The No. 1 player in the 2023 class, five-star quarterback Arch Manning, is still not committed, and he is in the middle of an important round of visits. Here are some of the things we’re hearing about Manning’s recruitment as March continues.
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The first thing that stands out about Georgia is that Manning really likes Athens, and that was reinforced last weekend when he was back on campus. When the five-star picks a school, everything on the field will have to fit well but he’s going to have to like where he’s going to live as well, and that box is checked.
The quarterback also loves coach Kirby Smart and how he runs his practices, likes the intensity brought in everything the team does. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Todd Monken’s NFL experience is a bonus as well. Is Monken going to be this dynamic, young recruiter who is all over Manning all the time? No. But that’s fine because that’s not what the five-star is looking for anyway.
The relationship Manning has with not only coach Steve Sarkisian but also quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee is a massive selling point in his recruitment and will go a long way as the New Orleans Isidore Newman standout reaches his decision. This weekend’s trip to Austin is another crucial step for Manning, but if Sarkisian and Milwee are both on staff when it comes time to decide – and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t be – then the Longhorns are going to be in this until the end.
Manning really respects the job, the availability and the involvement of Milwee in his recruitment. Meanwhile, Sarkisian is seen as one of the best – if not the best – play-caller and offensive minds in Manning’s recruitment right now, so that could go a long way.
When Nick Saban shows up to your high school and watches every second of your basketball game, then you have to respect that. That’s only one example of why Alabama is involved so heavily in Manning’s recruitment. Saban has made Manning a priority, and arguably the greatest coach ever in college football history usually doesn’t get told no.
That’s not the only factor, though, as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien garners a lot of respect from Manning and others around him. The fact that the Crimson Tide pump out high-end players and win championships will also be considered. Manning visits Alabama next weekend.
OTHER TEAMS IN THE RUNNING
Georgia, Texas and Alabama might have an edge over others, but it doesn’t seem like Manning has made any decisions yet and there are still other programs that intrigue him. LSU coach Brian Kelly has come calling, and it could be an appealing situation about 90 minutes down the road. But can Kelly develop that relationship quickly enough and sell Manning enough on the Tigers?
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin has been impressive recently, as quarterback Matt Corral has thrown 49 touchdowns in the last two seasons, plus there are significant family connections to that program that could be considered.
One other team that has a shot: Florida. Manning has really jelled with first-year coach Billy Napier, and running backs coach Jabbar Juluke has recruited the state of Louisiana, so he’s also an important factor here. The Gators would have to be considered a long shot unless Manning decides to trip to Gainesville.
THE LAST WORD
There has been no official determination yet on when Manning is going to make his commitment. The earlier thinking was that he would commit sooner rather than later, but after so many coaching changes and an insane coaching carousel, the brakes were pumped, so the five-star could see these guys in action at their new schools in the fall. But with crucial visits being taken over the last few weeks and at least one more to Alabama coming up soon, it’s plausible that something could be figured out before his senior season.
Two five-star quarterbacks are already off the board: Malachi Nelson to USC and Nico Iamaleava to Tennessee. High four-star Eli Holstein just backed off his pledge to Texas A&M and is hearing heavily from Alabama, Stanford, Oregon and others. The quarterback carousel continues to spin and Manning is trying to navigate his way through it – with some visits already taken and some to come.