SALT LAKE CITY — Record-setting Southern California high school quarterback Conner Manning, who signed with Utah in February, attended Saturday’s scrimmage at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“I just wanted to watch practice to see what they’re doing in the spring and try to learn some stuff so I come in ready,” Manning said. “I think everyone wants to come in and compete. That’s how I’m looking at it. Whatever role I have on this team, I’m going to do my best at it.”
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior at El Toro High School is getting antsy about getting his college career started. He’ll join the Utes for summer conditioning in June.
“I wish I was out there,” said Manning, who added that he's eager to compete. “I’m very, very excited to get out here.”
In the meantime, Manning is bulking up in the weight room and focusing on his future at Utah. He completed his prep career with 9,449 passing yards and 88 touchdowns.
Manning broke former USC quarterback Matt Barkley’s single-season Orange County passing record with 4,219 yards in 2011. As a senior, Manning set another county mark by throwing for 613 yards in a game.
Utah’s hiring of Dennis Erickson has added to Manning's enthusiasm of playing at the next level in the Pac-12.
“The way he loves to play, that’s my game,” Manning said. “So I’m really excited with what he’s bringing here.”
Manning sat in on the quarterback meeting on Friday. He’s expected to compete with Travis Wilson, Adam Schulz, Brandon Cox and Micah Thomas in fall camp.
LOOKING AHEAD: Utah closes out spring ball with two practices next week and the Spring Game on Saturday.
“We’ve got one more week left,” Wilson said. “So we’ve just to make sure we finish strong and make sure we clean up everything we’ve made mistakes on.”
Co-offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said that the Utes are right on schedule.
“We’ve had a solid spring — 12 good practices,” he said.
The plan now, he added, is to follow the last three practices with a great summer and then hit fall camp running.
NBA FORECAST: Johnson also knows a thing or two about the NBA. He follows the league quite closely in his spare time.
When asked if the Utah Jazz would make the playoffs, Johnson offered a positive prediction.
“With Kobe’s injury, I would think so,” he said before adding a twist. “But it’s all for not because Miami is going to win the championship. So it really doesn’t matter.”
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