At some point, we're going to have to ask ourselves by Arch Manning wanted to go to Texas so badly. The former five-star recruit out of New Orleans picked the Longhorns over Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss to play his college football at. While there has always been a path for him to start at Texas, it has hinged entirely on Quinn Ewers balling out of his mind down in Austin and then entering the NFL Draft.
It was supposed to be this year, but that did not happen. Ewers sustained another injury in his second season at the helm of the Longhorns offense. This forced his backup Maalik Murphy into action mid-season during Big 12 play. Murphy looked promising during his starts, so much so that he left Texas for Duke in the transfer portal right before the Longhorns even played in the College Football Playoff.
All the while, Manning got moved up the depth chart from No. 3 to No. 2 ever since the Big 12 Championship game vs. Oklahoma State. He got his first real bit of action vs. Texas Tech in the regular-season finale, but that was pretty much it for his true freshman season at UT. Texas came up short vs. Washington in the Sugar Bowl, but Ewers made the wise decision to come back to Texas.
Shortly before spring practice commenced, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian implied that Manning is not a serious threat to take the starting job away from Ewers this season, as he is firmly the backup.
The five-star from America's football royal family holding a clipboard for two years has us worried...
Arch Manning is not going to be the starter at Texas until at least 2025
This was painfully obvious, yet why does it cut so deep? Did people overrate Manning coming out of high school? Possibly, but even then, at least he is not transferring from a Power Four blue-blood to a Group of Five school after one season like Malachi Nelson just did. Could you imagine if this former Isidore Newman Greenie went to go play for Jon Sumrall's Greenies back in New Orleans at Tulane?
The worst part in this for Manning is he wouldn't be the starter at any of the four schools he seriously considered going to, five if you included Clemson. Texas has Ewers, Georgia has Carson Beck, Alabama has Jalen Milroe, Ole Miss has Jaxson Dart and Clemson has Cade Klubnik. Manning may have a chance at beating out Klubnik, but even Milroe and Dart are far more proven college players.
Overall, Manning just needs to work on his craft and be ready for the inevitable. Ewers has all the arm talent in the world, but he is increasingly injury-prone. Not saying it will happen again, but the past is the best indicator of future performance. Ewers could get hurt in 2024 and Manning better be ready for the gauntlet that is SEC football. He picked Texas over others to go to the Big 12, but welcome back!
If we can go an entire year without hearing news of him losing his student ID, I think he will be just fine.