Thursday, June 23rd, 2022, could go down as the day that changed the fortune of the Texas Longhorns forever. June 23rd,2022, is the day that Arch Manning committed to the University of Texas. In typical Manning fashion, Arch made his announcement with as little fanfare and pageantry as possible. The nation’s number one recruit used a Twitter account that he created in February and, prior to his announcement, did not have a single tweet. His Twitter account has now blown up as he has sent exactly one tweet from his account. Without further ado, here is the tweet that set the world of college football on fire:
Longhorn fans are hoping that Manning will be the final piece of the puzzle to rescue a team that has been mired in mediocrity since 2010. The Texas Longhorns won a national championship in 2005, defeating USC in the Rose Bowl 41-38. The Texas Longhorns have won 10 games in a season only once since 2010 (10-4 in 2018). The Longhorns have been below .500 five times since the 2010 campaign. The desperation for a successful program is evident in the Longhorns firing Tom Herman after four seasons in which the team went a combined 32-18, including winning four straight bowl games.
In 2021 the Texas Longhorns went 5-7 under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. Coach Sarkisian has eight years of experience as a head coach, including stops at Washington, USC, and Texas, with an overall record of 51-42. Sarkisian also had a very successful run at Alabama as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Nick Saban, winning a national championship in 2020 by defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24. Sarkisian also has NFL experience on his resume as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 & 2018. The Texas Longhorns are counting on Sarkisian to rebuild the program and elevate the team back to the national championship conversation.
Arch Manning has posted some impressive stats as a three-year varsity starter at Newman High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has thrown for 5,731 yards completing 455 passes for a 64.8% completion percentage. Manning has thrown 72 touchdowns and only 18 interceptions during his three years at Newman High School. While it is not surprising that a kid with the last name of Manning can throw the ball given his lineage, what may surprise you is the running stats he has posted. Arch has carried the ball 83 times for 671 yards and 17 touchdowns. His longest run was a 68-yard carry, and he averaged 8.1 yards per carry. His impressive stats have the Longhorns faithful anxiously awaiting his arrival on campus.
With the commitment of Arch Manning, the Texas Longhorns are loaded at the quarterback position. Quinn Ewers, a five-star transfer from Ohio State, joins the QB stable with former four-star recruit Hudson Card, already on campus. While collecting high-profile talented players at the same position may seem problematic, if handled correctly, it can pay dividends down the road. The strategy, similar to what we see so successfully employed at Alabama, is always to be recruiting for the future. If there is an injury or a critical player graduates, you have the next player prepared to step in. Arch still has one more high school football season, so the 2022 football season will see either Ewers or Card as the featured QB as the Horns look to improve upon the 5-7 record from a year ago. The 2022 recruiting class will be the first for coach Sarkisian as head coach of the Longhorns and is ranked as the fifth-highest recruiting class overall.
The commitment of Arch Manning to Texas has the potential to attract more top talent to Austin in 2023. Wide receiver Johntay Cook II is a five-star prospect ranked nationally as the number 35 player and the number 6 receiver according to 247sports.com. Cook talked about his recruitment by Texas. “Honestly, Coach Sark. He’s an offensive wiz. He’s been recruiting me since he got in there…and obviously, it’s no secret Arch Manning just committed yesterday.” Will Randle, a high school teammate of Manning, committed to Texas about a week before Arch made his announcement. Randle is the number 34 ranked tight end for the class of 2023 and is a three-star recruit. When Randle announced his intention to go to Texas, the Longhorn faithful were optimistic that this was a positive sign that Arch might also sign with the school.
The Arch Manning news has set the Texas fan base on fire and thrust the Longhorns into the national spotlight. The buzz created by this news should not be underestimated, as teams are always on the recruiting trail. A successful 2022 season combined with the Manning news could be a cycle that strengthens the team as they prepare to jump to the SEC. While the commitment is great news, there is still much work for the Texas Longhorns. Offensively the Horns will rely on the running game with the dynamic duo of Roschon Johnson and Bijan Robinson. An improved offensive line should benefit the pair as Robinson looks to make his case as a pre-season Heisman candidate. Defensively Texas will lean on its defensive line, which will feature a mix of experienced veterans Moro Ojomo and Keondre Coburn and young talent such as Alfred Collins as the team looks to reduce the 31 points per game and 426 yards per game the team gave up last season.
To be clear, we need to back away from the “Texas is back” talk. The Longhorns are headed in the right direction with the recruitment of Manning, the addition of Ewers through the transfer portal, and the highly ranked 2022 recruiting class. Fans should not lose sight of the fact that Texas was 5-7 last season and lost to Kansas of all teams. Coach Sark and company are building for the future of Texas, and that future includes a move to the SEC in the near future. The commitment of Manning legitimizes the rebuilding process for Texas. Securing two five-star quarterbacks in back-to-back years will attract the attention of top-tier talent through the portal and out of high school. The Longhorns boast the number five recruiting class for 2022, in which they upgraded their offensive and defensive lines and the team is poised to have a top 5 recruiting class again in 2023.
The commitment of Arch Manning to the Texas Longhorns is a massive step in the right direction, but it is just that, a step. Arch has another high school season before he can set foot on the campus of the University of Texas. In 2022 the Texas Longhorns will look to rebound from a 5-7 record and see what they have in Quinn Ewers. The Manning commitment signifies that the University of Texas is back in the national conversation for top-tier talent. The question that remains is if that will translate to national championships in the future.