Georgia football-Arch Manning-quarterback position
5-star QB Arch Manning plays for Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. He is the nation's No. 1 overall prospect for the class of 2023. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)

A look at the trajectories of Georgia football and Texas as Arch Manning recruitment intensifies

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What comes next in the recruitment of Arch Manning for Georgia football and Texas

The recent commit quarterback Eli Holstein to Alabama was seen as significant in the recruiting world. Not so much because Alabama landed another top quarterback prospect — Holstein ranks as the No. 69 overall prospect in the On3 consensus rankings— but more so because of what it meant for the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the class.

Alabama had been one of three teams seen as serious contenders for Arch Manning. Along with Georgia and Texas, Alabama was set to get an official visit from Manning next month.

Related: What it means: 4-star 2023 Louisiana QB Eli Holstein commits to Alabama

That Alabama seemingly took itself out of the Manning business would align with Manning’s recent comments about his recruitment.

“I really have no idea right now,” Manning told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “I kind of have narrowed it down a little bit. I don’t have a timeline or anything like that. I’m just kind of focusing on spring football right now.”

While teams like LSU and Florida will jockey to take Alabama’s place, it very much seems like a Texas and Georgia battle now for Manning’s services.

Two programs that couldn’t be more different at this point in time.

Georgia is coming off a National Championship. Texas lost to Kansas last year. The Bulldogs had 15 players drafted. Texas had zero.

The Bulldogs are led by a defensive coach, who was a Nick Saban assistant prior to getting the Georgia job. Texas is led by an offensive assistant in Steve Sarkisian, who prior to taking the Texas opening was also a Saban assistant.

Whoever Manning ultimately chooses will end up getting an elite quarterback talent. Both schools have shown they can land that, whether it be Steve Sarkisian’s long-line of quarterback recruiting wins or Smart’s ability to land 5-star prospects such as Jacob Eason, Justin Fields and Brock Vandagriff.

Landing Manning also likely brings in a wealth of other talented recruits, as is often the case with 5-star quarterbacks. Georgia saw this first-hand with Fields in the 2018 class. But recruiting well isn’t a problem for either school. Texas inked the No. 5 class in the 2022 recruiting cycle, while Georgia signed the No. 3 class.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two sides is how Georgia goes about developing all that talent and how Texas hasn’t been able to.

The Longhorns haven’t produced a first-round pick on the offensive side of the ball since Vince Young in the 2006 NFL Draft. In addition to the zero picks in last year’s draft, Texas has had just 15 players taken in five drafts prior to that.

For someone who wants to one day play in the NFL, the ability to develop will play a significant role in Manning’s decision.

“I think Georgia has a really good staff,” Arch Manning said. “They are just coming off a national championship. There are a lot of good players. Especially on defense. You saw last year they were surrounded by talent. 15 NFL Draft picks. There is a lot to like about Georgia.”

To that point, it’s why Sarkisian was brought in. Not specifically for Manning but rather his ability to get the most out of quarterbacks in particular. Consider his work with both Mac Jones and Tua Tagvailoa. The two quarterbacks signed in the same recruiting cycle and both followed their own path to being first-round picks. Quinn Ewers, who was the Manning type-prospect before Manning, will be worth watching for Texas this year to see how he plays in Sarkisian’s system.

Related: Nation’s No. 1 prospect Arch Manning has set the dates set for three big official visits

For all of Smart’s success at Georgia, he has not yet developed a first-round quarterback. The hope is that the longer Todd Monken stays in Athens, the sooner that is rectified. Like Sarkisian, Monken has experience as an NFL offensive coordinator. He’s proven to be a difference-maker for Georgia, as his offense averaged 38.6 points per game last season.

“I’ve been reached out to by coaches and GMs that they’ve been impressed with our guys’ practice habits, demeanor, the way they carry themselves - those are all things we try to teach at Georgia,” Smart said back in February.

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