This is a playful game of words, matching an Edison High football legend and another in the making Monday in the campus weight room.
Senior quarterback Khari McGee swings first: "My goal is to beat every one of Ricky Manning's (school) records."
They are gaudy, featuring 8,010 yards of total offense and 105 touchdowns (passing, rushing, kick returns) from 1996-98.
Manning, the Tigers' new coach and former quarterback/safety sensation, responds later: "He might destroy those numbers this year, especially with the receivers we have."
But then Manning is pressed: Is McGee -- the Central Section's premier player on The Bee's preseason No. 1-ranked team -- better than you were?
The former six-year NFL defensive back digs in while never losing a wide smile: "Nah, nah. I played both ways. I was not only a quarterback who ran and passed, I made 80 or 90 tackles and knocked people out as well."
Manning then pauses, sheds pride and narrows the emphasis: "But straight as a quarterback? He has a real good chance. He's pretty special."
McGee's first name is pronounced Kie-REE, rhymes with RG3 -- and there's more. While no one is predicting McGee will win a Heisman Trophy in college, he is evoking comparisons to the quarterback who did just that last season at Baylor.
Robert Griffin is a 6-foot-2, 217-pounder who has transferred his extraordinary passing and running skills to the Washington Redskins.
Khari McGee is a 6-31/2, 204-pounder with a growing reputation in the same departments.
Combining a powerful right arm with 4.45-second speed over 40 yards, he introduced his gifts on Edison's varsity as a sophomore before exploding last year. He passed for 2,529 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 633 and nine as a Bee All-Star for a Tigers team that won the County/Metro Athletic Conference at 5-0, went 10-2 overall and reached the section Division I semifinals.
His performance in a 52-50 come-from-behind CMAC win over eventual D-I runner-up Bullard is now carved in section quarterback lore: 327 yards, five touchdowns and five conversions passing, and 125 yards and a TD rushing.
"I've talked with college coaches," Manning says, "and they say Khari has what these college and NFL teams are going to -- the true quarterback who can run and throw, the RG3s and Cam Newtons, the great arms but with the X factor of running ability.
"Khari's a golden boy. The physical aspect is so positive, and I like his head, the Eli Manning approach -- even keel, not too high, not too low."
Bruin blue, too?
Manning, honoring his alma mater, is sporting UCLA blue shorts and shirt: "Just today. I wanted to look like an official recruiter at practice because when scouts are here (the players) turn it up."
McGee wants to become a Bruin, also, and it has nothing to do with the fact Manning played both football and baseball for the college.
McGee's mother, Chelewa McGee, received some recruiting attention from UCLA before starring for Fresno City in the late '90s.
"Plus my favorite color is blue," the son says, "so I fell in love in UCLA."
Arizona, Oregon State, Utah, San Jose State and Eastern Washington have offered McGee scholarships, he says. The Bruins have not, but communication is ongoing between McGee, Manning and new coach Jim Mora's staff in Westwood.
McGee, like Manning, would also like to pull the rare college double of playing football and baseball. The pitcher/center fielder helped Edison win the section D-II baseball title three months ago.
Manning is encouraging the idea for the pitcher with a 90-mph fastball: "Why not? Go for it. If you don't, you'll never know." Also ...