Most recruitments heat up around a player’s sophomore or junior seasons, though for big name quarterbacks, it isn’t crazy to see verbal scholarship offers handed out while players are freshman, if not earlier. Arch Manning, the grandson of Archie and nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, would certainly fit that category.
Cooper Manning’s son is roughly the football equivalent of LeBron James’ son Bronny. Based on everything we’ve seen and read, he’s destined to be a major, blue-chip recruit. And yet, as of this writing, no school has come through with a scholarship offer.
That isn’t because Arch, now 15 years old, can’t spin the rock. Early videos of his passing ability went extremely viral, from the time he was in middle school. The youngest member of football’s first family may just be the best quarterback yet, even with his uncle Peyton on the shortlist of all-time greats. During his high school freshman season this past fall, Archie Manning said that Arch is “probably a little ahead” of Peyton and Eli at this point in their development. MaxPreps named him their national high school freshman of the year.
Where many families will play up the popularity of their young star athletes, the Mannings are keeping a tight grip on Arch’s development. The only reason he doesn’t have numerous scholarship offers right now? The Mannings won’t allow it. From Sports Illustrated:
Dozens of college coaches showed up last spring to watch Arch practice. As a 15-year-old freshman he threw for 34 touchdowns during the regular season, more than any QB in the football hub that is the New Orleans metro area. Random men approached him before games for pictures. Two posed as working photographers just to share a sideline with Arch. They were escorted off the field.
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.
That even goes for LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who is fresh off a national championship in the Mannings’ home state. According to the report, he and the Tigers were more than ready to offer Arch Manning, but instead chose to respect the family’s wishes.
Take last summer, when Arch and his high school team won a seven-on-seven tournament on LSU’s campus. Tigers coach Ed Orgeron and his offensive staff spent much of the event schmoozing the Manning family. “It was unlike anything I’ve witnessed at a seven-on-seven tournament,” says Shea Dixon, a 247Sports recruiting reporter covering LSU and Louisiana. “I haven’t seen LSU coaches put that attention on a senior, let alone a kid who just finished eighth grade.”
The Tigers planned to offer Arch a scholarship, Dixon says, before they learned the likely reply: There is no offer to give because there is no offer to receive. Several college coaches, who asked not to be named, call the Mannings’ method “refreshing” in an era when 15-year-olds use social media to advertise offers that can’t be executed for another three years.
Even so, it won’t last for long. Eventually, the Manning family will open things up, and that’s when the attention will really begin to flood in. Speaking to SI, NFL Draft analyst Mike Detillier of New Orleans predicts that Arch Manning will be “the most highly recruited player out of the state of Louisiana,” calling his impending recruitment “a tsunami of recruiting like we’ve never seen.”
Obviously Orgeron is always dangerous when it comes to recruits in his backyard. He isn’t the only SEC coach who will be looking to take advantage of established connections here.
Peyton Manning went to Tennessee, which has been searching for its next great quarterback since Peyton and Tee Martin were in Knoxville. Eli and Archie played at Ole Miss, a place Arch has already visited. He is a member of the 2023 class, so his recruitment will get very serious soon enough.