The eyes of Texas are on the high-profile quarterback competition set to get underway as the Longhorns kick off spring practice.
2023 recruit Arch Manning arrived to the drumbeat of No. 1 recruiting rankings, the billing of a future No. 1 draft pick and an unparalleled family legacy at the position. Sophomore Quinn Ewers, the No. 1-ranked recruit in the Class of 2021 by the 247Sports composite and listed at No. 2 by ESPN, landed in Austin in 2022 after one season at Ohio State.
“I’m not worried about who’s going to be on the cover of what magazine next week,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. “I’m more focused on is, is each guy focusing on what they need to do to develop to be the best player that they can be? 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.”
Second-year quarterback Maalik Murphy also is in the running for reps in Austin.
Ewers started 10 games and had 15 touchdown passes with six interceptions last season. His offseason transformation included chopping off his mullet and trimming his facial hair, but that’s not the part of his new appearance Sarkisian is most excited about.
Sarkisian said Ewers accepted the challenge from coaches to be the vocal leader of the offense in 2023.
“I think what he’s done, he’s serving for Arch and, ‘Hey, this is what it looks like,'” Sarkisian said. “‘And this is how to go about your business.'”
The son of Cooper Manning, Arch Manning has never been a backup. He was the starting varsity quarterback as a freshman at the Isidore Newman School in New Orlean and rewrote the Louisiana high school record books by erasing the prominent names of previous record-holders — his uncles, Peyton and Eli Manning. Arch Manning owns the state marks for passing yards and touchdown passes.
A five-star recruit who enrolled early, Manning should “still be in high school,” Sarkisian reminded on Monday following Texas’ first practice of the spring. He’s just 17 and won’t be 18 until May.
While Sarkisian said he doesn’t want to use any special lens to evaluate his quarterbacks on a day-to-day basis, Sarkisian said it’s easy for outsiders to forget what it means to be a freshman.
“For Arch today, Day 1, there’s some plays for sure that he would love to have back,” Sarkisian said. “There’s some other plays that he made where I think everybody was like, ‘Wow, that was a heck of a play.’ But he brings a worker’s mentality and he wants to be really good at this game.”