College Football Recruiting: Utah Utes Get Commitment From Conner Manning

By Tyler Brett

College football recruiting for the 2013 class continues to march on as the Utah Utes have gotten a verbal commitment from quarterback Conner Manning of El Toro, California. Utah was able to sell the young quarterback prospect on the school by quickly building a relationship between their coaching staff and the QB. Manning has worked his tail off for the opportunity to play for a BCS school and quickly jumped at the chance to become a Ute.

Manning set himself for a big recruitment with a strong junior season in 2011 in which he broke Matt Barkley‘s Orange County record for passing yards in a single season. He led his team to a 12-2 record, throwing for 4,219 yards and 41 touchdowns. Manning was named the quarterback MVP of the Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp and carried his hard work over into the spring and summer in order to secure a scholarship offer from a BCS school. Utah was the first FBS team to offer a scholarship to Manning, and all it took was a single visit to push the recruit over the top on the program.

One of the key factors in Manning’s recruitment was the relationship and trust he quickly built with the coaching staff, and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson in particular. Johnson, who just turned 25 earlier this year, made a strong impression on Manning who called him a “great coach” despite the fact that “he’s really young.” Johnson’s youth aside, the entire coaching staff made a lasting impression on Manning to the point that the quarterback “just knew” after meeting them and seeing the relationships they had built with the Utah players.

With Manning verbally committing to Utah, it leaves just Oregon and Oregon State in the Pac-12 without a quarterback committed for the 2013 class. More importantly for Utah, it gives them a signal caller who can continue the Utes’ rise towards becoming a consistent conference threat as they grow into their BCS britches. And if Manning can top Barkley in college as he did in high school, the Utes will be in excellent shape to do so.

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