nick Fairley was a 3-star player by Scout.com for example.

    But why doesn’t Manfro have more offers? You compare him to Veeren. They are listed at the same height and nearly the same weight and speed in high school.

    http://recruiting.scout.com/a.z?s=73&p=8&c=1&nid=2533051

    Yet, Veeren was highly regarded and heavily recruited coming out of HS. Sure, Manfro put up stunning #’s but there has to be something that makes all the college coaches and media (scout.com, rivals.com, espn) guys shun him. They watch the same tapes and games as you. Why the lack of interests?

  • hogsman

    I’ve never heard of this kid, but after watching his highlights on Youtube, I’m impressed by his ability to change direction on a dime. He’s got good hands, runs hard, and is tough to bring down, too. I’m glad he’s a Bruin.

  • hicalliber

    The kid looks quick. Just needs to put on some weight and he should be a nice scat back or at least a good special teams guy. Stanford and Oregon would take guys like this all day.

  • troganssuc

    so what if he’s a two star…him being slighted will cause him to want to prove doubters wrong even more so…UCLA is his favorite and we gave him a chance and I bet more likely than not he won’t waste it…

    if he can’t crack our rb depth charts he’ll still be a great athlete recruit for us…I mean this boy is pretty dang fast…no need to make comparisons to him w/ a Shane Vereen or a MJD…hopefully he’ll be tru to himself and be the next Steven Manfo…

  • AJTovar

    Okay, I guess I’ll be the one to say it. It is the elephant in the room afterall…..He’s white. That’s why people immediately think of Danny Woodhead (because their styles aren’t really similar), and to be honest, that’s probably the reason for his two star ranking. It’s hard to imagine that a kid with that kind of production, in a league that while not the pinnacle is still tough enough, is only a two star caliber recruit. I hate to say it, but white RB’s in today’s game are simply not the norm and frankly have more to prove IMO.

    Sad but true.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Tovar. I was thinking it. Also he weighs only 175 pounds. I read somewhere he is very good defensive back too. I expect in a few years a lot of schools will be regretting their miss.

  • Anonymous

    Many times Scout’s ratings are wrong!

  • Anonymous

    I’m always surprised about the obsession with the rankings. Last year we landed the Gatorade national player of the year. And, from what I’ve seen, he’s no better than average.

    Rankings mean nothing. The trick is to get players that peak in college, not high school.

    Give this guy a chance, just like all the other recruits. Maybe he turns into another Russell Westbrook. Remember him? A lowly ranked recruit for basketball that turned into a gem.

  • Anonymous

    Really above poster? rankings mean nothing? I suppose that’s why the Alabamas, Ohio States and USCs out there consistenly win with the zero star talent they recruit.

  • BRUINBEATCH

    Wow it just Sickens me some times to read these negative ass comments on here day in and day out! I assume or just hope that the “anonymous” sign on is a sign that it is not the BRUIN NATION acting so classless yet some foe down the road.GO BRUINS!

  • INawe

    Hey Anon@10:09 – I think you mean Boise State. ;) herp derp troll.

  • captainqtp

    I think Neu was waiting on the new OC to offer on this. He probably wanted to make sure that Johnson was seeing the same things he was in this Manfro kid. I’m guessing he offered after Johnson approved of the choice. Therefore, I’m not too worried about the star count.

  • Anonymous

    Hey INawe. My hat goes off to Boise St. but please don’t act like the exceptions are the norms.

  • Star Gazing Reality

    Will ya stop already with slamming this poor kid!!!
    High School star ratings don’t always portend college greatness.

    To wit…

    High School Ratings for 2009 All Americans

    First Team
    5 Star = (6 players)23.1%
    4 Star = (12 players)46.2%
    3 Star = (3 players)11.5%
    2 Star = (3 players)11.5%
    NR = (2 players) 7.7%

    Second Team
    5 Star = (6 players)23.1%
    4 Star = (4 players)15.4%
    3 Star = (6 players)23.1%
    2 Star = (6 players)23.1%
    NR = (4 players)15.4%

    2009 Third Team
    5 Star = (4 players)15.4%
    4 Star = (6 players)23.1%
    3 Star = (5 players)19.2%
    2 Star = (6 players)23.1%
    NR = (5 players) 19.2%

    One would think that more than 16 5-Star H.S. athletes would be All-Americans (20.5%) in one year.

