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Arch Manning’s Commitment Puts Quinn Ewers in a Pressure Cooker

With some surprise, but a move that always seemed possible, Arch Manning has committed to play football at Texas.

Longhorn fans are rightfully ecstatic, and should be overcome with optimism about what the next 4 years could bring with Ewers and Manning in line.

The only problem is now the pressure on Quinn Ewers increases to try to avoid a potential battle between two of the highest-rated quarterbacks in recruiting history.

 

What a Problem to Have: Ewers vs. Manning

First off, this is a great problem for Texas to have, while you can’t blame Texas’s struggles over the last dozen years on talent, they do have a history of letting in-state quarterbacks go to other Texas schools in that time. Johnny Manziel went to A&M, Robert Griffin III to Baylor, Patrick Mahomes to Texas Tech, and Kyler Murray started in College Station before making the move to Norman.

That’s a lot of QB talent from Texas electing to go to other schools instead of the one who should own the state. Unfortunately for UT, many times the Longhorns just overlooked them. Yes, Sam Ehlinger was a quality QB, but he wasn’t at the level as any of those previous four.

But that tide has turned, and has turned rapidly, as two of the highest ranked QB prospects in history have now committed to Texas in the space of six months.

 

It’s important to understand the timeline with both these QBs, Ewers should be in Austin for 2022, and 2023 before likely entering the NFL draft after the 2023 season. Arch Manning will enroll at UT in 2023, and should have that year plus 2024, and 2025 in Austin before heading to the NFL. That means the 2023 UT QB room will have both Ewers and Manning, and therefore a potential problem. 

Now, if Ewers and Texas have a great year, there’ll be no controversy. Arch will get some time in 2023, but he’ll sit and wait to be the starter in 2024. However, if it’s an underwhelming season in Austin there’ll be controversy, and lots of it. Some people will say Manning will be happy to sit and learn the system for a season, and while I think that’s the case if Ewers plays well. There’s no chance that if there’s an opening, that someone who’s been a starter since he began playing football, and is the No. 1 player in his class would just accept sitting when there’s an opening to start. That means the pressure is on Quinn Ewers now to cement his place as the starter.

 

2022 Season Could Decide 2023’s Starting Quarterback in Austin

What compounds the pressure is that it’s a tough six-week stretch to start out the 2022 season. Now, yes he gets to get his feet wet against Louisiana Monroe, but then it’s a date with Alabama, which is no offense to Texas or Ewers, but good luck. Credit to UT for scheduling the game, they certainly aren’t looking to take the easy way out, but a guy making his second career start against that Alabama defense is tough. Now no matter how they play against Alabama there’s a true trap game looming next, after the nation watches them play Alabama, they get to play little old satellite school UTSA, before getting into conference play. The problem is this is a UTSA team that went 12-2 last year, a program on a sharp rise, that may be looking at a Big 12 expansion play, and has never played Texas before, and will be ready for the opportunity. Plus they’ll have a couple opportunities to get ready with a date with Houston then a trip to West Point. No, UTSA won’t have a great defense but they’ll be able to score and Ewers is going to need to be able to put up points in that game.

Now for the second part of that six week stretch they get into conference play, and they start with their first road trip, that just happens to be to Lubbock, with a Texas Tech crowd who definitely won’t be friendly. Add to that Texas leaving the Big 12, and the fact Ewers considered Texas Tech before going to Austin, that’s a tough first college road game to start. Then he gets J.T. Daniels and West Virginia before the Red River Rivalry the next week. Drop one of those and lose to OU, and now you’re falling out of the Big 12 race quickly, and all the hype around Ewers and Texas will fade quickly, and maybe the last six games go well, and I’d expect them too. But would a 5-1 last 6 games with a 3-3 start, no conference title, and a final 8-4 record really be enough for Ewers to lock down the job before Manning comes in? I doubt it.

It’s a rich man’s problem to have, but the writing is clear that if Ewers wants to cement himself as the man for 2023, and avoid a major QB battle, he needs to do something this year, and the first six games could determine it all. Is it fair for a first time starter to have his first six games come with so much scrutiny? No. But it’s major college football, and that’s the schedule he got, and the time for him to succeed or fail will come early on.

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