03 May

Why Quinn Ewers will remain atop Texas QB depth chart despite Arch Manning shining in 2024 spring game

After a quiet true freshman season, Arch Manning was thrust back into the limelight during Texas’ spring game on Saturday. The former No. 1 overall prospect stole the show while completing 19 of his 26 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, incumbent starter Quinn Ewers only played two series with the offense before giving way to younger options.

That in mind, let’s make one thing clear: There’s no QB controversy in Austin, Texas. No matter how great Manning performed, Ewers is well-seated as the featured act in a deep Texas quarterback room. His continued development and comfortability in Texas’ offense have made sure of that.

“To the outside world, it may look like, ‘Wow, Arch is closing the gap on Quinn Ewers,'” Horns247’s Chip Brown told CBS Sports. “Inside that quarterback room, the thought process is, okay, Quinn Ewers is one of the top quarterbacks in college football, and if he has to miss time, Arch Manning looks like a quarterback who could come in and win a game or two like Maalik Murphy did last year.”

It would be hard for anybody to usurp a player like Ewers, even if his main competition is a former No. 1 overall prospect with a football bloodline that includes a grandfather in the College Football Hall of Fame and two uncles — one of which is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame — that won a combined four Super Bowls as quarterbacks. After a shaky 2022 season with the Longhorns, Ewers led his team to a Big 12 title and an appearance in the College Football Playoff last season while throwing for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns.

“Sarkisian is just a massive proponent of playing second- and third-year quarterbacks, and so he knew he was going to take some pain in Quinn’s first year,” Brown said. “There were ups, there were downs … Then it got better, obviously, last year. He had the three-turnover game against Oklahoma, but he finished that game 26-of-28 passing. And so by the time they get to the end of the year, he’s killing it.”

Despite Manning’s insistence that he has no intentions of leaving via the transfer portal, there’s always some level of concern given the modern college football environment and Manning’s pedigree, which would lend itself to a starting opportunity at multiple programs around the nation. No one around Texas is expecting that outcome, though.

“Arch Manning did not want to go somewhere where he would have to be the savior,” Brown said. “He wanted to be able to grow and enjoy the process. Sarkisian laid that out for him and he liked that idea, so everything that’s playing out right now is going exactly according to the way that Arch Manning and Arch Manning’s family thought it would.”

So, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Manning fans will have to wait at least another year to see him play meaningful snaps in the burnt orange. Until then, enticing peeks at the future — like the spring game — will have to suffice.

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