- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Quarterback Conner Manning (El Toro, Calif./El Toro) knew a commitment to Utah could be in the cards before his unofficial visit this weekend. On Tuesday, it became a reality.
Manning, who broke Matt Barkley's Orange County (Calif.) record for passing yards in a single season last year, received his first FBS offer from the Utes earlier this summer and said he couldn't pass up the opportunity to commit.
"I took a tour all day Monday and met all the coaches," Manning said. "I loved it right away. I felt like this is a place where I can spend the next five years."
Manning said he hit it off with new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson, who turned 25 earlier this year.
"Coach Johnson is a really good guy and knows what he's doing even though he's really young," Manning said. "He's a great coach and I'm really excited to work with him."
In fact, it was the relationship he was able to build with the entire coaching staff that made it such an easy decision for Manning.
"It was the coaches and the relationships they have with the players," Manning said. "When I met them, I just knew."
Quarterback recruiting in the Pac-12 continues to fall into place, as Manning's commitment means only Oregon and Oregon State have yet to receive a verbal commitment from a signal caller in this class. During his junior season, in which Manning led his team to a 12-2 record, he threw for 4,219 yards and 41 touchdowns. Manning was named the quarterback MVP of the Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp and worked hard this spring and summer to earn an offer from a BCS school. In the aftermath of his decision, he said it was worth the work.
"I'm truly blessed to have this opportunity to be a Pac-12 quarterback," Manning said. "I'm going to make the most of it. I'm very excited to commit to Utah."