Newman QB Arch Manning already has many attractive college options

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Arch Manning
(Photo: Parker Waters)

Just like you, I cannot predict the future. However, I can say with high degree of confidence that Isidore Newman sophomore Arch Manning is a bona fide star quarterback.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder is currently sitting on offers from LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Duke and Boston College. There may be more. There will be more.

I also have no inside scoop on where he may end up for college ball but it’s safe to say the school that signs him will never end up regretting that decision.

At a very young age, Arch had demonstrated skills that bring back memories of his uncles, Peyton and Eli. Both starred at Newman and beyond.

During his time at Newman, Peyton posted a 34-5 mark as a starter, throwing for 7,190 career yards and 92 touchdowns. Eli tallied 7,389 yards through the air with 89 scoring strikes. Both went on to win multiple Super Bowls. Talk about a tough act to follow.

Young Arch has an overall 12-2 record as a varsity starter, posting 3,376 career yards, 67% completions and 45 touchdown passes with nine interceptions.

Nelson Stewart has been the Newman head coach for 15 seasons and been on staff for 22 years overall. He was a high school teammate of Peyton and Tulane quarterback. Stewart raves about his young leader.

“There are a few things about him,” Stewart explained. “He may be a bit hard to define. His athleticism is off the chart. He can extend plays with off balance throws. His calmness, he likes to process. He’s careful with the football. He loves to study the film part of it. We ‘Zoomed’ a million times during the pandemic. His work ethic is exceptional. He works hard.”

Manning is blessed with physical ability that runs deep in his family as well. “He has outstanding arm strength,” Stewart said. “He has what you can’t teach.”

One aspect of the game that grandfather Archie his uncles excelled at as quarterbacks was the mental approach. Peyton Manning was particularly renowned for his meticulous film study. It is a trait that separates to good competitors from the great ones, and Arch appears to have taken it to heart.

“He has a little bit of all of them,” Stewart gushed. “A lot of similarities. All of them like film study and have a great mindset. He has such a good demeanor, his maturity and calmness. There is still a lot of growth left, so much more to grow and learn.”

It’s not common for a high school quarterback to be deeply involved in scheming for his team but, you guessed it, Arch is not the norm or ordinary.

“We script openers together. If he sees things, he can make adjustments,” Stewart noted about the trust level in Manning.

In the 2023 recruiting class, some university maybe hitting the bonanza when they secure the next Manning’s signature. Which schools are really in the race? Although there is a lot of time left for his recruitment to play out, I’ll try to handicap it. Obviously, so much can change between now and then.

LSU has assigned assistants Steve Ensminger and Mickey Joseph to recruit Manning. Arch is very close friends with 2023 LSU commit Walker Howard, the talented St. Thomas More quarterback. Something that may prove to attract Manning to the Tigers is the recent ability of LSU to sign and develop top receivers in the country. Justin Jefferson was a first round draft choice who is now having a great rookie campaign for Minnesota. Ja’Marr Chase will be a very high first rounder in the ’21 draft. Don’t be surprised if Terrace Marshall, Jr. lands in the first round this spring as well.

The Tigers are coming off a National Championship ;ed by a Heisman-winning quarterback, but was that a flash in the pan? LSU will have to continue to demonstrate consistency as a top offensive team in order to seriously get in on the Manning sweepstakes.

Now let’s consider school with a clear leg up here. Ole Miss, Duke and Tennessee have ties that bind to the Manning clan.

Ole Miss has assigned special teams coach Blake Gideon and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. Tennessee has passing game coordinator Tee Martin, who served as Peyton’s backup before taking over for the Volunteers and leading them to the school’s most recent national title in 1998. Although not in the same vein due to family connections, Alabama has defensive coordinator Pete Golding, a Hammond native, on the case.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe, who coached Peyton at Tennessee and Eli at Ole Miss, still has close ties with the Manning family. However, he just turned 66 years old. In his 13 seasons as head coach at Duke, he has a 73-84 record after building the Blue Devils into a winner from humble beginnings. Cutcliffe’s current team is just 1-5 this season and coming off a 5-7 campaign in 2019. Can he last for two more seasons at Duke? Can his team start winning again to be attractive enough to woo Manning? That may be a bridge too far.

Don’t rule out the possibility that Cutcliffe could land as an offensive coordinator at a school if he doesn’t survive at Duke or just wants to coach his speciality without the pressures of a head coach. Any school with Cutcliffe calling plays would at least be considered.

Lane Kiffin just landed at Ole Miss, and the 45-year old hasn’t lasted anywhere as a head coach longer than three years. He went five games into his fourth season at USC before being fired and replaced by interim coach Ed Orgeron. Kiffin is a brilliant offensive mind, but he is also pretty brash. Maybe too brash?

Yet, we all know Ole Miss has a huge trump card in the quest to sign Arch Manning. Archie, his father Cooper and Eli are all proud alums.

Jeremy Pruitt, who just turned 46 years old, has 15-15 career mark in his third season at Tennessee. Will he be able to secure enough support from the Vol faithful to survive? Lack of stability hurts Tennessee in this quest, and the program is running out of time to sway Arch to follow in Uncle Peyton’s footsteps to Knoxville.

You also have to mention a pair of power programs with attractive offenses in recent year. Clemson and Oklahoma have a recent history of success stories behind center, recruit elite athletes at skilled spots and have outstanding young head coaches with staying power (Dabo Swinney with a 136-31 record and Lincoln Riley at 39-8, respectively). One can be sure both programs will be considered.

It’s never too early in the world of college football recruiting to speculate on where young prep stars may end up. When it comes to Arch Manning, the speculation will be likely be a long and wild ride.

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Rene Nadeau

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…

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