One year ago, Arch Manning was one of the most coveted recruits in the 2023 class. Some of that was due to his lineage with uncles Peyton Manning and Eli Manning, as well as his grandfather Archie Manning. The three were all former standout SEC quarterbacks. The other part of it is that he is flat out a great player.
Manning spent his true freshman season this year for the University of Texas Longhorns as third string on the depth chart, backing up starting junior quarterback Quinn Ewers, and was behind sophomore Maalik Murphy as well.
While Murphy has since transferred to Duke for 2024, Manning looks to begin the 2024 campaign on the bench still in Austin with the unanticipated return of Ewers for his fourth season of college football. At the beginning of 2023, Ewers was projected to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
However, after missing a few games with injuries and some subpar performances, Ewers will be returning to Austin for the Horns in 2024, after leading his team to the college football playoff in 2023.
While Ewers will enter the season as the starting quarterback, look for the leash to be shorter than many expect as now with a full season under his belt, Manning is primed to get his chance.
LockedOn Longhorns podcast host, Jonathan Davis analyzes Ewers play in the college football playoff semifinal against the University of Washington where some big plays late contributed to the Longhorns loss preventing them from going to the national championship.
Davis points out that on a few plays Ewers failed to go through his progressions. And this is essential in college football as with players and coaches watching film, this will be keyed in on very quickly. When analyzing Ewers’ missed pass the receiver Adonai Mitchell specifically, Davis goes on to state, “That was also the only read he made. So you are in the red zone with Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington and J.T. Sanders and you only look at Adonai Mitchell.”
It is not just Davis whose noticed the recurring theme. If you watch tape on Ewers throughout the last two seasons, there are many times where he zones in on one receiver: his primary option.
Unless this changes, with more and more film on him, it is going to be tougher and tougher for Ewers to thrive in the Longhorn offense unless he begins going through these progressions. And with a lack of success comes a chance for someone else. That next person up would be Arch Manning. So keep your eyes peeled in 2024.