A likeness of Maryland quarterback Mark Manges signals a touchdown and stares out at the campus from several billboards on the fringes of the university.
The real Mark Manges occasionally wonders if his view of college isn't as limited as that of his paint and plasterboard lookalike.
"I know there's more to college life than what I've seen," said Manges, the only student on campus who has seen his face on the cover of Sports Illustrated and in recent television ticket commercials.
"There's a pretty big gap between the team and the student body," said Manges, a senior. "We (football players) live together, eat together. The only faces I see are players."
"Freshman football changed things for me. Before I went to one day of class, all of a sudden I realized tha football was it. College life went into the background. Academic life never even emerged.
"The one thing important to me is quarterbacking. Football rules my whole year. My view of what a student is doing is not what I'm doing."
Manges' reservations are common in most major football programs across the country.
Maryland football players, required to live on the seventh and eighth floors of an all-male dormitory, are bound by an 11 p.m. curfew every day during the football season, with the exception of game nights, when they may stay out until 2 a.m. or nights before games, when the curfew may be earlier.
They are allowed no alcoholic beverages or female visitors in their rooms throughout the year. Manges noted that he attended Maryland for three years before his mother saw the room where he lived.
Manges recently allowed a reporter to spend a day with him and observe the routine of a modern college football star.
Dressed in cutoff blue jeans, thongs and a Stroh's beer tee-shirt, Manges began this day with a 20-minute walk to an accounting class. When the professor started diagramming a homework problem over 15 yards of blackboard. Manges lost interest way short of a first down. He had not attended the previous class and was unfamiliar with the accounting terms - assets, capital and the like. He turned to the sports page of the school paper.
"I think I'd get a lot better grades if I wasn't on the football team. I always wanted to go to law school. Now law school looks far-fetched with a 2.65 grade average.
"If pro football doesn't work out. I will probably be a real estate agent for my father."
Although Manges is being touted as a Heisman Trophy candidate (an aspiration he says could be "far-fetched"), he makes no attempt to create a false image. He will comply with coaches' occasional requests to temper his comments, but the real temperManges slips through and is well.
"When we were making the Maryland highlight film, they asked me to comment on the academics," said Manges. "So I talked about the great academic community and the access to the libraries on campus and in Washington, and when the team saw it, they roared. No one has ever seen me in a library."
After a morning class, Manges usually rests for a few hours and either reads (he's devoured "Gone With the Wind" nine times) or watches television ("Happy Days" and "The Gong Show" are among his favorites).
On this day, he attended a press conference before the 3:30 practice. The student who earlier had sat disinterestedly in class reading the paper sat at a desk amidst a group of pad-and-paper-bearing adults, answering questions, seeminly conducting a class of his own.
Between television interviews, a cheerleader passed by and Manges spoke to her for a moment. Manges, with coarse wavy hair and a hint of a blond mustache, is ruggedly handsome and seems able to charm coeds in much the same manner he impresses reporters with his refreshing candidness.
He claims, however, that his football stardom can actually be a deterrent to establishing the kind of relationships he's interested in.
"There are thousands of women on this campus," Manges said, "and some of them are so gushing and sweet they make you sick. Others are actually turned off by the fact that you're a football player, because they know you have that curfew.
"I was talking to a girl when I was a sophomore and as soon as she found out I was a football player, she left. We have 11 o'clock curfew and it's considered uncool for girls to show up at a mixer or a tavern before 10:15."
Manges feels that the male students on campus have a pretty healthy view of him.
"I've gotten a pretty good reception from the guys," said Manges. "They're less susceptible to stereotyping us. They know what we do, what we go through. Some of us they like and some of us they don't.
"They don't treat us special. I have to pay $1.50 for the screwdrivers I drink, just like anybody else. The day of the athlete getting handled just by tossing his hat on the couch and being there is over. There are the fans, but people are pretty much out of that star-struck look.
"Around campus, there still is a look I get - kind of like a stare. To know you're noticed in a crowd of 2,000 people, you realize everything you do is on display, antthing you do will not be missed. Your privacy deteriorates."
Manges has no regrets about attending Maryland. He has wanted to go there since ninth grade, when he attended basketball campus on campus. Basketball is still a scret love of Manges', and he fantasizes about suiting up for the ACC tournament.
He is considered a solid professional football prospect, but his goal "is to have a lot of friends and a good life."
And soon to see a bit more ofboth.