The drafting of top-tier quarterback Arch Manning, a rare combination of talent, pedigree and possibility, captivated college football for years.
Manning ended the intrigue Thursday afternoon, committing to Texas for suitors that included Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Virginia.
While Manning has long been considered the best player in the Class of 2023, the family remained intent on trying to keep his recruiting as low-key as possible. His Instagram is private and he has not been an active participant in name, image and likeness opportunities. But that has still been difficult, considering the family’s pedigree and the magnitude of how much his decision could influence a show’s fortunes.
Manning even used his first tweet to make the announcement, on a verified Twitter account with a bio that simply reads “high school student.”
—Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian also reacted to Manning’s announcement, first retweeting his new quarterback recruit and then writing “All Gas, No Brakes!!!in a follow-up post.
Manning is the nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning, the grandson of Archie Manning, and the son of former Ole Miss wide receiver Cooper Manning. He is the star quarterback at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, throwing for 5,731 yards and 72 touchdowns in his first three years of high school football, and has been considered a top prospect since high school. .
Any tidbit of news about the quarterback has had a significant impact on the entire recruiting universe. The engagement of Manning’s high school teammate and close friend, three-star tight end Will Randle, drew interest as it represented an indicator of where Manning might lean.
His commitment to Texas represents both Arch Manning carving out his own path and perhaps rejoining the SEC roots of the family. The Manning family has strong ties to Ole Miss and Tennessee, and Arch Manning could end up as a tie-in to the SEC, as he could be Texas’ starting quarterback in 2025, when the Longhorns make their conference debut.
The commitment represents Texas’ first No. 1 overall pick in the ESPN 300 era (since 2006) and its first top-20 ranked quarterback since Garrett Gilbert in 2009. It also gives Texas a key component to its class of 2023 draft, with skill players expected to be drawn to playing a talent like Manning.
The decision marks a huge win for Sarkisian, especially after a 5-7 debut season that included a home loss to Kansas. Manning’s decision reaffirms Sarkisian as one of the top quarterback tutors in the country and Texas as a quarterback destination. Sarkisian is the Longhorns’ playcaller and has coached quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Matt Leinart.
Sarkisian has also had two seasons as an NFL coach, with the Raiders and Falcons. Preparing Arch Manning for the NFL has been a primary motivator as the Mannings have navigated the recruiting process.
The Manning family also built a strong relationship with Texas quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee, who played a big role in the comfort level of sending him to Austin.
Manning’s decision gives Texas one of the strongest and most competitive quarterback rooms in the country. The Longhorns boast the transfer of Ohio State Quinn Ewers, who was widely considered the best quarterback in the Class of 2021. They also have talented quarterbacks in Maalik Murphy, an ESPN 300 recruit in the Class of 2022, and Hudson. Card, who was the No. 2 quarterback recruit in the Class of 2020.
How good is Manning? A coach who recruited him told ESPN that he would probably still be the No. 1 player in his class if his last name wasn’t Manning.
“He’s got a big arm,” the coach said. “He’s a lot more mobile than everyone thinks. He’s not like a Manning who can’t move. He can get out of trouble. He’s not a statue in your pocket. He played basketball and he can dunk.”
“He’s a quintessential kid who sees the field well. He’s not going to make bad decisions or make bad plays worse and he’s really going to run the offense.”
Manning has developed a reputation as a football-loving gym rat. The biggest blow to him is the level of competition in high school, as there will be a big adjustment in college. But the coaches who recruited Manning were impressed by his work ethic, as he has embraced the details.
“What has impressed me is that he lives with pressure,” said the coach. “He has to live with that pressure and deal with all of that. That can be a good transition for him. He’s been doing it his entire high school career. No stage is going to be too big.”
And for Texas, the commitment gives the Longhorns a standout player to build on in their journey to the SEC. Texas was crushed 40-21 at Arkansas last year, a barometer of how far the program must go to compete with the middle of the pack in the conference.