Arch Manning, famous nephew of two of the NFL’s all-time quarterbacks, Payton and Eli Manning, was graciously welcomed with a standing ovation for his debut in the orange and white on Saturday in Texas’ spring game on Saturday.
Manning, the son of Cooper, completed his first pass in the final minutes of the first quarter to wide receiver Thatcher Milton, to which was well accepted in Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium.
Texas fans and coaches got a first look at the players who may be leading the Longhorns for the 2023 season, and Manning didn’t help his case to be one of them with his play Saturday.
In early March, Longhorn coach Steve Sarkisian openly spoke about the stakes against the prized freshman, explaining he will have to compete against sophomore Quinn Ewers for the quarterback role, who completed 16-for-23 for 195 yards and one touchdown.
But the other freshman quarterback stole the show Saturday.
Maalik Murphy, a redshirt freshman who was ranked No. 17 overall in the state of California by ESPN, tossed a 79-yard scoring throw to freshman wideout Johntay Cook during the third quarter.
He threw for 165 yards during the game, while Manning — who did have an impressive first-down run — end up with 30 passing yards on 13 pass attempts.
Ewers transferred from Ohio State and started 10 games last year for Texas, recording 2,177 yards for 15 touchdowns and six interceptions, and compiling 7.4 passing yards per attempt.
“Quinn has an entire year of a head start, but I don’t want to hold Arch back. I want to see how far he can take this thing and what it can look like,” Texas head coach Sarkisian said to reporters via ESPN back in March.
While he was one of the most sought-after recruits at No. 5 overall by ESPN, Manning is adjusting to the college environment and game play but impressing his coach in the process.
“He’s doing well, give him a lot of credit,” Sarkisian told the Longhorn Network prior to Saturday’s game. “It hasn’t been perfect. He’s throwing interceptions like every freshman quarterback would. He’s made misreads. He’s lost his ID twice on campus.
“He’s a college student — freshman in college who should still be in high school. But, the growth is there. We’re not seeing the same mistakes multiple times on top of each other. He’s learning from it, he’s getting better. His composure and poise are very impressive for a young guy.”