Look: Nick Saban, Alabama staff take Arch Manning recruiting to the hardwood

Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Nick Saban, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Nick Saban and other key members of the Alabama football staff watched 2023 five-star quarterback prospect Arch Manning play basketball for Isidore Newman on Friday night.

Alabama football head coach Nick Saban was in New Orleans on Friday night in person to watch 2023 five-star quarterback prospect Arch Manning play basketball for the Isidore Newman Greenies.

Manning is the grandson of Archie, the son of Cooper and the nephew of Peyton and Eli. His recruitment has been unlike anything the college football world has seen before. Five teams have been at the front of the line for his commitment: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ole Miss and Texas. With Clemson potentially falling behind the other four, can Alabama make up some ground?

Ole Miss is still probably the favorite to land Manning due to family ties, but Alabama and Georgia, and to some degree Texas, are still very much in the mix to land him.

What are Alabama’s chances of landing Arch Manning’s five-star commitment?

Given that his primary recruiter to Alabama in defensive coordinator Pete Golding was in attendance, as well as Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, Saban and his staff left no stone unturned in its all-out blitz to land Manning’s commitment. Alabama does have a proven track record of winning national championships and getting its quarterbacks drafted very high.

Manning may have a strong connection with Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, but that may have more to do with his time on the Crimson Tide staff than anything else. Texas was dreadful in Sarkisian’s first year in Austin, but that did not stop a former five-star quarterback prospect in Quinn Ewers transfer back to his home state after reclassifying to play a year early at Ohio State.

Again, Ole Miss has to be the favorite to land Manning, but keep in mind Jeff Lebby was his strongest tie to Oxford, not Lane Kiffin. With Lebby now at his alma mater in Oklahoma, Ole Miss could lose ground in this race. All this does is leave open a little bit of extra wiggle room for blue-blood programs like Alabama to go sneak in there. There is also the Georgia factor to consider…

Former Rebels head coach Matt Luke is the Dawgs’ offensive line coach. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart competed with Uncle Peyton in the SEC East before briefly being teammates on the 1999 Indianapolis Colts. Todd Monken runs an NFL offense and used to lead the Southern Miss football program. For all intents and purposes, Georgia is right there alongside Alabama to land Manning.

The only thing that feels certain is Manning will end up playing in the SEC like his family members.

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