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Children's LiteratureThis well-illustrated biography chronologically describes Manning's gridiron career from high school quarterbacking through his first years calling plays with the Indianapolis Colts. Growing up in New Orleans where his father, Archie, played professional football for the Saints, Manning and his older brother Cooper thrilled crowds with their high school football performances. Many colleges recruited Manning. Most fans expected Manning to play for the University of Mississippi, his father's and brother's alma mater. Instead, he signed with the University of Tennessee where he thought he could best improve his skills. A disciplined player, Manning studied films of rival teams and mastered their plays. Devoted to football, he practiced more than coaches demanded. Manning played so spectacularly that he was nominated for the Heisman trophy and observers speculated he would enter the professional football draft after his junior year. He decided to stay in school and graduate. Then, the Indianapolis Colts picked Manning first in the draft. As a professional player, he continued intense preparations and set records. Peers praised him for his teamwork and perseverance despite injuries and losses. Because Manning's career is still young, future biographers will record Manning's story more completely. A glossary and bibliography provide readers information for reports, although the Colts and Tennessee's football websites are not included. Manning's statistics can be used for mathematics lessons. This biography is part of the "Benchmark All-Stars" series. 2004, Benchmark Books/Marshall Cavendish, and Ages 8 to 12.
—Elizabeth D. Schafer