Texas football must prove it has its stuff together to keep Arch Manning around long-term.
Don’t count on new five-star commit Arch Manning bailing on the Texas football program, but we should not remove the thought of that entirely from the conversation.
Manning’s five-star commitment on Thursday sent shockwaves throughout the college football world. He had long been rumored to Texas anyway, but nothing was official until he sent out his first-ever tweet. What his commitment to Texas signifies more than anything is The Mannings believe in Texas, as well as Arch having such a strong relationship with head coach Steve Sarkisian.
However, Texas has not been the most stable program in the world, as Manning could transfer after his freshman year, or even decommit well before signing his national letter of intent. It seems highly unlikely, but let’s play out a few scenarios where Manning decides Texas is no longer for him, as he reopens his recruitment either after his freshman year or before it even begins.
Again, this does not have to happen if Texas can prove to everyone it finally has its act together.
No monkey business allowed: Could Arch Manning transfer from Texas football?
If Manning were to follow through with his commitment and early enroll at Texas in January of next year, he could be third on the Longhorns’ quarterbacking depth chart behind Hudson Card and Quinn Ewers in some order. Card has been with Texas since the latter part of the Tom Herman era, while Ewers transferred to be closer to home this offseason after a very brief run at Ohio State.
With Manning about to enter his senior year of high school, he will be watching the Longhorns program closely from afar. The best-case scenario is if Ewers beats out Card in camp, Texas goes something like 8-4 or 9-3 and they do not completely embarrass themselves in early September vs. Alabama. Card may transfer if Ewers wins the job. Ewers is also two grades ahead of Manning.
That is the big key here. The Mannings should be comfortable with Arch backing up Ewers for a season in 2023, but he is going to have to play significantly as either a redshirt freshman or a true sophomore in 2024. The good news is Ewers seems to be the type of player who will spend the absolute bare minimum in college. He left a high school a year early to endorse kombucha tea…
So with that being the best-case scenario, one where Texas builds off a terrible first season under Sarkisian and Ewers clearly becomes the guy, what happens if it hits the fan? The worst thing that can happen is if Alabama runs through Texas like s**t through a tin horn and there is no clear distinction between Card or Ewers under center, while the university starts to turn on Sarkisian.
Securing Manning’s commitment should make Sarkisian feel safe, regardless of what happens on the football field. However, if Texas fails to get to a bowl game, loses to freaking Kansas again and there is even more monkey business around Halloween, the Mannings may admit to making a GOB Bluth huge mistake and decide Texas is no longer the place for Arch to attend college at.
Look, even if you are an Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU or Ole Miss fan, college football is better when Texas matters. Manning makes Texas matter. He may be the first of the third generation of America’s football royal family, but you can absolutely root against him and Texas if you so choose. It would be such a shame if Texas totally fumbles the snap with pay dirt in sight…
Admittedly, it is such a long shot for Manning to actually decommit or even transfer from Texas, but Texas should not be given the benefit of the doubt under any circumstances for us to believe they truly have their act together. They are more like dysfunctional Auburn than they are like juggernaut Alabama. So let’s have faith in Sarkisian and pray that Texas does not screw this up.
The only way Texas loses Manning under any capacity is if they resemble the Cleveland Browns…