It’s the perfect movie script.
The Tennessee Vols, down on their luck for the last two decades, rise to the top of college football behind the nephew of UT legend Peyton Manning. Tennessee wins a national championship. After all those tough years, a Manning is responsible for returning the prestigious university to glory.
If that sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is.
I’m of course talking about Arch Manning, the stud five-star quarterback that will be one of the most highly sought-after players in the 2023 recruiting class.
Arch is the nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, the son of Cooper Manning, and the grandson of former Ole Miss/New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning.
Football is in Arch’s blood. So is the SEC (specifically Ole Miss and Tennessee).
But despite the strong connection to Tennessee, it seems incredibly unlikely that Arch will end up playing college football for the Volunteers.
And that’s not the fault of any of the current coaches at Tennessee. Those guys are all just the victim of circumstance when it comes to Arch.
The New Orleans native is already building a solid relationship with coaches like Steve Sarkisian at Texas, Dabo Swinney at Clemson, Nick Saban at Alabama, Ed Orgeron at LSU, and Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss.
Tennessee is working hard to build a relationship with Arch, but the new staff is getting a late start compared to the other top programs in the nation.
“I’m excited to see what they (Tennessee) can do, I don’t know much about them yet,” said Arch to Rivals this week.
There’s obviously plenty of time for new Vols head coach Josh Heupel and his staff to build a solid relationship with Arch.
Time isn’t the problem here. The problem is that programs like Alabama, Clemson, and LSU have a lot more to offer Arch than Tennessee has to offer.
If you’re the most sought-after quarterback recruit in the nation, why would you pick Tennessee — a program that could be on probation soon; and facing scholarship reductions — over Alabama or Clemson?
I know some UT fans like to throw out the Peyton connection, but I don’t see that as something that will help the Vols in this recruiting battle at all. Arch isn’t going to make his decision based on where his uncle played college football over 20 years ago.
Seeing a Manning lead the Vols to glory again is a great thought. But if it happens, it almost certainly won’t be Arch.
But who knows, maybe Peyton’s son Marshall, who will turn 18 in 2029, can be the Manning in the family who wears orange again.
Featured image via Rivals