Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep will begin our coverage from a few days in New Orleans watching 5-star QB target Arch Manning. He ranks as the nation’s No. 1 QB and the No. 1 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- DawgNation has been in Louisiana this week. Watching Arch Manning for a few spring practice days for Isidore Newman School.
The fuss? Worth it. But not really for the obvious reason of his last name.
RELATED: What makes Arch Manning the man beyond that famous last name
That’s because a visit to Newman is something. The big No. 18 sign that hangs off the outer wall of the school Tuohy gymnasium cannot be missed. That gym was named after legendary Newman coach “Skeets” Tuohy.
If that last name also sounds familiar, his son’s family inspired the best-selling book and the box office hit “The Blind Side” that was released in 2009.
That is appropriate because a lot of things at Newman are connected to something famous like that. Like the Manning boys that Archie sent to Newman in the 1990s.
That big jersey on the side of the Tuohy gym lists these names that wore No. 18 for Newman:
- Cooper Manning ‘92
- Peyton Manning ‘94
- Eli Manning ‘99
It makes the place seem like football’s version of Iowa cornfields when it comes to quarterbacking and football. That’s probably too much, but I wouldn’t disparage any opinion like that.
A fitting tribute to the No. 18 jersey hangs above the football field on the Tuohy gymnasium at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
That’s not the only fitting tribute to the Mannings at ground zero of Newman football.
To walk onto the football field, one must pass through a pair of iron gates. The top of those gates decree: Manning Family Athletic Complex. It was the sort of thing that gets a writer thinking about Iowa corn and fields from our dreams.
Football royalty? The first family of Quarterbacking? It does feel like it. Those gates actually bring to mind the notion of a queue for a ride at Disney or Universal. While one waits for the main attraction.
Yet this observer was there to see the next Manning QB prep for his senior year at Newman. If Arch leaves his own professional mark on the game, then maybe that Iowa cornfield stuff will make more sense.
Those things were like 18-20 feet long. Some of the biggest cars ever built. Can’t you remember Grandpa talking those things up in the Reagan era? Those cars were so big and long. Seemingly sturdy enough to roll right through the small-town banks, courthouses and jails from 50 years ago. (A friend shared that description of that type of car once. That’s what came to mind.)
It will be very hard to get Arch on the ground once those wheels start rolling this fall.
That classic car metaphor feels right. After all, this Manning recruiting story will include no camps, no social media “blessed” offers or Elite 11 or Rivals or Under Armour prospect camps. The Manning family has wanted this recruitment to resemble a college prospect’s recruitment from 40 or 50 years prior.
So a “Caprice Classic” recruitment it is.
He was named after his legendary grandpa Archie and the risky player parallel game takes one to a mixture of his grandpa and another big name. This one wasn’t expected as he will be forever linked to the two other all-time greats with their names on the Tuohy Gymnasium.
That would be NFL Hall of Famer John Elway. His strong arm is not Elway’s arm. At least not yet.
Let’s be serious: Maybe only eight passers in the history of the game have had that arm and mobility.
But it is just the look. The look and the frame and the stature and composure that says “Aw shucks” all the while this quarterback stuff is terrifically hard.
But he’s making it all look a lot easier than it actually is.
Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com "Before the Hedges" program is available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download it.
5-star QB Arch Manning is the nation's no. 1 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
The 30-something things to know about Arch Manning
As the title suggests, there are many things that are self-evident while watching Manning in action for a few days. It is hard to keep track of them all, but here’s a decent sample size.
- Watching Arch warm up and throw these terms come readily to mind: Barrel-chested. Broad. Thick. The release is tight and short. He gets the ball out very fast. He is deadly accurate on certain throws. It is a clean repeatable delivery.
- Here’s the No. 1 reason why he COULD play early at an Alabama, a Georgia, a Texas or maybe a wild card: Ball placement. He fits the ball into very tight windows. Doesn’t matter the coverage. Doesn’t matter the route. Doesn’t matter if his receiver has beignet-sized arms. He’s going to squeeze that in the spot between his Greenie and the defender. His guy is the only one that can get it.
- Newman is a land-locked campus. To say the least. Parking is an absolute mess on side streets every day. It gets even harder on Friday nights. They are at least two major above-the-ground cemeteries within pitching wedges from the 50-yard line. Think of the show “QB1″ but with the backdrop of an Anne Rice novel. Or maybe John Berendt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” with it all.
- An informal poll around the team: Arch is no worst than the second-fastest, the second-tallest and the second-strongest guy among the Greenies. He’s the quarterback, though. The guy that also has the Manning smarts and the Manning arm that was born to play the position.
- The most competitive? That is Arch. No need to figure out the second-place guy there.
- Another poll: Arch is a great young man. The word “sweet” is used often, but his teammates really echo that. They feel he’s the type of person that deserves all this God-given talent and can shoulder the wow-that’s-a-lot-of-pressure from that last name.
- Some of his big throws have been to players that do not appear to belong in Newman’s top rotation of receivers. The zip of his ball caroms off their hands or they can’t get to the spot he’s thrown it to.
- Arch leads. All the time. Newman has practice periods like every high school program. The team has head coach Nelson Stewart on a microphone conducting it all. They are expected to sprint to every new drill period. He not only does that but is out in front leading the pack every time. When they sprint to the sidelines for a quick shot of water, he is always right out in front. Always.
