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 top-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 the likes of Alabama and Georgia — the teams that played for the national title in January — to secure Manning’s services. And now Manning will be the quarterback Texas fans hope can bring the team back into national title contention.
Manning, the son of eldest Manning brother Cooper, has been a highly touted QB recruit ever since he stepped on the field for Isidore Newman in New Orleans. His recruitment over the past year has been one of the most high-profile in years as major programs from across the country all were vying for his services.
Manning vs. Quinn Ewers?
Manning’s likely arrival — verbal commitments are non-binding and not official until a player signs a letter of intent — is the second big QB get 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 season of high school football.
Ewers was the top QB recruit in the class of 2021 and considered the favorite to be the Longhorns’ starting quarterback in 2022 ahead of Hudson Card. With Ewers entering his second season, he and Manning are on track to be the subjects of an incredibly high-profile quarterback competition ahead of the 2023 season.
We got a hint that Alabama could be out of the Manning sweepstakes earlier in the spring when four-star QB Eli Holstein committed to the Crimson Tide. Holstein is the No. 5 pro-style QB in the class of 2023 and will be arriving in Tuscaloosa likely as Bryce Young turns pro. The reigning Heisman winner is entering his third season of college football in 2022 and is eligible to declare for the NFL draft after the season.
Georgia, meanwhile, has Stetson Bennett IV returning as its starting quarterback for another season and five-star recruit Brock Vandagriff waiting in the wings. Vandagriff was the No. 2 pro-style QB in the class of 2021.
Texas has struggled since 2009
Manning is set to join a Texas program that is longing for the glory days of the Mack Brown era. The Longhorns have won 10 games in a season once since going 13-1 and losing to Alabama in the BCS title game at the end of the 2009 season. Sarkisian is the team’s third head coach since the school parted ways with Brown after the 2013 season and the Longhorns posted a 5-7 record in 2021.
A big reason for Texas’ struggles has been inconsistent quarterback play. Four-year starter Sam Ehlinger has been the best QB since Colt McCoy and it’s no coincidence that Texas’ best season since that BCS appearance came in 2018. The Longhorns went 10-4 that season as Ehlinger completed 65% of his passes and had 41 total touchdowns.
Card and Casey Thompson split time at quarterback for Texas in 2021 as the Longhorns infamously lost to Kansas in the midst of a six-game losing streak that took them out of bowl contention. Texas was up 41-23 on Oklahoma with 2:45 to go in the fourth quarter before losing that game 55-48 on a late touchdown run by Kennedy Brooks. That loss sent the Longhorns into a tailspin that they only broke out of with a win over Kansas State the final week of the season.
Sarkisian likely sold Manning on Texas thanks to his previous work with top college quarterbacks. Sarkisian was an assistant at USC when the Trojans ran roughshod over college football with Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, and the former Washington and USC head coach was Alabama’s offensive coordinator before heading to Austin. At Alabama, Sarkisian worked with Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones after spending two years as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
Manning set to continue family’s SEC tradition
Arch Manning’s commitment to Texas means that he’ll be the fourth Manning to play college football in the SEC when Texas joins the conference. Grandfather Archie played at Ole Miss before joining the New Orleans Saints and Eli also played for the Rebels. Peyton went to Tennessee before he went on to his Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.