A recent headline in one of the home state newspapers and its accompanying website for the best football rookie of 2023 recently stated “Why Clemson Needs Arch Manning More Than His Other Potential Suitors “.
Koki Riley, a writer for the Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, Louisiana (part of USA TODAY Sports Network) located 135 miles from Isidore Newman School in Manning, New Orleans, probably didn’t attract many happy reviews from fans across the state, especially those just 55 miles near LSU’s Baton Rouge campus.
Manning is being touted as an unmissable program change prospect, and the recruiting battle already fought at full speed well before his final year has been fierce.
The hype has grown so big due to his size, talent and obvious lineage as a royal quarterback, it has been suggested that Manning is on such a meteoric career arc that it suggests he’s as close of a sure thing that a college player at the post from a pair of former superstars in Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Andrew Luck of Stanford.
The two were then drafted No. 1 overall.
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Every time and everywhere it is revealed that Manning will be visiting a specific campus for a Saturday game adds another level of excitement, as he did on October 30 among the pre-game tailgaters when he returned for watch Clemson defeat the state of Florida. It was the first time he had returned to campus since early June when he received rave reviews after an afternoon of work at coach Dabo Swinney’s camp.
Allen Drawdy, a Rock Hill fan, said ahead of the victory over the Seminoles: “That last name is absolutely familiar, and those genes are good, so you know we’re going to have a good player if we can get him back. hope we can attract him. That would be pretty cool. “
In addition to Clemson, Manning has attended games in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas with these five schools seen as the early leaders, although Manning has been totally silent on any sort of pecking order and said that ‘he wasn’t likely to make a decision until at least the summer. Nearby LSU remains a wildcard at this point with the departure of coach Ed Orgeron at the end of this season.
Riley’s take is that after nearly six seasons combined of Deshaun Watson and Lawrence with a one-year hiatus between the two in 2017, when Kelly Bryant led the Tigers to a third consecutive playoff appearance, Clemson suddenly sorely lacking a quarterback.
Right now, he’s not entirely wrong.
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Second-year quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has had a surprisingly tough season after playing a two-game stint for Lawrence last year, which has shown all the promise of a successful and seamless transition to the role. fulltime.
Instead, the Tigers are already out of the four-team playoff table after a six-year streak in the playoffs, competing in four national championships and winning two. Uiagalelei is 10th in the ACC for passing yards per game (167.9) and 12th for completion percentage (56.2%). Only one quarterback threw less than his seven touchdown passes (to go with six interceptions) and he is last in passing efficiency (109.2).
âThis is where Manning could come in,â writes Riley. “Clemson fans should hope so. They need him more than any of his other potential suitors. Because in 2021 things have changed.”
While bringing Manning on board is certainly something that will remain in the hopes and dreams of Clemson fans until he officially makes his decision, his high level of recruiting is no guarantee of greatness and at the same time. minus part of the level of fervor given to him is due to his legendary last name.
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The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Uiagalelei was also considered a must-see when he arrived on campus as the nation’s No.1 quarterback and 10th overall prospect in the 247Sports Composite. Clemson also secured an engagement in early March from Austin, Texas star Cade Klubnik, who is the current No.1 quarterback in the current recruiting round and 21st overall prospect.
Klubnik returned from a month lost to injury on Friday to throw three touchdowns and run for two in a Westlake High School victory.
“He got injured four weeks ago, went to rehab and here he is,” Westlake coach Todd Dodge told KXAN, an Austin television station. “He was ready to go. That doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s who he is.”
Riley argues that “Clemson’s football hasn’t been the same since” Watson and Lawrence left and “Manning, however, could change that. Open the door for another great quarterback to take the reins and lead Clemson to a fourth national title. “
He adds that Manning “has the ability to elevate any program on his own.”
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When Uiagalelei first came to Clemson, he was presented in much the same fashion and had a much better height and rocket arm. He completed 59 of 85 passes for 781 yards and had six touchdowns (two rushing) in two starts last year against Boston College and at No.4 Notre Dame. His 439 yards against the Fighting Irish are a record for an opposing quarterback at home.
Is this year just an outlier for him, perhaps just a great talent who has lost confidence or is not surrounded by an equal level of offensive playmakers who previously filled Clemson’s roster?
Or will Uiagalelei’s performance be pretty much his standard going forward?
Is Clemson’s season just a rare puzzle that has happened in recent seasons in all programs not named Alabama? Or are the Tigers really coming back to the field after an incredible six years?
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And as good as Watson is, he was only ranked as the 42nd best prospect nationally in 2014, despite being the first overall in his post. The 247Sports Composite numbers have Watson as Clemson’s only No.38 rookie in history. That’s way behind No.1 Trevor Lawrence, Klubnik (if he were to eventually sign) at No.22 of all time and even Tajh Boyd (class 2009) at 28th.
There are always prospects that a large majority will claim to excel 100% at the college level. The kind of players Swinney has long called bring them to campus and âjust open the box, no assembly requiredâ speaking of Sammy Watkins and Christian Wilkins.
Neither Watson nor Lawrence started their freshman seasons as a starter although it didn’t take long for them to land the starring role.
For now, Manning’s final presence on one of the programs that will stand for his long-term signing is something fans have every right to fantasize about in such a scenario.
As to whether he turns out to be a savior for a program, the uncertainty of recruiting makes it impossible to tell.