Arch Manning: No. 1 prospect or high-3-star QB? One expert isn't so sure

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The University of Texas got its guy. Arch Manning is destined to live up to his namesake, earning the rank of not only top quarterback in the class of 2023 but also the No. 1 player in his year. He is positioned to lead the Longhorns to the top of college football and relevance they haven’t entertained in over a decade.

Or maybe the University of Texas just got a guy. 

Arch Manning is nothing more than an above-average high school quarterback who comes from a lineage of greatness, more of a Marcus Jordan than a Ken Griffey Jr. At least, the latter is what one football recruitment expert believes. 

Mike Farrell, the former national director of recruiting for, one of the premier recruiting outlets, said on the Daily Wire’s Crain & Company podcast that he thinks Manning is closer to a three- or four-star quarterback than sure-fire five-star.

“If his name was Arch Smith, I think he’d probably be a high three-star quarterback,” Farrell said on Crain & Company. “He plays a very low level of competition. He hasn’t progressed. He had a really good freshman season. I wouldn’t say regression, but he hasn’t progressed. And when he has had to step up against other competition, especially in the playoff game where he looked awful, it just hasn’t translated.”

With that said, Farrell acknowledged that with the natural gifts Arch has as a Manning and the education he received from the likes of Archie, Cooper, Eli and Peyton, he deserves the benefit of the doubt. “You have to assume, based on the success of that family … that he’s going to be good,” Farrell said, adding that he would likely rank Arch a four-star QB.

In that playoff game, Newman (New Orleans, La.) had just 137 yards of offense and went just 2-for-8 on third downs, according to It was Manning’s worst game of the season, and it wasn’t particularly close.

As a freshman, Manning passed for 2,438 yards and 34 touchdowns and six interceptions. He threw for 1,922 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a sophomore and, in seven games as a junior, passed for 1,371 yards to go with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. His junior year saw more yards per game passing than as a sophomore, but a career-low 61.8% completion percentage. He did rush for 310 yards, the most of his career, despite playing fewer games.

But that is only one person’s review. After Manning committed to Texas, ESPN reported that a coach who recruited him believed he would be the No. 1 player even if he weren’t a Manning. In the article, the coach references his arm, mobility and vision down the field.

Recruiting sites are extremely bullish on Manning. 247Sports‘ Gabe Brooks wrote that Manning possesses “elite pocket awareness” and accuracy outside the pocket. On3 raved about his pure throwing motion and ultra-quick release. ESPN’s Tom Luginbill wrote about his improvisation skills and poise.

The major recruiting sites may have him as a consensus No. 1 prospect, but not everybody is convinced. Manning has a year of high school left to prove that he is far superior to the competition and ready for the next stage.

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