There is another thing.
The Manning family sits on top of the mountain as the greatest in quarterback history, as father Archie and sons Peyton and Eli have gathered in 20 Pro Bowls, five NFL players (all Peyton) and four Super Bowls (two each for Peyton and Eli).
It’s already been a great story, with Archie – a longtime NFL QB and College Football Hall of Famer – watching his sons excel at his impressive accomplishments.
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But his eldest son, Cooper – who planned to play extensively at his father’s old school Ole Miss, but ended his football career due to spinal stenosis – secured the appearance of a third generation.
And in terms of hype alone, there’s every chance that Arch Manning is the greatest yet.
The decision as to where Cooper’s eldest son will play college football has not been closely tracked solely due to his pedigree. Arch is a real star high school student.
Playing at the prestigious New Orleans private school Isidore Newman – where Archie’s three sons and others including Odell Beckham Jr. studied – Arch soon emerged as the top prospect in the entire high school class of 2023.
Starting with a quarterback as a freshman (a ninth-year student), Art has earned five-star grades from every major recruitment service.
Heading into his junior season (year 11), Rivals wrote: “He’s surgical in his approach – with the ability to follow his lead, make accurate throws and consistently make smart decisions.
“Manning is great in the pocket and is athletic enough to extend plays and throw throws outside too. He’s also a legitimate threat to play with his legs.
“Paired with the fact that football is engraved in his DNA, Manning packs a lot of ascent into the most important position on the field.”
This running ability is the clear difference between Arch and his uncles Peyton and Ellie, especially the former, who has been positive at times during his legendary career.
As a player, Arch is very similar to his grandfather Archie, who was one of the few QBs to succeed in the pursuit of awful New Orleans teams in the 1970s.
Of course, being the number one QB winner in a class in high school is not a guarantee of success.
But it is a reasonably good indicator. Mark Sanchez (2005) and Matthew Stafford (2006) went into the top five in the NFL Draft, and Stafford finally won the Super Bowl last year with Los Angeles. Jameis Winston (2012) was the college dominate and #1 in the NFL Draft, and remains a solid choice.
Most recently, Trevor Lawrence (2018) went from the highest prospect in high school to No. 1 in the draft, while Alabama’s Bryce Young (2020) was the MVP in college football last year, and his forms as the No. 1 potential pick in the 2023 draft league Football.
Of course, we won’t know until Arch takes the field – which won’t be until August 2023 at the earliest.
But perhaps the most interesting part of Manning’s burgeoning career was the decision he made on where to play football.
Understandably recruited by nearly every graduate school in the country, Manning declined the newest national champions Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Clemson to attend the University of Texas instead.
Texas is one of the largest and most affluent schools in the country, and has won the third-most number of games in college football history. It’s undoubtedly a big fish – but it’s a fish that stumbles upon the banks of a giant lake, and it looks like it’s full of water but is actually quite dry.
They are a fallen giant, lost in the wild for about a decade and a half. For years they had been battling both their inability to turn high-ranking high school students into good players, as well as their inability to transform themselves.
This is the school that has seen some of its players revolt against the traditional school song, which has a racist history, with too many millionaire supporters to rein in – all wanting a piece of the pie and a power behind the scenes.
The Longhorns have won 10 games a season (which usually lasts 13 or 14 games) only once since 2009, and their losing record last year was in the first season under head coach Steve Sarkissian — including an unimaginable loss to the Kansas Conference that was embarrassing.
All of this makes Manning’s great decision. He already has an enormous weight of expectations based on his name; Now he needs to become the kid who saved Texas.
“With a disastrous 5-7 season underway, the Longhorns achieved a recruiting win that could be as meaningful and as results as Vince Young, who was also the No. 1 recruiter overall in the country, landing in the 2002 class,” The Athletic’s Sam Khan Jr. wrote.
It is safe to say that Young was of great importance.
The double-threat quarterback was the backbone of Texas’ last National Championship win in 2005, playing in the last second, fourth down, and game-winning touchdown against a 34-game winning USC team.
While his NFL career never really took off, thanks to the Tennessee Titans not knowing how to handle it, Young got into college football folklore with his performance in the Rose Bowl.
That’s what Texans want Manning to be—and all for the kid who, otherwise, bucked the trend in college hiring.
The introduction of Name, Image, and Similarity (NIL) rights allowed players to get paid at the table – unlike previous contracts filled with the opposite – in exchange for endorsement deals.
In fact, schools, or more specifically millionaire and billionaire, use NIL to try to attract players to their universities. (There is a huge gray area here, somewhat in the legal sense but primarily for the terms of the sport’s hard-to-enforce rules, which are governed by the NCAA.)
This has seen several public reports of millions of dollars going to high school students, in a recruiting system that already sees gamers trying to get their name out wide, celebrating the ability to land luxury cars at the age of 18.
We’re certainly not saying anything is wrong with that – players have been massively underpaid throughout history and deserve to be valued – but it’s totally a turnaround.
By contrast, Manning’s recruitment was very traditional. It is quiet. So quiet that his first ever tweet was announcing his signing in Texas. His Twitter bio is still just a “high school student”.
It remains to be seen how he will handle life in Texas, although you would expect there has been no player better prepared for the intense media spotlight than third-generation Manning.
Meanwhile, on the field, there’s a strange side-chart to all of this.
Landing Manning is definitely a coup for Texas, and you would imagine he wouldn’t pick a school where he doesn’t think he’ll be the primary quarterback.
But just six months ago, quarterback Queen Ewers — the No. 1 recruit in the 2021 class — moved to Texas a year later in Ohio, where he originally committed.
Ewers has yet to take a chance on a college football field, but he signed a $1.4 million NIL deal last September – which was said not to be the only deal he’s signed – and drives an Aston Martin around his new school. He is a very talented person and already has the weight of expectations that he will be the one who will save Texas.
Some optimistic Longhorns fans have suggested that the school should plan to wear Manning — a mandatory year on the sidelines that doesn’t use one of his four years of his college eligibility — while Ewers starts in 2022 and 2023, before moving to the NFL.
But the idea of Manning being late to kindergarten is laughable in the context of modern college football where almost all top recruits start right away. Ewers was a notable exception in Ohio, where he skipped his senior year of high school to sign up early and sat behind star quarterback CJ Stroud before deciding to move.
If Ewers plays well in 2022, a quarterback fight – between two of the best prospects we’ve seen in recent years – looms.
And in modern college football, where players can move on and play right away (instead of sitting outside for a year), this almost always sees the loser join another school.
So while Manning will begin his college career as a century long, there is no guarantee that he will end it the same way.