Longhorns land coveted 2023 quarterback after yearslong recruiting battle with Alabama, Georgia

Matthew Boncosky, Sports Editor

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the June 27, 2022 flipbook.

Arch Manning, quarterback and No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class, broke a long-standing silence last week when he announced that he was committing to Texas.

It appeared almost out of nowhere. Arch logged on to Twitter in February to create an account and shared his first tweet Thursday that read “Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEm,” featuring a photo of himself wearing a white Longhorn shirt. Then it was back to radio silence.

In today’s era of made-for-television drama surrounding commitment announcements, with top prospects publicly announcing finalists on social media and making shows out of hat selections on stage among other spectacles, Arch’s approach was almost unheard of, especially considering what it could have been.

Arch isn’t just the top quarterback in his class: He’s one of the most coveted recruits in recent memory. His family name is synonymous with football royalty. His grandfather, Archie, was a 13-year NFL veteran. His uncles, Peyton and Eli, both won Super Bowls. His father, Cooper, was a wide receiver committed to play at Ole Miss before a spinal injury ended his football career.

Aided by the fact that Arch sports a perfect 1.0000 rating in 247Sports composite rankings — only the third quarterback ever to have achieved such a distinction — “Arch Madness” was the perfect storm that captivated the recruiting world throughout his high-profile recruitment, despite refraining from being over the top about it himself.

“Really proud of him for the way he’s handled the whole thing,” Peyton told reporters at the Manning Passing Academy on Friday. “When you know, you know, and there’s no point in dragging it out and creating some drama. … Once he knew, he sent the word out.”

Arch, who is set to be a senior at Isidore Newman in New Orleans this school year, has been seen as a blue-chip prospect since middle school. He could have attended any school in the country. Throughout June, the quarterback took official visits to Alabama, Georgia and Texas, signaling that his decision would come down to those three schools.

Alabama has been the king of the college football world under head coach Nick Saban. Georgia won the national championship last season. The Longhorns won five games.

Arch’s commitment to Texas reflected a yearslong effort from head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterback coach A.J. Milwee to secure the foundational piece of the Longhorns’ 2023 recruiting class. Sarkisian first spoke with Arch over Zoom two years ago while offensive coordinator at Alabama, according to Arch’s high school coach Nelson Stewart.

“I give so much credit to Steve Sarkisian and for what he’s building,” Stewart told ESPN on Thursday. “He certainly earned this.”

For a program that has struggled to regain its national footing ever since losing the 2010 National Championship Game to Alabama, Arch’s commitment and what it means for Texas and Sarkisian is hard to understate. Arch was important not just for the talent he will bring individually, but also for the talent that will likely follow him to Texas.

In the five days since his announcement, Texas has received commitments from seven more recruits and the Longhorns’ 2023 class has jumped up to No. 3 in the 247Sports composite team rankings. The early period for the 2023 recruiting cycle doesn’t end until late December.

Texas already features a loaded quarterback room with sophomore Hudson Card, redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers and freshman Maalik Murphy. Ewers, who also sported a perfect 1.0000 rating out of high school, originally committed to former Texas coach Tom Herman before decommiting and enrolling at Ohio State for a year until he transferred to Texas this offseason.

As for whether Arch might renounce his commitment to Texas, the quarterback is locked in, Stewart said.

“He’s just in a good spot,” Stewart told 247Sports on Thursday. “From a recruiting standpoint, the journey has certainly come to an end.”