The recruitment of top-notch quarterback Ark Manning captured the attention of American football for years to come—a rare clash of talent, pedigree, and opportunity.
Manning ended the affair on Thursday afternoon by heading to Texas for suitors that included Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Virginia.
Although Manning has long been considered the best player in the 2023 class, the family remained committed to keeping his set as low-key as possible. His Instagram is private and he has not been an active participant in name, image and likeness opportunities. But it was still difficult, given the family’s lineage and the extent to which his decision could affect the fate of the program.
Manning even used his first tweet to make an announcement, on a verified Twitter account with a bio that simply says “high school student.”
— Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
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 a star quarterback at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, with 5,731 yards and 72 touchdowns in his first three years of high school football, and has been considered a prospect since high school.
Every bit of news about a quarterback had a significant impact on the recruiting universe. The commitment of Manning’s high school teammate and close friend, three-star tight end Will Randle, generated interest as it represented a potential leader in what Manning could draw on.
His commitment to Texas represents both the Arch of Manning forging his own path and possibly reconnecting with the roots of the SEC family. The Manning family has strong ties in Ole Miss and Tennessee, and Arch Manning could end up being the SEC’s liaison as he could be the starting Texas quarterback in 2025, when the Longhorns are due to make their conference debut.
This commitment represents Texas’ first overall in the Sportzshala 300 era (since 2006) and its first quarterback to enter the top 20 since Garrett Gilbert in 2009. skilled players were expected to be interested in playing with talent like Manning.
The decision marks a big victory for Texas coach Steve Sarkisian, especially after a 5-7 rookie season in which he lost at home to the Kansas. Manning’s decision confirms that Sarkeesian is one of the best quarterback coaches in the country and that Texas is a destination for quarterbacks. Sarkisian is a Longhorn player and has coached quarterbacks such as Tua Tagovailoa, Mack Jones and Matt Leinart.
Sarkisian also served as an NFL coach twice with the Raiders and Falcons. Ark Manning’s preparation for the NFL was a major motivator as the Mannings led the hiring process.
The Manning family also forged a strong relationship with Texas quarterback coach AJ Milvey, which played a big role in the comfort of sending him to Austin.
Manning’s decision makes Texas one of the most reliable and competitive quarterback clubs in the country. The Longhorns have Ohio State transfer Quinn Evers, considered by many to be the best quarterback in the Class of 2021. They also have talented quarterbacks in Malik Murphy, an Sportzshala 300 rookie in the Class of 2022, and Hudson Card, who was #1 on Sportzshala. 2 rookie quarterbacks in the Class of 2020.
How good is Manning? One coach who hired him told Sportzshala that he would probably still be the No. 1 player in his class if his last name was different from Manning.
“He has a big hand,” the coach said. “He is much more mobile than everyone thinks. He’s not like Manning, who can’t move. He can get out of trouble. He is not a statue in his pocket.
“He is a typical kid who sees the pitch well. He’s not going to make bad decisions and he’s not going to make a bad game worse, but he’s going to really lead the attack.”
Manning has developed a reputation as a gym geek who loves football. The biggest blow for him is the level of competition in high school, as there will be a steep adjustment in college. But the coaches who hired Manning were amazed by his work ethic as he went into detail.
“What impressed me is that he lives under pressure,” the coach said. “He has to live with that pressure and deal with it all. This might be a good transition for him. He did this his entire high school career. No stage is too big.”
And for Texas, that commitment gives the Longhorns an outstanding player to build on their path to the SEC. Texas lost 40-21 in Arkansas last year, a barometer of how far a program needs to go to compete with the middle group in the conference.