Does Arch Manning live up to the hype? To his family’s legacy?
The high school sophomore — the nephew of Peyton and Eli, and grandson of Archie — makes his national TV debut Thursday night (9 p.m., ESPN2) when the star quarterback’s Louisiana’s Isidore Newman faces KIPP Booker T. Washington.
Already projected to follow the footsteps created by the most famous football family in the country, Arch has started this season by completing 27-of-37 passes for 463 yards, with six touchdowns and one interception. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound sophomore has already been offered numerous scholarships and is ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the country in the Class of 2023.
Isidore Newman coach Nelson Stewart, who played with Peyton and Cooper Manning — a star receiver before a neck injury ended his football career — said the teenager already sees the game as if he’s played as long as he’s lived.
“He’s not just one thing and he’s not a system quarterback,” Stewart told ESPN. “If you need him to run zone reads, he can do it. You see him scramble and can find someone in the back of the end zone, throw it 25 yards on a rope, and he can just spot-throw the points when he’s moving around.
“That’s where the special part of it comes, that he just has the innate ability that most people his age don’t have.”
Most people his age also don’t have access to multiple Super Bowl MVPs in their blood.
“Arch is his own entity,” Stewart said. “That’s one thing we tell him is, you be yourself. What a great resource he has with his uncles, grandfather and dad that can work with him and help, but as a sophomore, I would hope no one would put that label on him because there’s so much growth still to happen. We let Arch be Arch, let him be a sophomore.
“The Manning name is the first thing you see when you walk through the gates; he’s No. 16 and he’s a quarterback. But he’s his own individual. That’s the magic of him, that he keeps his head down, always gives credit to his teammates, and everything is done quietly with him because that’s who he is.”