For much of this year Arch Manning was widely regarded as the best young high school football prospect in the country.
Conversations about where he would go to school raged. It was a mania akin to what happened when LeBron James was coming out of high school and choosing his next move.
At one point, a video of Arch jokingly committing to some blonde girl’s school in bed went mega-viral. That’s how crazy things got.
Eventually, the youngster finally decided to commit to Texas – ending the speculation once and for all.
Interestingly enough, as soon as Arch decided to throw in with the Longhorns, the narrative surrounding him changed a bit. He was no longer he consensus inevitable GOAT that he was prior. Suddenly there were doubts.
Sports Illustrated, for example, recently listed him as the No. 5 quarterback prospect in the 2023 class.
“Earlier this summer, we broke down those five as the QB prospects having seemingly separated themselves from the rest in the race,” Sports Illustrated wrote. “There is plenty of depth at the position, considering 11 made the SI99 at quarterback. We went category by category, and at that point Iamaleava and Manning appeared as the best bets.
“The Tennessee commitment is the highest-ceiling prospect, and the future Longhorn has the strongest floor in the department. But with more digging done over the last two months—from cross-checking more video, sourcing and of course the Elite 11 Finals at the end of that month—things changed.
“Moore forced his hand the rest of the offseason, capturing SI’s MVP honor at the Elite 11 to cap it, reminding the country of his consistency, prowess and production in any quarterback setting. … Couple it with his state title run in 2021, which also came with gaudy production (3,000 yards, 40 TDs, three INTs), and his run over the last year was just better than that of his peers.”
Make of that what you will.
This week, Arch’s uncle, Eli Manning, decided to give his honest assessment of where his nephew stands presently.
“He’s more athletic than Peyton or I,” Eli said, per the New York Post. “Maybe a little bit bigger than Peyton or I, and so I think he’s got the ability to scramble around and run around — probably more similar to my dad (Archie) than Peyton or I.”
In addition, Eli believes that his nephew finally committing to a school will allow him to refocus on what’s actually important.
“Now he can just go enjoy his senior year (at Isadore Newman School,)” Eli said. “Go play football and try to win some football games and be a great teammate and don’t have to worry about the next step. He’s going to a great spot, great history of football in Texas, and excited to get to watch him.”
Last year, Arch amassed 1,913 yards and 26 passing touchdowns in 10 games. Beyond that, he also racked up 381 yards and six touchdowns rushing.
There is a reason everyone has been so hyped about him.
Texas has been in the headlines for a lot of unfortunate stuff in recent months.
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 10, 2022
But hopefully Arch will eventually change that. On paper, he has all the skills to.
Will he be able to restore the Longhorns’ football program to some semblance of respectability when it’s all said and done?
Time will tell.