In February, new Texas Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian secured arguably the school's biggest quarterback commitment since Garrett Gilbert when Junipero Serra quarterback prospect Maalik Murphy pledged to the program.
The addition of Murphy not only provides an elite player at the most important position on the field, but it also gives Texas both recruiting momentum and — thanks to Murphy's infectious personality — a top-notch recruiter that doesn't come with the same limitations as others on staff.
Murphy's recruiting prowess has already paid off with the Longhorns securing commitments and substantial interest from prospects tied to the 6'4" 225-pound signal-caller.
The Longhorns are reaping the benefits for good reason, as Murphy is one of the most talented quarterback prospects in the country. Possessing every physical and mental tool that Sarkisian could possibly want in a quarterback, he's the surest thing since perhaps Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa.
From the time Murphy gets to campus, he very well could be the unquestioned signal-caller of Sarkisian's offense through the 2024 season.
All that said, the pursuit of 2023 Isidore Newman (New Orleans) quarterback Arch Manning might be even more critical to the future of the Longhorns program for years to come.
Murphy is without a doubt an elite prospect. He's one that is capable of taking Texas back to the precipice of the college football mountain top.
Manning, however, is an entirely different animal.
While Murphy would undoubtedly create star power, Manning could potentially bring something bigger.
His recruitment even could be, in the behind-the-scenes words of some recruiting analysts in recent weeks -- LeBron James-like.
While it might seem hyperbolic on the surface, Manning's games at Isidore Newman are already set to be a mainstay on ESPN in the coming seasons.
“There’s a LeBron-like feeling about Arch Manning. LBJ’s high school games got national television exposure in the early 2000s,” Sports Illustrated's, Chris Mannix tweeted following one of Manning's this past season. “Betting ESPN will give Manning — a sophomore — a lot of run on its networks, too. He looks like a special QB.”
More than that, however, the impact on the Longhorns, or any other school he chooses for that matter, would almost instantly turn that program into the nation's premier destination for top-level recruits.
With the nephew of Super Bowl winners Peyton and Eli, comes star power, publicity, and excitement; an excitement that has not been seen around the 40 acres since the signing of Chris Simms in 1999.
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There is always the possibility that Manning could suffer from the same pressure issues that Simms struggled with during his time in Austin. That is less than likely though given Manning's unparalleled performance as the starter for the Greenies, throwing for 4,081 yards, 53 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in just 18 games during his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
Heading into his junior season, those numbers are expected to skyrocket even further, with Manning selected as the unanimous No. 1 overall quarterback in the 2023 class.
So what are the Longhorns' chances at signing the next great Manning quarterback?
Well... better than one might think.
Manning's increasing interest in the Longhorns does come as a bit of a surprise given the SEC roots of his family. However, thanks to a developing relationship with a fellow 2023 recruit, Rueben Owens II, plus the recruiting efforts of Sarkisian, Texas finds itself squarely in the mix for the budding young star.
“Obviously he was really successful at Alabama,” Manning said to 247Sports in March. “I think he’s going to get Texas going for sure and I’m just really excited to see what they can do. He knows how to run an offense and put receivers in the end zone and he’s definitely a great developer of quarterbacks and that’s awesome.”
CONTINUE READING: Dear Arch Manning: The 10 Reasons You Belong With Longhorns
Alongside the Longhorns, Manning is reportedly having a good deal of communication from the usual blueblood suspects, including the likes of Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and Clemson, as well as Power 5 programs such as Boston College, Stanford, Duke, and North Carolina, Ole Miss and Tennessee.
Arch's grandfather Archie, as well as his uncle Eli, both starred for Ole Miss, earning Heisman trophy nominations, while his uncle Peyton was a finalist for the award in 1997 with the Volunteers.
Both brothers went on the be the No. 1 pick of their respective draft class, with Arch be next?
That familial connection is unsurprisingly important to the youngest Manning, though it won't be the only factor in his decision.
“I’m looking for a place that’s like a family with good surroundings, great coaches, and good players and really puts you in the opportunity to win," Manning said "I think anywhere right now, I’m not singling out anywhere.”
Whether or not Texas can overcome that, remains to be seen. But with plenty of time left until Manning is forced to put pen to paper, and with Manning set to visit the Forty Acres in June, Sarkisian will have every chance to secure his own LeBron-like savior.
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