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Texas reportedly working to add David Cutcliffe to off-field staff

The former Duke head coach could be a key card in the high-stakes poker game for Arch Manning's commitment.
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Texas is working to add former Duke head coach David Cutcliffe to its off-field staff, Chris Hummer reported for 247Sports on Monday.

If completed, the move would be made for one player and one player only -- a player who happens to be a junior in high school right now.

Cutcliffe, who stepped down as Duke's head coach in November, has a relationship with the Manning family going back nearly 30 years. Cut was the reason Peyton spurned Ole Miss for Tennessee in 1994. 

Developing Peyton into the No. 1 pick landed Cutcliffe the head coaching job at Ole Miss, where he then signed Eli Manning. Again, Cutcliffe molded a Manning into a No. 1 pick.

Both Mannings continued seeking Cutcliffe's advice throughout their Hall of Fame NFL careers, regularly retreating to Durham each offseason for throwing sessions. Here the trio is sitting for an interview with 60 Minutes Sports back in 2014.

And as the Manning Quarterbacking Dynasty enters its third generation, Steve Sarkisian is working to separate himself in the race for Arch Manning, the No. 1 player in the class of 2023.

Recruiting experts peg the March for Arch as Texas running neck and neck with Georgia and Alabama, with Ole Miss on the periphery.

For Alabama and Georgia, the appeal is obvious. Georgia is the reigning national champion, Alabama the 2020 champion and the reigning runner-up. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart do not have the track record of developing quarterbacks like a Sarkisian and a Cutcliffe, but they've got plenty of skins on the wall at other positions, enough to credibly argue they can get Arch to No. 1 in the 2025 or '26 draft -- while virtually guaranteeing a national championship and all that comes with that.

Sarkisian, though, has to work harder. He does have a track record of quarterback development going all the way back to Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez at USC and Jake Locker at Washington. Sarkisian can even claim credit for Saban's best Crimson Tide quarterbacks to date, since he either developed them (Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones) or recruited them (Bryce Young).

What Sark can't argue, though, is success as a head coach. He arrived in Austin with a 46-35 record, and then went 5-7 in his first season at Texas. 

So, to do battle with the two premier programs in the nation for the crown jewel of all crown jewels, Sark is going all-in on quarterback development. (If the move happens, you count on Saban and Kirby spinning the move as desperate and a tacit admission from Sark he'll never win at their respective levels.) 

More than any family in football, the Mannings will have their eyes on the ultimate prize. Uncle Peyton and Uncle Eli netted more than $420 million in career earnings combined and won two Super Bowls apiece. Both were No. 1 picks, and both will be first ballot Hall of Famers. Winning a College Football Playoff championship would be nice, but it's not the ultimate goal. With proper development and good health, Arch Manning should be bank at least $500 million in on-field earnings alone by his 40th birthday. With proper investment advice, Arch could very well be a billionaire someday.

That is the real poker game going on here, and Steve Sarkisian is going all-in as all-in gets. Will it be enough to combat Saban and Kirby? 


How easy it is for QwikCut users to swap files with Hudl users - Shane Boggs