Arch Manning’s Recruitment: Which College Football Program Best Matches Coveted Five-Star QB Prospect?

With the 2022 recruitment cycle now in college football’s rearview mirror, races are heating up for the 2023 class, and one in particular is getting a lot of attention. Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton and Eli and grandson of Archie Manning, is the top-ranked prospect in the class, and it’s no surprise that he’s a quarterback.

It’s also no surprise that his recruitment has been the most closely watched in years as he prepares to become the newest member of one of the first football families to play on the sport’s big stage. While he has family ties to Ole Miss and Tennessee, Arch has cast a wide net in his recruitment. Alabama, Georgia and Texas are considered the favorites for the 6-foot-4 signal caller, who told DawgNation this month, “I really have no idea right now.”

“I sort of narrowed it down a bit,” Manning said. “I don’t have a schedule or anything. I’m kind of concentrating on spring football right now.”

Schools like Clemson, Ole Miss, LSU, SMU, and Virginia have also been involved in Manning’s recruitment as he searches for the perfect cast. With the early signing period not arriving until December, there is still plenty of time for the aspiring high school senior to make his choice. For this installment of Staff Picks, our writers explain which school they think is the right choice for the potential future star.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Does Manning want to win a national championship? How about a Heisman trophy? Does he want to be as prepared as possible for the NFL? Of course, and Alabama is the place to be.

Coach Nick Saban has developed his program into an attacking juggernaut, centered around a mid-sized village of highly talented players in a plan that prepares them for the next level. Manning should know this by now and seize an opportunity that few college football players get.

Former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley famously said that Alabama doesn’t recruit, it drafts … and gets the first 25 draft picks. This is especially true for offensive players these days. Saban called. Manning must respond with a commitment to the Crimson Tide. – Barrett Hallee

Texas longhorns

By all accounts, Arch Manning appears to be a formidable quarterback recruit and a star-to-be due to his immense talents. Ultimately, however, his skills on the field will prove secondary to the sheer weight his dedication to the sport’s landscape carries.

While Alabama and Georgia would both benefit greatly from adding a game-changing quarterback recruit, few programs need to win the offseason like Texas. The Longhorns are fresh off a 5-7 season but managed to grab the sport’s attention by nabbing Ohio State’s Quinn Ewers. Texas hits back by making an offseason splash, and getting the Manning family rolling would rank among the biggest splashes of all time.

Joining a program with a successful track record would be a safe bet for Manning. Going to a place where he can culturally transform a program — no less than when the Longhorns enter the SEC — presents Manning with an opportunity to leave Austin as a one-time legend. And when Manning goes to Austin, there’s no doubt some of the nation’s brightest talent will follow him. – Shehan Jeyarajah

The consensus on Arch Manning seems to be that he wants to create his own legacy — much like Uncle Peyton chose to play his college football in Tennessee rather than follow in his father’s footsteps at Ole Miss. Could he make this happen in Alabama? For sure. Could he do that in Georgia? Naturally. However, I believe – and have for some time – that there is no better place for him to fulfill this mission than the University of Texas.

For me, what separates Texas’ appeal from the rest is its upcoming move to the SEC. Texas is attending the most heralded conference in all of college football, and it would be just perfect for Manning to serve as the face of the Longhorns as they enter the hearth that is the SEC. I think Steve Sarkisian’s offense is perfect for Manning’s ability, and leading Texas to a successful debut in the SEC would cement Manning’s legacy in college football lore for years to come. — Jack Crosby

Georgia Bulldogs

Arch Manning’s college pick can be boiled down to two possible roles: either he will be the next in a line of quarterback greats to make a practical decision based on making the college football playoffs and picking the 2025 NFL Draft, or he will be the savior who comes to take a program to heights that would not have been possible without him.

At schools like Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State, he would be first. All four have had plenty of national success and plenty of elite quarterback play in recent years — and will still have elite QB games even if Manning doesn’t come. In a place like Ole Miss, Texas or Virginia, he would be the savior and have the potential to be immortalized as his mere presence would change the ceiling of what these programs can achieve in the years to come.

At Georgia he can gain both experiences. He would be surrounded by elite talent who would help him reach SEC title games and CFPs…but he could also be a player the Bulldogs haven’t seen in over a decade. By the time Manning is draftable in 2025, it will likely be 14 years since UGA saw a QB before the fifth round of the NFL Draft. Manning can change that and spice up the program. He can become a Georgia legend – more than just another face on Alabama’s assembly line – and still reap all the benefits of playing for an elite program. -David Cobb

Ole Miss Rebels

Let’s start with why that would fit so well: Um, hello, Lane Kiffin! If you want to toss the ball around a bunch, Kiffin’s your guy. Also, the Rebels have no problem producing NFL-caliber wide receivers to catch passes — maybe not on the same average as Alabama or Ohio State, but certainly respectable. And I don’t think Manning couldn’t make a national championship run at Ole Miss. Kiffin has done a great job of bringing transfers to Oxford and NIL, while still somewhat unknown to all, has changed the game for teams at the top of the league.

Now to my more existential theory. A big part of the intrigue of Manning’s recruiting is his journey to build his own legacy while carrying the weight of one of college football’s most famous surnames. But here’s the thing: Going to Ole Miss doesn’t stop him from doing that. Yes, the connections run deep in Oxford, but it will be 20 years since Eli last took the field for the rebels. With the coverage Arch is already getting, I don’t suspect the pressure there will be any greater than, say, Tuscaloosa or Athens. – Ben Kercheval

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