The signing of top-notch quarterback Arch Manning, a rare collision of talent, pedigree and possibility, has captivated college football for years.
Manning ended the storyline Thursday afternoon, committing to Texas over contenders that included Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Virginia.
While Manning has long been considered the best player of the Class of 2023, the family has remained determined to try to keep his recruitment as low-key as possible. His Instagram is private and he has not actively participated in name, image and likeness opportunities. But it’s always been difficult, given the family’s pedigree and how much influence their decision has on a program’s fortunes.
Manning even used his first tweet to make the announcement, on a verified Twitter account with a bio that simply says “high school student.”
— Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian also reacted to Manning’s announcement, first retweeting his new quarterback signing and then writing, “All gas, no brakes!!!” in a follow-up article.
Manning is a nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning, a grandson of Archie Manning and son of former catcher Ole Miss Cooper Manning. He’s the star quarterback for 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 college.
Any news about the quarterback has had a huge impact on the recruiting universe. The commitment of Manning’s teammate and close friend in high school, three-star tight end Will Randle, sparked interest as he represented an indicator of where Manning might be leaning.
His commitment to Texas represents both Arch Manning forging his own path and perhaps reconnecting with the family’s SEC roots. The Manning family has strong ties to Ole Miss and Tennessee, and Arch Manning could become an SEC tie as he could be Texas’ starting quarterback in 2025, when the Longhorns are slated to make their conference debut.
The commitment represents Texas’ first No. 1 overall rookie 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 piece for its recruiting class of 2023, with talented players expecting to be attracted to a talent such as Manning.
The decision marks a massive win for Sarkisian, especially after a 5-7 first season that included a home loss to Kansas. Manning’s decision reaffirms Sarkisian as one of the nation’s top quarterback tutors and Texas as a quarterback destination. Sarkisian is the Longhorns’ playcaller and has coached quarterbacks such as Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Matt Leinart.
Sarkisian also had two stints as an NFL coach, with the Raiders and the Falcons. Arch Manning’s preparation for the NFL was one of the Mannings’ main motivations in the recruiting process.
The Manning family also established a strong relationship with Texas quarterback coach AJ Milwee, who played a big role in the comfort level of sending him to Austin.
Manning’s move gives Texas one of the most robust and competitive quarterback rooms in the nation. The Longhorns have Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers, who was widely considered the best quarterback of the 2021 promotion. They also have talented quarterbacks in Maalik Murphy, an ESPN 300 rookie in the promotion. 2022, and Hudson Card, who was ESPN’s number one. 2 quarterback rookie in the class of 2020.
How good is Manning? A coach who recruited him told ESPN he would likely still be the No. 1 player in his class if his last name was anything other than Manning.
“He has 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 his pocket. He played at basketball and can dunk.
“He’s a prototypical kid who sees the pitch well. He won’t make bad decisions and escalate bad plays and really lead the attack.”
Manning developed a reputation as a football-loving gym rat. The biggest knock on him is the level of competition in high school, as there will be a steep adjustment in college. But the coaches who recruited Manning were blown away by his work ethic, as he embraced the details.
“What impressed me was that he lives with pressure,” the coach said. “He has to live with that pressure and deal with all of that. It can be a good transition for him. He’s done it his whole career in high school. No scene will be too big.”
And for Texas, the commitment gives the Longhorns a marquee player to build around for their journey to the SEC. Texas was beaten 40-21 at Arkansas last year – a barometer of how far the program needs to go to compete with the middle of the pack in the conference.