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Utah football receives commitment from Penn State grad transfer linebacker Manny Bowen

Utah’s linebacking crew will be getting a boost next season in the form of a graduate transfer.

Manny Bowen, who started 21 games at Penn State from 2015-17, announced via Twitter on Wednesday he will play at Utah next season and is set to receive his undergraduate degree in communications media effects from Penn State in December.

“My eyes are focused on the road ahead of me,” Bowen shared in a statement on Twitter. “I am thankful for these experiences that have allowed me to grow and shape me in many different ways.”

Utah announced the addition Wednesday, indicating that since Bowen is a grad transfer he can sign a financial aid agreement prior to the early signing period for football, which begins on Dec. 19. Bowen has one season of eligibility remaining.

In late August, Bowen announced via a statement he would no longer be with the Penn State program.

"After long thought and consideration I will not be returning to the football program for this upcoming season," Bowen wrote, according to Penn Live. "Ultimately I have decided that it is best for me to focus on academics full time this semester to accomplish graduating and receiving my degree."

This came after Bowen was reinstated to the team earlier in the month, Penn Live reported.

"I want to thank my teammates, Coach (James) Franklin, and his staff for all their support. I love you guys! Finishing here with a Penn State degree is going to mean a lot to me. I will be working hard to achieve my goals as well as searching for the next best opportunity for me," Bowen's statement continued.

At the time, Penn State's coach shared his support and encouragement for Bowen.

"Once again, it's like a lot of things that come out and become public. No. 1, we love Manny," Franklin told Penn Live. "We want nothing but success for him and his future. I think Manny has a very, very bright future. But for us, we had been kind of working, you know, with this, anyway."

According to Penn Live, Bowen had been suspended for the 2016 Rose Bowl — Penn State lost a 52-49 thriller to USC — and again in 2017 for the final three regular-season games before getting kicked off the team prior to the Fiesta Bowl that year.

Bowen announced in October he would be seeking to play somewhere else as a graduate transfer.

"Officially announcing that I will be transferring upon graduation in December. I am open to all options in the process of searching for a new University. Excited for a new place to call home," he wrote on Twitter.

Bowen played in 35 games for the Nittany Lions from 2015-17 and had 134 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks during his time at Penn State. His best season came in 2016 when he started 12 games and had 68 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

The 6-foot-2, 231-pound linebacker was a consensus four-star recruit coming out of Barnegat High School in Barnegat, N.J. He was rated the 14th-best linebacker in the 2015 recruiting class by ESPN.

He will join a Utah linebacking group that will have to replace starters Chase Hansen and Cody Barton but will return current backups Donovan Thompson and Francis Bernard, as well as Bryant Pirtle, Devin Lloyd, Sione Lund, Moroni Anae, Chris Hart and Andrew Mata'afa among others.

“I am more than excited for the opportunities that have come my way. Nothing left to say, let’s get after it. #GoUtes,” Bowen said on Twitter.