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Arch Manning commits to Texas

Steve Sarkisian fended off Georgia and Alabama to land one of the most sought-after recruits ever. Now he's got to keep him.

It's not every day that a United States Senator gleefully tweets out the news of a high school football player's commitment, but this is not any high school football player. Arch Manning -- grandson of Archie, nephew of Peyton and Eli, heir to the throne of football's preeminent quarterbacking dynasty -- committed to Texas on Thursday.

The news is, obviously, monumental for Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee. Manning is the type of recruit upon which careers are built.

Coming off a 5-7 season, Sarkisian and company just bested Georgia and Alabama -- along with the rest of college football -- for the No. 1 player in the class of 2023. 

“From the beginning of their recruitment. from the first Zoom he had with Sark, it was a real connection between the two,” Isidore Newman High School head coach Nelson Stewart told 247. “I think the authenticity, getting to know him and the extension of A.J. Milwee.”

The Manning commitment is the capstone for how Sarkisian has overhauled his program since a disastrous debut season, one that saw a 4-1 start and a double-digit second half lead over Oklahoma dissolve into a 6-game losing streak, the program's longest since the 1950s, and one that included a home setback to Kansas.

Sarkisian signed the No. 5 class in 2022, including a 7-man offensive line haul led by 5-star tackle Kelvin Banks and 5-star guard Devon Campbell. Not included in that group was transfer Quinn Ewers. Ewers' decommitment from Texas in October 2020 was the beginning of the end of the Tom Herman era in Austin. After a reclassifying from the 2022 class to 2021, Ewers spent a year at Ohio State and then transferred to Texas. (Trivia: three QBs have earned perfect 1.000 scores in the 20-year-old 247Sports database -- Vince Young, Ewers, and Manning.)

Manning is expected to be the catalyst of a top-5 2023 class for Texas.

Off the field, Sarkisian did not retain wide receivers coach Andre Coleman (the lone holdover from the Herman staff) and replaced him with 34-year-old Brennan Marion from Pittsburgh. When Stan Drayton landed Temple's head coaching job, Sarkisian hired 37-year-old Tashard Choice away from USC. He retained a defensive staff that produced some of the worst numbers in program history in their first season together, but hired Gary Patterson to audit the program behind the scenes

Sarkisian's second team will bear very little resemblance to his first. Manning likely would have committed to Texas last fall had the Longhorns not faltered in October and November, but he won the recruitment anyway.

Now, Sark and company have to keep him.

Manning isn't the type of recruit to look around, but his other options are simply too good, and his future is simply too bright, to believe he'd actually sign with Texas in the event the Longhorns stumble on the field once again. 

Following his 5-7 debut, Sarkisian has assembled the necessary pieces to do the job he was hired to do: upgrading the program from a top-20 outfit it was under Herman into a nationally elite one. Now it's time to go play like it.