Will Arch Manning Live Up To Family Legacy?

By Rhonda Bird

The name Manning is powerful in the world of football. It all starts with the grandmaster, Archie Manning, the legendary quarterback from Ole Miss who became a two-time Pro-Bowler for the New Orleans Saints. Next, Archie’s three talented sons, two-time Super Bowl champs Peyton and Eli, and Cooper, a highly ranked prospect out of high school whose career was cut short due to a spinal disease. Now, we have Cooper’s son, Arch, who is the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2023 class. The five-star QB recruit made his long-awaited college decision, committing to play for the Texas Longhorns. Not only will he carry on the Manning name, but he will become the most valuable high school football recruit in the nation. Manning has an expected NIL worth of $3.1 million.

Manning has an expected NIL worth of $3.1 million despite having a virtually non-existent presence on any social media accounts and still being a year away from suiting up for the Longhorns. It seems ridiculous. The college football world took to Twitter and had a lot to say about the money and the decision to pick Texas. Will he live up to the hype?

Let’s go back to the family name. Given that Arch is a Manning, is his expected value really that off the mark? It’s only a matter of time before some record-breaking NIL offers start rolling in. Most sports fans believe Manning could make more money at Texas than a lot of NFL players simply because of NIL deals.

But of all the colleges courting him, why on earth would Arch choose Texas? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to many. The Longhorns have not had a strong program of late having 4 losing seasons in the last decade. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian is entering just his second year with the program and his career as an HC has never been very good (all-time record of 51-42) and I don’t see this getting much better when Texas joins the powerhouse that is the SEC. Speaking of which, why wouldn’t Arch choose Alabama or Georgia, both of which crank out NFL players and also saw the national title game last season and showed major interest in Arch?

Ok, maybe there were family ties to Texas. Wrong. His sister, mother, father, grandfather (Archie), and uncles (Peyton and Eli) all went to schools that were in entirely different locations.

Texas is looking like a genius right now and I can speculate one reason Arch chose the Longhorns – they offered him a heap of money. Further, the instant amount of NIL deals that will come his way, will look like an NFL rookie contract. Manning most definitely could earn a lot more money if he ends up reaching his full potential at Texas and with his impressive numbers at Louisiana’s Isidore Newman School, it’s in the realm of possibility. I wouldn’t bet the farm that a kid from the Manning family was swayed only by dollar signs, but I am still going to assume it had a lot to do with it.

Unless Sarkisian is the evil genius and it has nothing to do with money, although it seems unlikely in my mind. However, Sarkisian positioned his program to land one of the top recruits of the last decade. Sarkisian has long been thought of as an offensive genius and has a long pedigree for developing NFL-level quarterbacks and coordinating potent offenses.

Texas, Alabama, Georgia – wouldn’t have mattered because the stakes are already high given Manning’s bloodline. He also will be judged on past top quarterback recruits. Clemson’s Cade Klubnik from Westlake High School (Austin, Tex.) was the top quarterback in the 2022 class, and he will battle for playing time with Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei this season.

How much pressure goes into being the top QB recruit in the country? Since 2012, two of those quarterbacks won national championships, two won the Heisman Trophy and two went on to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Yet five of those quarterbacks also transferred from their original school.

Speaking of pressure, Arch has something that all those number one picks didn’t have – the money he can make of NIL. First, NIL deals could really put pressure on a team’s chemistry. The playing field isn’t level anymore. If Arch is making a half a million, but the player with a locker next to his might not have earned anything off NIL deals, egos and agendas could get in the way.

Further, let’s say Manning is now making more money than some of the lower-lever assistants on the staff. How would the fact that an 18-year-old player bringing in more money than his QB coach affect the team’s dynamic?

Lastly, the rich will get richer. These NIL deals are already a gigantic component in recruiting. The possibility of a player becoming a millionaire prior to even starting a game will be a major selling point for a lot of the best high school players. This is a huge bonus for the big-name schools with lots of money, but it is detrimental to the smaller schools that already couldn’t afford the perks that others have.

Whatever the reason Arch Manning chose Texas, you gotta live the unapologetic way he announced it. He seems to be his own man unphased by the fact that he is the prince of football royalty. No long speeches, no thank yous. Arch only provided the information that everyone was waiting on. He posted a picture of himself wearing a white Texas shirt with a simple message: “Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEm.”

Photo Credit: Johntex

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