- His last name is Manning, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had an occasional high throw. Some balls have hit the ground. Take a breath. It is okay. When that happens, it usually means the next 14 or 15 balls are going to be what any coach anywhere would want to see.
- When he really throws a pass, he’s piping it in there without looking like he is piping it in there. It does not look like he’s red-lining his effort. Even when he might be. That’s not the easiest thing to do.
- When you watch practice, he is everywhere. Talking to everyone. Freshman receiver. Junior varsity linemen. That guy might be the backup holder. Those are the student trainers. That is probably the landscaper or the school’s grounds crew expert.
- He makes a point to be available and around and plugged into his squad. It even feels more like he is drawing guys into the middle of his squad.
- There are guys that have the juice and players that share their juice to charge up others. Arch Manning is one of those quarterbacks. Newman’s offensive line has been leveled with early spring injuries this week. It looks like Arch has been propping up a few of those next-man-up Greenies this week.
- There is a vibe around the team when it comes to his recruiting. This stuff is hard for him. It will be a tough decision. That said, no one is really sweating things like official visits and commitment timelines and big decision days. Newman football seems to be his only priority right now.
- Newman’s spring practice will end on May 20. The month of June looks to be pretty busy for him. He’s thinking about taking officials to Alabama, Georgia and Texas that month. Florida and LSU are also on his mind. How will he fit all of those visits in?
- There is also the annual Manning Passing Academy event in June. That’s a must for him there, too. That seems like a lot of events that will take the weekend priority away from Newman football. I wonder how busy the month of June is actually going to be for him.
- Newman’s backup quarterback has the first name of Eli. That will just make you laugh. Can’t make that up. Eli Friend is a pretty good high school QB in his own right.
- It is interesting to see that Arch’s younger brother, Heid, is a first-string offensive lineman. Heid is not built like a classic car but he was the Newman center last season. Taking a look at his reps this week, it looks like he will shift over to guard or at least play a lot there this fall.
- With all this talk about his arm, the standout Arch visual has to be his legs and lower body. If you are building a QB, this is your guy. He looks like he is 6-foot-1 with the way he is proportioned but he is actually pushing 6 feet, 5 inches. Manning will tip the scales at 220 pounds. Give or take a few.
- Watching him work for a few days, his ball had very good zip later in the week. The third day of spring practice is when his ball should be suffering from early throws. He makes a lot of throws at practice. It has to be in the hundreds. Any QB’s arm needs time to adjust to getting back into the football grind. Yet some of his very best throws of the week were on Wednesday.
- The Alabama staff sent two coaches to watch Newman on Monday. There are varying schools of thought out there right now about how much the Tide is actually in it. Georgia Southern had an assistant in on Wednesday. A lot of the Louisiana programs have been in all week. It is believed that Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken will be in town later this week.
- Monken and offensive staffer Buster Faulkner have done a remarkable job with the Manning recruitment up to this point. Can’t stress that enough.
- The best story on the Newman team? It might be first-year offensive coordinator Logan Kilgore. He was on the Arkansas State staff last season. From college ball back to high school? Kilgore is beyond sharp and should be on a college staff somewhere. He can help any team far more than just a talent to carry around seven or eight footballs at one time.
- Kilgore’s story is incredible. He didn’t play any high school ball really. As the story goes, he was second-string behind a coach’s kid. So he walked on at a junior college. He wasn’t really invited to. He was probably advised not to walk on. Didn’t matter. He walked on, won the job and then earned a scholarship to play QB at Middle Tennessee.
- His name is all over the career passing records at Middle Tennessee. He has the school record in career touchdown passes (53) and then he played five seasons in the Canadian Football League.
- That is just another example of Arch being in the right place at the right time. Kilgore, this beat-all-the-odds college QB, is the one putting the gas in the Caprice. Arch is that talented and now he has THAT guy making him better. The genetics blessing is topped off with another power-up. How does a guy like Arch have Grandpa, his Dad, his uncles and then a guy like Kilgore in his corner every day helping him maximize his immense talent?
- The school mascot is the Greenies. The backside of the Newman helmet does have the script “Mean Machine” above the neck. As far as QBs go, I’m going to take Arch over Paul Krewe for my “Mean Machine” team seven days of the week.
- The offensive line coach at Newman, Jason Mathews, is a petroleum engineer. His published bio reflects that he is currently the Chief of the Office of Safety Management (OSM) for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Office - Regional Field Operations, U.S. Department of the Interior, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- There might be only one other O-line coach in the world with that on their resume. Might. Mathews is also good at bird-dogging where to eat locally and avoiding the tourist food traps. There’s a guy at Newman who works for the U.S. Department of the Interior. He leads Newman’s Department of the Interior on offense.
- Saint Villere is one of the go-to receivers for Manning at Newman. He’s on the shorter side, but stocky, tough and fast. The Newman program is all about nicknames. He goes by “Tweeter” and it fits. He is a very good high school receiver. Someone has seen the classic “Varsity Blues” movie a few times. Again, just can’t make that stuff up. Saint is a funny guy, but I don’t think he’s capable of stealing a Caprice Classic for a small-town Texas police chase for grins and giggles. Not like “Tweeter” from that beloved movie.
For much more on Manning this week, keep checking back to DawgNation.com.
5-star QB Arch Manning is the nation's no. 1 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Jeff Sentell / DawgNation)
Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with UGA names like Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockon and Brock Vandagriff here.
(check on the recent reads on DawgNation.com)