‘Godfather of Recruiting’ says Arch Manning would be 3-star prospect with different last name

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Widely considered the top quarterback prospect in his 2023 recruiting class, rising senior Arch Manning, nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, has committed to the University of Texas, choosing the Longhorns over scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Miami, Florida, Tennessee, Duke, Boston College and his namesake Archie’s alma mater, Ole Miss.

Manning’s size (6’4”/215), elite high-school production (he threw 26 touchdowns against just four interceptions last fall at Isidore Newman in New Orleans) and impressive lineage are all appealing traits, though not everyone is enamored with him as a prospect. Mike Farrell, known in the scouting industry as the “Godfather of Recruiting,” agrees Manning is talented, but thinks he’s been overhyped by the national media.

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“If his name was Arch Smith, I think he’d probably be a high three-star quarterback,” Farrell told Crain & Company earlier this week. “He plays a very low level of competition. He hasn’t progressed. He had a really good freshman season. I wouldn’t say regression, but he hasn’t progressed. And when he has had to step up against other competition, especially in the playoff game where he looked awful, it just hasn’t translated.”

Farrell, a former National Scouting Director at Rivals.com, acknowledges Manning’s name carries weight, though he’s not sure he measures up to other top recruits including Malachi Nelson and Dante Moore, committed to USC and Oregon, respectively.

“[Arch’s father] Cooper was a tremendous athlete. Obviously, Eli, Peyton and Archie are great football minds. This guy’s been taught from a young age. You have to assume, based on the success of everyone in that family, that he’s going to be good,” said Farrell, who has Manning ranked in the “5-6 range” among quarterbacks in the class of ‘23. “Every time I watch other quarterbacks in this class, it knocks Arch down in my head.”

As is the case for most sons and daughters of celebrity parents, Manning’s last name works as a double-edged sword, providing unique opportunities but also raising the stakes, burdened by the pressure and expectations of living up to his family’s proud football heritage. But even if Arch falls short of being a generational talent, he’ll still be an enormous draw for Texas (think of the NIL money he’ll be raking in from boosters), bringing national attention to a storied program that has recently fallen on hard times.

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