Arch Manning has been in the national spotlight since his breakout freshman season at New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman High School.
The class of 2023 quarterback, just a junior, leads the same prep school his father Cooper and uncles Peyton and Eli Manning attended. One of his games in 2020 was on ESPN and two have already been aired on the network in 2021, including Friday night in a 49-24 loss to Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep.
Even as the Buccaneers dominated, especially true for Iowa State running back commitment Xavier Townsend and his five touchdowns, the broadcast and the lion’s share of the viewers were dialed in on No. 16.
The attention won’t soon slow and it turns out the recruitment will be carried into the spring months of 2022, at the earliest.
Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Texas, Ole Miss, LSU and everybody else is actively targeting the 6’4”, 215-pound NFL legacy. He has been busy on the visit trail and will continue to do so through the remainder of the fall and likely beyond the coaching shuffle ahead in December.
“I think I'll have a good idea, a good feeling, probably around next summer or next spring,” Manning said of a commitment timeline after the game. “Right now I have no idea.”
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was on hand to see Manning in person. Texas sent multiple coaches, including Steve Sarkisian, to do the same the week prior. The junior has already visited each program multiple times this year.
“It's really cool of them to come out,” he said. “I don't know if I was the only one they were watching, there were other studs out on the field, but it was cool seeing them here. I've built a relationship with both of those guys.”
Ole Miss is to be the next program to get ‘the next’ Manning on campus along with most of the Manning family on Saturday considering Eli’s No. 10 jersey will be retired. The young passer, who also made flash plays with his legs on Friday night, called Oxford ‘a second home’ ahead of his latest trip.
But it appears the unofficial visit will be just that, the latest. Evaluations on each program, its staff and outlook at the game’s most important position, are ongoing.
“Right now I'm just going to see games and see what it's like,” Manning said. “I'm not really worried that much about it. I don't love being out of town every weekend, but it's been fun to see places and build some connections.”
Eli and Archie Manning have each been on record about the family legacy and how it relates to the next generation. Arch echoed what his grandfather said during the week when asked about his focus on Friday night. The junior said it was on the Newman Greenies, now on a two-game losing skid, and getting back on the right side of the win column.
The focus won’t lessen the likes, retweets and eyeballs when CBS inevitably shows the teenager on its national broadcast of Ole Miss and LSU Saturday afternoon.
"You know he's not inviting all this scrutiny," Archie said on WNSP in Mobile. "I guess social media has kind of changed the world also, but he's not really a big part of that. And you know, his primary focus is quarterbacking his team and them trying to win some games and I think they're having fun playing."