It’s no secret who Ole Miss’ top quarterback target is for 2023.
It’s Arch Manning.
The rising sophomore at Isidore Newman (La.) took the high school football world by storm as a freshman, throwing for 2,438 yards and 34 touchdowns in just 10 games for the Greenies. The grandson of Archie Manning, nephew of Eli Manning, and son of Cooper Manning is now arguably the biggest thing in the recruiting world after just one fall semester in the Crescent City.
Arch’s father has been adamant about the fact that they are going to let him not only do this recruiting thing at his own pace, but to also avoid getting swept up in the hoopla so early in his high school career.
Cooper joined Off the Bench ESPN Radio 104.5 in Baton Rouge to talk about his son’s current situation, his passion for the game, and who the Rebels’ top competition is to sign him in three years.
“He loves football,” Cooper Manning said. “He’s enjoying his friends and the workouts and growing. He’s kind of had a growth spurt here in the last couple months. Enjoying being in the weight room and throwing. He just loves it. If it was me pressuring him to play or hurry up and get ready, it’s kind of always been, ‘Hey, can you come catch for me? Can we go throw? Can you feed me hoops?’ My boys are like that. Just makes it a lot easier as a parent.”
And who is in the running with Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby for the LeBron James of high school football?
“Ole Miss joins LSU, Tennessee, Duke and Georgia as the top suitors,” Cooper told ESPN Radio.
Obviously the Rebels have more than a puncher’s chance to sign Arch since his grandfather, father, and uncle all suited up in the red and blue, but Tennessee obviously also has a shot since Arch’s other uncle, Peyton Manning, spent four years running through the T on Rocky Top.
“I’m still learning how (recruiting today) all works. I know it starts meaningfully earlier than it ever did back when we were exposed to it,” Cooper said.
And, yeah, Duke is mentioned here due to David Cutcliffe coaching both Eli and Peyton, but I personally find it hard to believe they can really compete here with the SEC programs.
That brings us to Georgia and LSU. The Bulldogs certainly have an affinity for putting quarterbacks in the NFL and the Tigers are the “hometown” school.
“It’s funny. All my good friends locally in New Orleans are big LSU fans; so, they’ve been giving him a hard time for a long time about coming up to Baton Rouge,” Cooper said. “They’ve got a great program, and Coach O has done unbelievable.”
So where do I think things stand?
To put it lightly, there is a loooong way to go before he even comes close to considering making a decision. But, I still think Ole Miss is in a great spot here.
The family connections, the comfort, the experience of going to Oxford weekend after weekend, two of his biggest influences having their numbers hanging in the proverbial rafters, the list goes on and on.
Anyone and everyone is going to want to sign the future five-star, but Lane Kiffin has already been to New Orleans and Newman to see him and Jeff Lebby’s offense is tailor-made for Manning as it is strikingly similar to what he runs right now in high school.
Arch Manning WENT OFF for 6 TDS in front of Uncle Peyton pic.twitter.com/Ar5fqWChF6— Overtime (@overtime) October 19, 2019
Arch now stands 6-foot-3 and 190-pounds and is almost certainly poised to continue to grow before he exhausts all his eligibility in high school. Both of his uncles topped out at 6-foot-5 and his father stands 6-foot-4 so it’s not out of the question for him to grow a few more inches.
Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger wrote about his peculiar recruitment back in February and how things are not like every other high school football recruitment. He spoke with Mike Detillier, a longtime NFL radio host and analyst based in the Pelican State.
“When it’s all said and done, he’s going to be the most highly recruited player out of the state of Louisiana,” says Detillier. “It’s going to be a tsunami of recruiting like we’ve never seen.”
Dellenger also spoke with Nelson Stewart, Newman’s head coach, about how the family is handling things early on.
For now, though, there isn’t a ripple in sight. In an era of attention-seeking recruits and spotlight-craving parents, the Manning camp has gone dark. Coaches interested in extending a scholarship have been politely told not to bother. “We just say, ‘There’s no offer to give because there’s no offer to receive,’” says Stewart, 42, in his 14th year as Newman’s coach and a teammate of Cooper’s and Peyton’s in the 1990s.
Here’s the deal, he’s barely 15-years old and already has the top programs in the country after him. His family has been very clear that no decision will come anytime soon and I’d hazard a guess that Arch himself wants to take things slow and focus on football for at least the next two seasons at Isidore Newman.
Everyone just take a breath.
You’re going to need it.