Five-star quarterback Arch Manning has a decision to make.
With his junior season in the rearview mirror, Manning — the nephew of former NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning — has one more year at Isidore Newman high school before moving on to the college game. Ole Miss, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Texas appear to be the top schools for the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class, according to 247Sports Composite.
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The Rebels find themselves in a transitional period at quarterback with star Matt Corral leaving for the NFL.
With Corral, coach Lane Kiffin and former offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby produced wonders. Ole Miss scored over 33 points per contest in a loaded SEC West and Corral threw for over 3,000 yards and completed more than 67% of his passes. Their success, combined with deep family ties with the program, is why Manning is considering the Rebels.
Freshman Luke Altmyer is in line to be the starter in 2022. But given his inexperience and Lebby leaving to become the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, the door could be open in 2023 for Manning to win the starting job as a freshman.
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Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young is entrenched as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback. The sophomore completed 67% of his passes for over 4,800 yards in Bill O’Brien’s offense in 2021.
Barring any major setbacks, Young will likely declare for the NFL Draft after the 2022 season. This would likely create a scenario where Manning would have to battle five-star quarterback and Alabama signee Ty Simpson for the starting job. Not an easy task, but it wouldn’t be impossible for Manning to win the job as a freshman.
Legendary coach Nick Saban should still be in charge. But with the amount of NFL interest O’Brien has already received, he will probably have moved on before Manning arrives. Regardless, given Saban’s track record for scooping up high-caliber offensive playcallers, the system Manning would fall into should be able to maximize his talents.
Perhaps more than any of these other schools, Clemson needs Manning.
First-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei struggled in 2021, throwing more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9) and completing only 55% of his throws. The Tigers did sign five-star quarterback Cade Klubnik during the early signing period but his success is no guarantee, as Uiangelelei was also a five-star recruit.
If Manning were to choose Clemson, he could play right away depending on how Klubnik and Uiagalelei perform in 2022.
Offensive coordinator Tony Elliot has left to become the coach at Virginia. But the program’s track record of success at the position, with Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson, still suggests that Manning could flourish and become an all-time great at Clemson.
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Surprisingly enough, the national champions could use a quarterback of the future.
Senior Stetson Bennett has no more than one year of eligibility left. Junior JT Daniels has two more years left, but his prospects with the program aren’t tremendous after getting benched in favor of Bennett for the majority of 2021. Georgia also has former four-star recruit and redshirt freshman Carson Beck, who has played little very little in two seasons. And the Bulldogs signed four-star Gunner Stockton during the early signing period.
Georgia has many options but no clear answer at quarterback for the future. And if Manning were to sign there, he would be the program’s most talented option at the position moving forward.
The path for playing time at Texas is the murkiest among Manning’s five potential suitors.
Former five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers, after one season at Ohio State, transferred to Texas in December. 247Sports handed Ewers a perfect prospect rating of 1.000 when he came out of high school, and Casey Thompson, Texas’ starter in 2021, entered the transfer portal just days after Ewers’ decision to play for the Longhorns.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian has a track record of developing quarterback-friendly offenses and Manning has been effusive in his praise of the former USC coach and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator. But unless Ewers can’t live up to the hype, it is difficult to see how Manning could earn early playing time in Austin.