    And who would know that of the 26 players with a 2 star or NR (33.3%), 8 were underclassmen.

    One can never quite tell how much talent lies with those late blooming, lower/no star HS players.

    Put it away and remember that Milton Knox was a 4-star and couldn’t break through…

    Just sayin’

  • Anonymous

    No one here is slamming Manfro, at least I’m not. I’m just tired of everyone here making every 2-3 star recruit out the be the next diamond in the rough. It’s this sort of delusional attitude that turns a program into a state that it’s in today.

  • Anonymous

    Anon12:34pm

    Amen!!! Couldn’t agree more. It’s like people here expects him to put up the same numbers at UCLA.

    To Star Gazing,

    Your all-american stats (percentage) is flawed. 16 out of 78 in 2009 were 5-stars. That’s 20.5%. However, there are much fewer 5-stars than 2-stars or NR. Scout.com gives it to top 50 players a year while Rivals.com gives it to top 25 players. There are thousands of 2-stars and NR in a given HS class.

    Also, you mentioned that of the 26 2-star and NR, 8 were underclassmen. So that means 18 were upperclassmen. 18!!! Many 5-stars don’t even become upperclassmen. They’re already playing on Sundays. That further decrease the # of 5-stars on the all-american teams in a given year.

    If you strictly compare 5-stars to 5-stars and 2-stars to 2-stars, a much higher % of 5-stars made the teams than 2-stars.

    So, while star ranking we all know it’s very subjective, to say that rankings don’t mean anything is just false. Give me a bunch of 5-stars over NR any day.

    Just saying…

  • Anonymous

    Remember all those 2-star OLs Karl Dorrell brought into the program. How did they worked out for us? He brought in a 5-star QB to be protected by a bunch of pop warner OLs.

    I liked Ben Olson but what was he thinking coming to UCLA with that kind of protection. Now, I’m not blaming his career ending injuries on the OL but still… he could’ve been something awesome. Much rather watch him on Sundays than a bunch of trojans.

  • Anonymous

    Its sad to say but I agree with the other poster who thinks it has to do with race. The speed and production is there in a strong la league. I think that’s why he’s only a 2 star because he’s a white rb. Remember gehart broke the CA rushing record and only got 3 stars.

  • Anonymous

    Am I taking crazy pills here?!?! Why is it that everyone thinks out of the thousands of 0-2 star athletes, UCLA just happens to recruit every single diamond in the rough!? yarghhhh!!

  • Anonymous

    Because out of thousands of 1-star, we get a Taylor Embree aka Stone Hands. And out of thousands of NR, we get a Rick Neuheisel walk-on Rose Bowl MVP. And now, between 2-stars Manfro and Jerry Neuheisel, we’re hoping one of them will turn out to be a diamond, while the other is just rough.

  • Yeehawbruin

    Hundley to Manfro!!! TouchDown UCLA!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe. But if you had seen the UA game, “Hundley to Blackmon!!! Touchdown UCLA!!!!!!!!” sounds much better.

  • bruin03

    Manfro lives in my neighborhood, though I have never had the pleasure of meeting him. Foothill League play is intense, and this kid is the real deal. He played at the same high school that gave UCLA Manny White. He beat virtually every league rushing record (including Manny’s), he is an upstanding guy, and he was under-recruited despite his prolific production. So now we have a kid at his dream school, who has already shown he can get it done, and has a chip on his shoulder to show the collegiate scouts they screwed up when they didn’t give him his props. The other thing missing from everyone’s analysis is that he is an outstanding kick returner. His impact might be felt sooner in that department than it will be out of the backfield. He might be off fans’ radar right now, but it will not last for long!

  • Anonymous

    This kid had better stats, had a faster 40 time and moves like no other but do to the fact that he is WHITE he got no love or recognition. Show’em what you got MANFRO!! Go Vikings!!!

  • Anonymous

    I watched this MAN-FRO throughout is HS career,including Shane Vareen’s.
    Manfro has a great following and is a Great kid and great back that did not get the LOVE by the critics.
    He definitly has something to prove and I hope he can beat my TROJANS…Sorry,in the blood. Hell, the school has a building in my name ….
    I will be looking forward to MANFRO and the crazy LT BLUE FRO wigs that will be in the stands. Thanks,Bovard