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Archie On Arch: "He's Enjoying The Journey"

Ole Miss legend Archie Manning discusses his grandson's recruitment, and how things have changed since his sons went through the process.

Archie Manning has seen it all before. 

He went through it with Cooper, he went through it with Peyton, and he went through it with Eli. 

All of the Mannings had unique recruiting processes of their own. But for his grandson Arch, the latest member of the first family of football, things are much much different. 

"Well, the world has changed," Manning said in an interview with WNSP in Alabama. "Recruiting is so different than it was 20 some years ago when I actually had three boys go through it. Cooper first as a wide receiver, and then Peyton and Eli. It's changed so much."

Now an NFL legacy, Arch is arguably the most coveted recruit in the modern era and has had to deal with an unusually publicized recruitment, even by today's standards. 

Even though he is just a junior in high school, he is already well into that game, having been a subject of national stories since before he even put on an Isidore Newman uniform.

Luckily for Arch, his father Cooper has helped him to control the hysteria surrounding his recruitment. 

"I'm really proud of the way Cooper's kind of handled the whole situation," Manning said. "Arch was fortunate enough to start as a freshman and Cooper just kept the recruiting away that year and kind of the interviews and the hype and let him get his feet wet. And then last year he had to get into it a little bit. So I still think they've handled it really good."

To make things even more difficult, Arch's recruitment didn't truly begin to take shape until 2020, just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic to throw college recruiting into uncharted territory as a whole. 

"When he first started getting into it, he couldn't talk to anyone in person. The coaches couldn't come because of the pandemic so he was doing zoom calls," Archie said. "And so they finally got to meet some people. And he went on campus during June. And now some Saturdays, this fall. He's taking some visits to in a game situation. They were at Texas this past weekend, so it gives him an idea... he gets to look around. And Arch, he's a sweet kid, and he's not caught up in it, and he's handling everything real well. I think he's kind of enjoying the journey."

So where is Arch's recruitment now? As it stands, he is nearing the end of his fall visit schedule. 

Having already visited Georgia, Alabama, and Texas, Manning will head to Oxford this weekend for the Magnolia Bowl, where his Uncle Eli will have his jersey number retired at halftime, and his family name highlighted on each end zone. 

After that, he will head to Death Valley to watch the Clemson Tigers, where he will surely once again be a focus of adulation and television cameras.

But if you ask his grandfather, Arch will keep a clear head on his shoulders.

"You know he's not inviting all this scrutiny," Archie said. "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."

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