Culture / Sporting Life

Joseph Manjack Feels Houston Works Even Harder Than National Power USC — Former Trojan Loves The Third Ward Sweat Culture

Starting at Wide Receiver For The Cougars, Mr. Excitable

BY // 09.01.23

Joseph Manjack IV found himself near greatness early. As a freshman at USC, he watched Drake London dominate before going on to become the No. 8 overall pick in the NFL Draft, the first receiver chosen. And after transferring back home to the University of Houston, Manjack became fascinated with Tank Dell, the little receiver who made as many big plays as the prototypical 6-foot-4 London without the same overwhelming physical advantages.

Manjack suddenly started to understand just how much hard work could overcome. What an equalizer it could be.

“The way these guys work in the building as far as my teammates and coaches and strength coaches — everybody works their tail off every single day,” Manjack tells PaperCity. “So I’d say they work harder than we did at USC.

“And I love it. I’m all for it.”

Of course, USC’s national championship contender of a program is on a whole other college football stratosphere from a Houston program entering its first season in the Power 5 Big 12. But don’t try and tell Manjack that USC is the better place to be. He’s found himself among the hard work bunch in The Third Ward. So much so that this 6-foot-3 sophomore is a locked in as a starter — along with all-world talent Matthew Golden — at wide receiver, a position group that must make a super impact for Dana Holgorsen’s UH team to surprise.

When Houston takes the field against UTSA at TDECU Stadium on Saturday night, wearing its new baby blue alternate uniforms that pay homage to the Houston Oilers, Manjack will be the one in No. 0. The one who looks like caffeine come to life in human form.

“Manjack — he’s a little crazy,” Golden tells PaperCity. “He’ll be getting everyone pumped up. He’ll get the ball boy hyped.”

To Joseph Manjack IV, that is the only way to be. There is no Off switch when you’re having the time of your life.

“Being competitive is something that everybody has inside of them,” he says. “And for me, I use it to try and get my teammates better.”

“The way these guys work in the building as far as my teammates and coaches and strength coaches — everybody works their tail off every single day. So I’d say they work harder than we did at USC.” — UH receiver Joseph Manjack

University of Houston Cougars lost to the Kansas Jayhawks in NCAA college football, Saturday at TDECU Stadium
University of Houston receiver Joseph Manjack IV yearns to make plays. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)

Grabbing the UH Moment

Joseph Manjack isn’t a Drake London. Or a Tank Dell. Or a Matthew Golden. He was just a three star recruit coming out of Tomball Memorial. But that does not mean he cannot make a major impact in the passing game. Manjack is poised to emerge as one of the prime targets for new starting quarterback Donovan Smith. He long ago convinced University of Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen of his worth — and underrated talent.

“Manjack has had probably the most solid consistent camp that we’ve had on offense,” Holgorsen says. “That’s saying something. He is a workaholic. He lines up and plays hard every play. He’s improved his body.

“He’s turned into a pretty good player. I’m really excited about him.”

Of course, Manjack is even more excited. Because he’s always excited. Like a teenager who landed tickets to a Taylor Swift concert seconds before finding out she won homecoming queen excited. Still, Manjack is not setting numbers goals for himself this season, things he watched London and Dell both do to great success.

“I just give every single play, every single rep, every single thing that we do — I give my absolute best,” Manjack says. “I don’t set any goals. Because if I say I want 1,000 yards and don’t get it, I’ll be upset. And if I do get it, I’ll be satisfied. I don’t set no goals.

“I just want to win football games. That’s the only thing that matters at the end of the day.”

Well that and making sure the texts he gets from Dell, who will be making plays only six miles away at NRG Stadium this fall, are positive. Manjack knows there is a wide receiver tradition growing at Houston and he wants to be part of it. One of the guys who’s remembered for keeping it going.

“Watching Tank Dell every single day was a pleasure,” Manjack says. “You got to see the way that he worked. My freshman year at USC, I got to see the way Drake London went about it. I got to see what all that hard work was about. Tank Dell was another epitome of that.

“If he wants to get something, he’s going to put his mind to it and go after it.”

Now Manjack is going after it, fully healthy after missing eight games last season with a broken hand. He made national headlines last year too when he got in a sideline scuffle with fellow Houston receiver Sam Brown after Brown allowed himself to be drawn into a senseless retaliation penalty that crippled an important UH drive. Holgorsen quickly noted that Manjack handled it wrong in the moment, but also declared that the passionate receiver would be a Cougar captain one day.

“I just try to be the same person every day,” Manjack says now. “Whether somebody respects it on this team or they don’t, I just try to be myself. It seems like a lot of guys on this team respect me and I appreciate that very much.”

Joseph Manjack sure seems ready for whatever comes next.


For more of Chris Baldwin’s extensive, detailed and unique insider coverage of UH sports — stories you cannot read anywhere else — bookmark this page. Follow Baldwin on Twitter here

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