Texas Longhorns fans might be waiting a while to see quarterback Arch Manning take the field. Vince Young said Thursday on ESPN's First Take (h/t Stephen Samra of On3) that he's heard Manning will redshirt his freshman season:
"I really feel like Arch has a great opportunity. One of the things that I am hearing is that he is going to redshirt. That's going to help out a lot so you can understand how to travel with the team, get the feel of the fans, the university. So, when you have those types of things and you take a year off like when I played with Coach [Mack] Brown, I redshirted. And I feel like that redshirt year helped me understand how to be a quarterback at the University of Texas, and then what you go through, traveling and things like that.
"So, if he does that, I really feel like it's going to be good for him to sit back and kind of learn and also get familiar with the offense and stuff like that. Hopefully, if he does that, I think that's going to help him for the future."
Manning announced his commitment to Texas on June 23, picking the Longhorns over highly touted programs like Georgia, Clemson, LSU and Virginia.
He will have to fight for the team's starting quarterback position alongside Quinn Ewers, Maalik Murphy and Hudson Card.
Redshirting his freshman season would allow him to get a better understanding of the Texas offense and how things run. It could also benefit him in the long run, especially if he's the starter in 2025 when the Longhorns make the move to a loaded SEC alongside Oklahoma.
Manning is a 5-star recruit out of Isidore Newman School in New Orleans and the top-ranked prospect in the 2023 class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. 247Sports national recruiting analyst Cooper Petagna outlined some of the quarterback's best qualities:
"Appears to have good pocket awareness / presence and the ability to extend plays with his feet. Has enough mobility as a runner to have to respect him in situational down and distance areas. Exhibits clean feet in the pocket while demonstrating good foot quickness and play tempo in his drop.
"Displays excellent arm talent, showing the ability to make every throw on the field within the pocket. Shows the ability to drive the ball down the field and play with velocity. Excels as an intermediate passer, displaying the ability to consistently deliver the ball accurately and on time while playing with anticipation. Throws an exceptional deep ball, flashing outstanding touch and ball placement allowing him to throw his receivers open."
However, Mike Farrell, the former national recruiting director of Rivals, insisted Manning's 5-star status is only due to his family. Grandfather Archie Manning and uncles Peyton and Eli Manning found much success in the NFL, and his father, Cooper, was a highly touted wide receiver prospect before his career at Ole Miss ended because of a spinal stenosis diagnosis.
"If his name was Arch Smith, I think he'd probably be a high 3-star quarterback," Farrell said on the Crain & Company podcast (h/t NOLA.com's Patrick Magee). "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. When he has had to step up against other competition, especially in the playoff game where he looked awful, it just hasn't translated."
As a freshman in 2019, Manning threw for 2,438 yards and 34 touchdowns against six interceptions in 10 games. He also rushed for 87 yards and four scores. As a junior last season, he threw for 1,947 yards and 26 touchdowns against four interceptions, in addition to rushing for 381 yards and seven scores.
We won't know how successful Manning might be until he hits the field at Texas. But he's a top-notch prospect and one worth keeping an eye on this coming season.