Profile: Jeffrey Manning
Location: Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral
Recruiting: Chose UCLA from 17 offers, including a handful of Pac-12 schools as well as Boise State and BYU.
The Scouting Report: The first thing that comes to mind with Manning is position versatility. UCLA's secondary coach, Demetrice Martin, has been preaching that since he took over the defensive backfield in the 2012 season and he's recruited that way since he was hired- finding guys that can play 2-3 different spots in the secondary. The days of just getting a boundary corner or strictly a free safety have been gone for a while- Martin wants guys who can play corner and safety, safety and nickel or corner and nickel, and covets players able to do all three. Enter Manning, who was stellar all spring and showed he's capable of doing so. We saw Manning no less than a half-dozen times this spring at various events, camps and 7v7 tournaments and he flashed each time we saw him, so it's not limited to one event- there were numerous events where Manning was one of the better DBs there. And he'd play different spots each time. He has a frame that could keep him at corner, but a move to safety isn't out of the equation if he puts more weight on. He's a fluid athlete, can cover and is real instinctual. At 6-1, 190, he's a physical kid- at Players of the Future, which had Martin there coaching, he was real impressive, constantly jamming his receiver at the line of scrimmage and quickly taking him out of the play. He's also got very good ball skills, reading the quarterback without being too risky, but gets good breaks on the ball. The one thing he'll need to work on, though, is that too often he goes for the instant jam so if a receiver makes a quick move off the line of scrimmage, Manning can get caught flat-footed and the receiver gets by him. He has good recovery speed, but in college, it will be more difficult to pull that off, especially against quicker, older receivers.
Overall Analysis: Manning wanted a UCLA offered badly and made it very clear that an offer from the Bruins would be big for him, since they were his dream school. Initially, he was told to go to UCLA's Elite Camp, but he instead worked at two satellite camps where Martin was coaching and impressed him both times and didn't have to wait until the Elite Camp to get the offer. UCLA offered him in mid-June and the next week he committed to his childhood favorite. Like Jaelan Phillips, he's a lifelong Bruin fan so there won't be much drama around his recruitment. He's 100% solid to UCLA and won't take visits anywhere else. He's also now at Cathedral, where UCLA has already lost a commitment from Rhedi Short and has a verbal from Hunter Echols; Manning said when he moved to Cathedral that he and Echols would start recruiting other players together, and Manning could make sure Echols stays on board till the end (Echols is another lifelong UCLA fan who committed to the Bruins early but who enjoys the recruiting process). Manning is a big pickup because, with the move to Cathedral, he was really poised to see his recruitment take off to an even higher level than it already did in the spring. He entered May with one offer, from an FCS program, and ended up with 17 offers when he committed, so his stock was already soaring, and that was when he was at Bellflower. So UCLA got him on board quickly after they offered and can utilize him as a recruiter. And on the field, Manning brings that position versatility that UCLA wants. In a year the Bruins are in it for so many elite corners, Manning could end up at a number of different spots depending on how UCLA's secondary class shakes out.