Is Alabama the right choice for #1 recruit Arch Manning?

Per RJ Young
Football Writer at FOX Sports College

Last September, Nick Saban joined Peyton and Eli Manning for a chat during Monday Night Football. while watching ex Alabama quarterback Jalen hurts play against Dallas CowboysSaban took the opportunity to deliver a subtle on-air recruiting speech.

“I wish I was training in Alabama when Peyton and Eli Manning were recruits so you could play for the Tide,” Saban said. “I would love to train a member of the Manning family.”

For anyone who lives under a rock, Peyton and Eli are uncles to New Orleans high school quarterback Arch Manning, the #1 player of the class of 2023 and the most awarded recruit of the past two recruiting cycles.

Manning is making an official visit to Alabama this weekend after visiting Georgia last week. He will visit Texas next weekend for his last official visit of the month.

Manning has the skills that Saban coveted in the second half of his Alabama tenure: he’s precise, mobile, smart and humble. It’s also worth mentioning that Arch, who could earn millions by licensing his name, likeness, and likeness, said he doesn’t want to be a part of marketing for money in college. He just wants to play.

And boy, can he play.

After Saban watched Heisman winner Johnny Manziel dance across the Crimson Tide defense in 2012, the Bama coach decided he wanted a quarterback who could do that too.

His offensive coordinator at the time, Lane Kiffin, began recruiting elite athletic quarterbacks. Since then, we’ve seen Blake Sims, Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Bryce Young demonstrate just how dangerous the Tide can be offensively, even when the game breaks because the quarterback is a threat to run.

Saban also switched to an attacking style that was less about ball control and more about increasing the score. Over the past five seasons, Alabama averaging over 40 points per game has become an expectation, and the QB no longer manages but actually appears on offense.

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Heisman winner Young is the latest embodiment of Saban’s attack, and Manning’s skill set is similar. In fact, until earlier this month, it would be fair to say that Saban had the best chance of landing Manning.

Then Saban clinched a QB in the class of 2023: Louisiana native Eli Holstein is an excellent prospect in his own right, and he can more than play the Tuscaloosa position if given the chance.

With another QB in his class already committed to the Tide, Manning might not think he’d actually get the nod like Young did in 2021. It also speaks to how some players feel not about the show, but about each other.

Mac Jones got the ticket and hitched a ride behind Tagovailoa, despite being in the same autograph class. It worked out for both of them, but there was also no pressure for Jones to play right away.

Prior to the 2020 season, most believed Young would be the week 1 starter as a true rookie. Instead, Jones led Alabama to a 13-0 record and their sixth national title in 12 years.

If you’re Manning, why risk not playing in Tuscaloosa? Why wait your turn if you don’t have to?

Is Alabama a good fit for Arch Manning?

Is Alabama a good fit for Arch Manning?

RJ Young discusses Alabama’s recruitment of the nation’s No. 1 prospect, Arch Manning. RJ explains why Alabama might not be the best option for Manning if he wants to play as soon as possible.

Fans often want to accuse players of being afraid of competition, rather than discussing a player’s decision to commit or not, whether to transfer or not, as a business decision. If you can be the best somewhere with less competition and still achieve your goal – first-round selection, win a national title – then why choose the higher road? resistance?

There’s an argument to be made that picking Alabama is best for Manning because the Tide has proven over the past 15 years that the best prospects in the NFL Draft come from Tuscaloosa. Then there’s an argument that might appeal to Arch more: does he want to be the last of a string of exceptional players to leave Alabama and be on a team that has won a national title ring for every player who has signed with the Tide since then? 2007?

Or does he want to become a legend?

RJ Young is a national college football writer and analyst for FOX Sports and host of the podcast “The Show No. 1 Ranked with RJ Young.” Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Youngand sign “The RJ Jovem Show” on YouTube. He’s not on a StepMill.


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