Prospect Review: Utah commit Conner Manning

QB Conner Manning

It was a rough night for El Toro (Calif.) quarterback Conner Manning last Friday night when the Chargers took on a very tough and talented Mission Viejo (Calif.) squad.

El Toro came in to the game with Mission 9-0, 4-0 in league with one of the most dynamic and high powered offenses in the state. Utah commit Conner Manning has been as good as any signal caller, not just out west, but nationally as well. He had thrown for over 3,500 yards with 38 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

Manning would not only equal his season interception total in the 1st quarter, he would go on to throw six total interceptions in the game including a pick six late in the 4th quarter. His first pass of the game was picked and things didn't get much better for him the rest of the way.

In breaking down Manning, there is still a lot to like about him as a college prospect. Physically, he looks bigger and stronger and has probably put on about10 pounds since the summer. He looks all of 6-2, 210 pounds and his arm strength has improved as well.

Manning may have the quickest release of any quarterback in the state and he throws with accuracy as well. He can put great touch on his passes but has the ability to throw with heat when needed as well. He's tough and will stand in the pocket and take a hit, which was something he had to do on just about every throw against the Diablos.

Credit Mission Viejo's defense for a lot of Manning's struggles. The Diablos basically have a college level coaching staff and did a lot to disguise coverage's and got in Manning's face on just about every pass. They hit him often, talked plenty of trash and did all they could to rattle him. Manning started throwing off his back foot, rushed his throws and looked jittery.

Whereas one of Manning's biggest strengths is typically his decision making, he started throwing late and staring down his receivers, which resulted in at least four of his interceptions.

"He's a really, really good quarterback," Diablo DC Marty Michelson said after the game. "He does two things that you don't see at the high school level. One, he's very accurate, incredibly accurate. Two, he gets the ball out so quick that he's tough to get to.

"What we tried to do was give him some different looks coverage wise and then we were able to get to him and hit him later in the game. I think we rattled him a bit and we played very well but he's still a great quarterback."

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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