Unless you're an opposing defensive coordinator, watching quarterback Conner Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) lead the Chargers passing attack is a joy.
Matt Barkley might be the most recent big-name quarterback to come out of California's Orange County, but he no longer holds the record for most passing yards in a single season. The 3,560-yard mark he set as a junior in 2007 was shattered last year by Manning, as the 6-foot-2, 194-pound quarterback threw for 4,219 yards and 41 touchdowns. He had seven games with 300 or more yards, including five of the final six games of the season.
Recruiting began slowly for Manning, but it picked up during the spring and he could now be on the verge of his first FBS offer.
"I feel really good with Utah," Manning said. "I've been talking to them a lot and we have a good relationship. So far that's the best one we've been going with."
Schools such as Hawaii, Oregon State, Wisconsin and Colorado have shown interest in Manning and he said schools from the Pac-12, Mountain West and WAC have all maintained varying levels of communication. Notre Dame was his dream school growing up, although he concedes that will likely remain a dream. He said the goal now is to play in the Pac-12.
Manning said he is considering scheduling a visit to Utah after his summer ball is finished. But until that happens, he'll have plenty more throws to make in state. El Toro's wide open offense is a perfect match for the 7-on-7 tournaments that have become so popular. After an early win at the Dana Hills Nike Airstrike on Saturday, Manning walked off the field with a grin.
"This is what I live for," he said after throwing the ball all over the field. "This is what I do."