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Insider

Utes target their quarterback

While quarterback commitments have come at a rapid pace throughout much of the Pac-12 conference, a few programs have taken their time with the position. Utah -- one of the few conference schools without a quarterback in its 2013 class -- made a move Tuesday night, extending an offer to Conner Manning (El Toro, Calif./El Toro).

With so many terrific quarterbacks from Southern California, Manning is the surprise answer to the question: Which Orange County (Calif.) quarterback holds the record for passing yards in one season? Last season, Manning didn't just break Matt Barkley's record of 3,560 yards, set in 2007. He shattered it, as he completed 62 percent of his throws for 4,219 yards and 41 touchdowns.

At 6-foot-2 and 194 pounds, college coaches have been hesitant to offer the quarterback, despite those prolific numbers. But Utah passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Aaron Roderick visited Manning this spring and returned a second time with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson. The two saw enough in Manning to extend an offer.

"I'm extremely honored for the opportunity," Manning said. "It's an awesome feeling to get that first offer -- and not only just an offer, but one from a Pac-12, big time school."

Manning said he is fairly familiar with the Utah offense, but is looking forward to familiarizing himself with the university, program and coaching staff. He will visit Utah later this month and if everything falls into place, a commitment could follow.

"I'm really interested in this university," he said. "I want to go see the community and I'm really interested in what the university has in store."

Interest has increased in Manning from several schools and he said San Diego State has been in touch recently. But the early offer from Utah could make the Utes tough to beat in this race.

"I really like their coach and I have a good relationship with him," Manning said of Utah. "That's one of the main reasons why I like Utah so much. I really respect their coach."