Jeffrey Manning has long heard about the atmosphere and the coaching staff at California from his two friends -- Bears commits Taariq Johnson and Jeremiah Hawkins -- but on Saturday, he got to see it for himself. Did it live up to expectations?
"Oh yes," he said. "Nothing short. They just told me how it was a great atmosphere up there, and I went to experience it for myself."
Manning came up with his uncle -- his parents couldn't make the trip -- and spent three and a half hours on campus getting to know the program and the defensive staff, speaking with both safeties coach Greg Burns and cornerbacks coach John Lovett. While Manning is listed as an athlete -- last season, he rushed 11 times for 80 yards, caught 29 balls for 311 yards -- Cal has a specific plan for him.
"I can move around and play both [safety and corner] but they see me more at a safety position," Manning said.
Manning has the look of a sprinter, so it’s no surprise that, on Sunday, he moved remarkably well through his backpedal and seemed comfortable in coverage drills, too. That's what stuck out about Manning to us at The Opening Regional, but what stuck out to him about Cal?
"The great hospitality from the entire staff and their passion for academics, which is always important when going to the next level," said Manning.
Right now, Manning has a 2.9 GPA, and hasn't pulled down a Cal offer yet, but it's one he's hunting for. The Bears want him to finish his school year strong, and make sure he "can handle being recruited, as well as focus in school."