It wasn’t all perfect for Newman sophomore quarterback Arch Manning on Thursday night. But the highly touted 2023 prospect showed why he’s one of the class’s top recruits and a potential future star at the college level.
Manning made his national television debut Thursday night, leading Newman to a 55-22 win over Booker T. Washington on ESPN2. The stats weren’t the real takeaway from his performance.
Yes, he completed, 21-of-26 passes for 241 yards, a touchdown, two rushing touchdowns and two interceptions. One of the interceptions was a mistake for a talented quarterback trying to do a little too much, forcing a pass into triple coverage, leading to a pick. The other interception came when the ball just simply bounced off his receiver’s hands and into the arms of a Booker T. Washington defender.
But Thursday was much more than about the stats. It was the first time many were able to see the pristine mechanics and the poise that Manning possesses when making his reads down field.
His one and only touchdown pass of the evening was a beauty as he was able to buy extra time, roll out to his left and deliver a perfect ball to the back of the endzone for fellow LSU target AJ Johnson for the score.
Johnson has been the beneficiary of multiple Manning touchdowns in the first three games of the season, something he told LSUCountry the two were working on all summer.
“We get out there and throw pretty much every day and now we're able to throw with our head coach watching,” Johnson said. “But me and Arch have been grinding away all offseason, just getting that connection down."
The highlights didn't stop there as Manning delivered this first quarter throw that nearly went for a touchdown.
Thursday's national performance could be the first of many for the third generation Manning quarterback, who hasn't even begun to think about where he'll play college ball. He has scholarship offers from LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee but the focus this year is just putting together a strong sophomore season and diving into recruiting after the season.
"Arch has grown up around—all my good friends that are locally in New Orleans are big LSU fans so they've been giving him a hard time for a long time about going up to Baton Rouge and he's been to a couple games there," Cooper Manning told Off the Bench in June. "Arch is friends with Walker Howard, who just committed there and I know Jamie well.