The race for coveted 2023 Isidore Newman (New Orleans, LA) quarterback Arch Manning could be nearing a close.
After spending the weekend of June 17-19 in Austin for what was likely his final official visit to any school, Manning's long-awaited decision may be drawing a bit more clarity.
The Texas Longhorns, Georgia Bulldogs, and Alabama Crimson Tide all remain squarely in the hunt, but Sports Illustrated recruiting expert and Sports Illustrated's John Garcia Jr. provided some insight Tuesday as to why those in Austin feel they might have an edge.
"The Longhorns have long-held buzz alongside Georgia, especially when Alabama took the commitment of fellow Louisiana quarterback Eli Holstein, but it kicked up a notch coming out of the weekend," Garcia Jr. said. "SI sources indicate there is growing confidence from Steve Sarkisian's coaching staff in their ability to ultimately land the top-ranked talent. One source hinted at the sport's biggest domino dropping relatively soon in the process."
Something that shouldn't be overlooked in all this is the fact that 2023 Isidore Newman tight end Will Randle just so happened to announce his commitment to the Longhorns on Sunday as Manning's visit was drawing to a close.
Garcia Jr. says sources surrounding Manning consider Randle to be the quarterback's best friend, as the two have been close since youth. Even if Manning holds off a decision for now, the performance put on by quarterback-friendly coach Steve Sarkisian this fall, along with a summer pledge from his high school teammate, could help solidify a potential commitment.
"On the summer commitment front, Texas held the last visit, earned the pledge of his best friend and seemed to have trended behind the scenes for weeks," Garcia Jr. said. "Should the process go into the fall, Manning will be able to see the potential progress of Sarkisian and quarterback coach AJ Milwee in establishing a new starter (as far as we can tell) in top transfer Quinn Ewers.
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Another sign of Texas' confidence in the Manning sweepstakes is the all-in approach by Sarkisian and staff. Garcia Jr. recalls the fact that the Longhorns have not actively pursued another signal-called in the 2023 class.
"Sarkisian and his staff have also been all-in on Manning, tangibly, without any additional targets," he said. "Alabama already has a commitment and continues to court others, while Georgia was in a similar situation entering the New Year before some other top quarterbacks came off the board. There is no public record of Texas even offering another passer in the 2023 class."
The bombshell decision from Manning could come any day now or could be a process that lingers into the fall. Regardless, the Longhorns are squarely in contention to land the young quarterback prodigy, something that seemed like a shot in the dark a year ago.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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