Arch Manning is heading to Texas.
The five-star quarterback tweeted Thursday that he was verbally committing to the Longhorns. Manning is the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning and the highest rated recruit in the high school class of 2023 according to Rivals.
Manning’s commitment to Texas is a massive win for the Longhorns and coach Steve Sarkisian. Texas was competing with Alabama and Georgia — the two teams that played for the national title in January — to secure Manning’s services. And now Manning will be the quarterback Texas fans are hoping can lead the team back into the national title chase.
Manning, the son of Manning’s older brother Cooper, has been a highly touted rookie QB since stepping onto the court for Isidore Newman in New Orleans. His recruitment over the past year was one of the most high-profile in years, as major programs from across the country vied for all his services.
Manning versus Quinn Ewers?
Manning’s likely arrival — verbal commitments aren’t binding and aren’t official until a player signs a letter of intent — is the second big QB secured for Texas in as many years. The school landed Texas native Quinn Ewers as a transfer in December after Ewers spent a season at Ohio State after skipping his senior high school football season.
Ewers was the top rookie QB in the Class of 2021 and considered the favorite to be the Longhorns’ starting quarterback in 2022 ahead of Hudson Card. As Ewers enters his second season, he and Manning are on track to be the subject of incredibly high-profile quarterback competition ahead of the 2023 season.
We got a hint that Alabama might be out of the Manning contest earlier in the spring when four-star QB Eli Holstein signed on for the Crimson Tide. Holstein is the No. 5 pro-style QB in the Class of 2023 and will likely arrive in Tuscaloosa when Bryce Young turns pro. The defending Heisman winner is entering his third season of college football in 2022 and is eligible to declare himself for the NFL Draft after the season.
Georgia, meanwhile, has Stetson Bennett back as a starting quarterback for another season and five-star rookie Brock Vandagriff waits in the wings. Vandagriff was the No. 2 pro-style QB in the Class of 2021.
Texas has been struggling since 2009
Manning is now set to join a Texas program that yearns for the glory days of the Mack Brown era. The Longhorns have won 10 games in a season just once since their 13-1 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game at the end of the 2009 season. Sarkisian is the team’s third coach since the school parted ways with Brown after the 2013 season, and the Longhorns posted only a 5-7 record in 2021.
A big reason for Texas’s struggles has been the quarterback’s inconsistent play. Four-year-old starter Sam Ehlinger was the best quarterback since Colt McCoy and it’s no coincidence that Texas’ best season since that BCS appearance came in 2018. The Longhorns went 10- 4 this season as Ehlinger completed 65% of his passes and had 41 total touchdowns.
Card and Casey Thompson shared time at quarterback for Texas in 2021 as the Longhorns infamously lost to Kansas amid a six-game losing streak that knocked them out of the bowl. Texas led Oklahoma 41-23 with 2:45 remaining in the fourth quarter before losing that game 55-48 on a late Kennedy Brooks touchdown. That loss sent the Longhorns into a tailspin from which they only erupted with a victory over Kansas State in the final week of the season.
Sarkisian likely sold Manning to Texas through his previous work with top college quarterbacks. Sarkisian was an assistant at USC when the Trojans trampled on college football with Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, and the former Washington and USC head coach was Alabama’s offensive coordinator before going in Austin. At Alabama, Sarkisian worked with Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones after spending two years as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator.
Manning set to continue family’s SEC tradition
Arch Manning’s commitment to Texas means he will be the fourth Manning to play college football in the SEC whenever Texas rejoins the conference. Grandpa Archie played at Ole Miss before joining the New Orleans Saints and Eli also played for the Rebels. Peyton went to Tennessee before continuing his Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.