Seven words in the first tweet sent from Arch Manning’s Twitter account — the one with the bio reading only “High school student,” one of the great understatement in the platform’s history — sent shockwaves through the college football world shortly after 11 a.m. Central time on Thursday.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Texas Longhorns had done it. Days after hosting Manning for an official visit, they’d overcome the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs to land the services of the nation’s No. 1 quarterback and No. 1 player in an absolutely momentous decision to end arguably the most heavily-scrutinized recruitment in the modern era.
Here’s what it means for the Longhorns.
The quarterback room is now officially stacked
In the history of the 247Sports Composite rankings, only three quarterbacks have received a perfect 1.0000 ranking. Vince Young (retroactively). Quinn Ewers. And Arch Manning. All three have played for or will play for the Longhorns. Remarkable.
With Hudson Card and Maalik Murphy currently on campus with Ewers, Sarkisian has quickly built one of the most impressive quarterback rooms in recent school history and one that will be entirely unique in the modern recruiting era when Manning arrives on campus next year.
No matter what happens with the ongoing competition between Ewers and Card, Manning will be able to redshirt and take his time learning Sarkisian’s system and adjusting to college football before potentially taking over the program in 2024.
Manning’s decision is a huge vote of confidence for Sarkisian and his staff
Manning had every reason to commit to Alabama and play for one of the greatest dynasties in college football history. Manning had plenty of reasons to commit to Georgia, the rising power under Kirby Smart that just won the national championship.
But as Manning’s recruitment matured and trips to Austin piled up on one another, one thing became clear — Manning seemed to really see himself as a fit in the city and with Sarkisian, whose track record of personally developing quarterbacks set him apart from the Crimson Tide and the Bulldogs.
And so Manning pledged even though Texas is infamously coming off a 5-7 season and a home loss to Kansas. Manning pledged even though Sarkisian has never won 10 games as a head coach. Manning pledged even though the Longhorns haven’t proven on the field that they’ve taken important steps forward in Sarkisian’s second season.
Ultimately, Manning and his family just weren’t worried about those things.
And what happens if Texas struggles again? It’s not going to matter — Manning’s recruitment is finished except for his signature.
Nelson Stewart on if Arch Manning will now shut down his recruitment:— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) June 23, 2022
"Locked in. That's how he is. He's incredibly mature. When it's done it's done. Archie was that way and Cooper is the same way. Once you make a decision you're locked in."
Coming from the football’s first family, the vote of confidence in Sarkisian is truly remarkable and will positively change the trajectory of his Texas tenure. Perhaps drastically so.
The recruiting floodgates will now open
Since Manning never had a public timetable for a commitment, it’s difficult to say what exactly changed during Manning’s official visit and in the immediate aftermath that produced a decision this week. But one thing that Sarkisian and his staff surely emphasized was the importance for Manning to make a decision early enough in the process for his presence in the class to attract other elite recruits and provide the foundation around Manning to set him up for success once he takes the starting role on the Forty Acres.
And, to be sure, Manning has been building those relationships throughout his recruitment and has the absolute star power to vault this Texas class to the top of the team recruiting rankings. Recruits in the state who weren’t sure about Sarkisian’s future and the program’s future will now take another look with different eyes. Top recruits outside the state may now re-consider their level of interest in the Longhorns.
More on the way..— Brenen Thompson (@BrenenThompson_) June 23, 2022
Direct quote from a committed elite prospect’s parent following the Arch Manning news:— Nick Harris (@RivalsNick) June 23, 2022
“It’s a long six months until Signing Day. Come get us.”
This is the only fuel Texas needed to jumpstart its 2023 recruiting class.
I’m feeling sum inna air…hehe— johntay II (@_jayythegreat_) June 23, 2022
Texas was already in a strong position with DeSoto’s Johntay Cook, the nation’s No. 6 wide receiver, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, who has taken numerous visits to the Forty Acres with an official visit looming this weekend. Cook may or may not make a decision in the aftermath, but he’s close with Manning and it’s difficult to see him landing anywhere else now.
The nation’s No. 3 running, Florida product Cedric Baxter Jr. was a recent official visitor to Austin with the Longhorns making a move and he may now be closer to eventually becoming the second running back in the class. In fact, Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports put in the first Crystal Ball for Baxter and it’s in favor of Texas.
Right now, Texas is ranked behind Iowa and just ahead of Boston College in the team recruiting rankings. When the cycle finishes in February, the Longhorns will not be close to either one of those programs.
Manning checks all the boxes as a quarterback prospect
Let’s get the only small concern out of the way first — Manning hasn’t participated in events like Elite 11 or other camps held across the country.
But that hasn’t stopped evaluators from giving him the highest possible grade because every attribute is there.
He’s received high-level tutelage from his family, from his uncles to his grandfather and any other elite current or former quarterbacks who have been around the Mannings. He has prototypical size at 6’4, 215 pounds. He has a big-time arm capable of generating the velocity to hit small windows. On passes that call for touch, he can change speeds to float balls over defenders. His footwork is advanced for a prospect of his age, but he can also make off-platform throws when necessary. He’s a pro-style passer, but he’s also a capable athlete who appears quicker than either of his uncles and is willing to take available yards with his legs and is difficult to bring down against the high school competition he faces.
To put it simply, Manning is absolutely a can’t-miss prospect with an insanely high floor and NFL Hall of Fame-level ceiling.
So what does Manning’s commitment mean to Texas? It means everything.