Roy Exum: Arch Chooses Texas

Friday, June 24, 2022 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
The University of Texas has just landed “The Holy Grail” of college football recruiting. Arch Manning, the nation’s No. 1 prospect with perhaps the best pedigree in the revered game, announced Thursday he has committed to the Longhorns after this fall’s senior season at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans.

Not only is the 5-star Manning the No.1 rated recruit in a packed 2023 class, he is easily the most hyped schoolboy quarterback ever. And his family’s exploits, from grandfather Archie to uncles Peyton and Eli, have nothing to do with Arch’s own credentials as one of the most promising college prospects in years. Recruited by virtually every major college program, he committed yesterday after strong interest from finalists the University of Georgia – the defending NCAA champion -- and perennial favorite Alabama.

Clemson and LSU were also in the mix but young Manning's infatuation with Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is said to be the main reason Arch is headed to The Forty Acres.
Add the fact his best friend, tight end Will Randle at Isadore Newman, committed to Texas last weekend didn’t hurt matters

Going into his senior year, Manning – who is 6-feet-4 – has thrown for 6,307 yards, 81 touchdowns and has rushed for 19 more scores in three seasons. He has taken his team to the state playoffs in the past three years and is legendary in Louisiana circles. His senior year has more promise than you can imagine.

He is one of only seven prospects and three quarterbacks to ever receive a perfect 1.0000 rating in the 247Sports Composite, joining another pair of Texas signal callers in Vince Young and Quinn Ewers. Ewers, who originally signed with Ohio State, is transferring back to Texas this fall and there is some belief ‘Sark’ will redshirt Arch in his first year.

Pete Thamel, writing for ESPN, opined, “He made this decision on his own. This was his decision to make."
 
Nelson Stewart, Manning's high school coach, said, "I'm just happy he's where he needs to be. He's an 18-year-old kid. There was a lot on his shoulders. Took his time and showed a lot of maturity.

"When it comes to that family, the choice was his," said his coach, well aware the Manning family has deep roots that course through college football.

Stewart said that, from the start, the family stressed Arch Manning having an "old-school, 1970s type recruitment."

"It unfolded naturally. I'm just so proud of him," Stewart said. "Hope he can rest and enjoy his senior year with his friends and take that next step. There's a huge ceiling in front of him."

Harrison Reno of Sports Illustrated is reporting, “First, his grandfather Archie Manning, an original of his own, creative and athletic, is the complete opposite of his two boys. Second, Peyton and Eli Manning both Hall of Famers in their own right and men who have left their stamp on the history books.

“Ironically enough, Arch combines both the athletic style of his grandfather and his uncles' command for the standard pocket passing. Manning can hit throws from a variety of angles. Manning moves well in the pocket and doesn't need to set his feet to deliver an accurate ball. This isn't the Manning style of quarterback play that most professional football fans grew accustomed to. However, this is a much more dynamic athlete when it comes to extending plays with his legs and making plays outside the pocket. 

Both staffs in Athens and Austin deserve a ton of credit for the recruiting work they put in, specifically over the last 12 months writes SI’s Reno. “Coming off a 5-7 season in his inaugural season as the Texas head coach, Steve Sarkisian positioned his program to land one of the top recruits of the last decade. While a 5-7 season may not be much to sell to an elite prospect, Sarkisian, an offensive wizard, sold his long pedigree for developing NFL-level quarterbacks and coordinating potent offenses.”

Sarkisian's resume includes coaching quarterbacks like Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart, Jake Locker, and Mac Jones. His track record for developing NFL-level quarterbacks ultimately ended up being enough to convince the Manning family to choose Texas over Georgia and Alabama.

According to the “Inside Texas” website, “Manning’s commitment is likely to have reverberating effects for Texas’ 2023 recruiting efforts. Several of the top prospects in Texas, as well as other highly-touted recruits around the nation, are familiar with the type of player Manning is. His talent attracts other talent. Now, Texas will work to capitalize on adding a second Five-Star Plus+ quarterback to its roster along with 2021 quarterback Quinn Ewers.

The recruiting effect is secondary. The primary effect? Sarkisian just gained a commitment from the best 2023 prospect for a position he describes as the most important in sports. Watch for the domino effect; doubtlessly Arch’s decision will influence others who have yet to commit this summer.

This weekend there is a huge push in recruiting at the University of Texas and at the much-heralded Manning Passing Academy, a yearly fixture for upcoming talent in Thibodaux, La.

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