Since Colt McCoy injured his right shoulder in the first quarter of the 2009 national championship game in Pasadena, the Longhorns have been searching for their next great quarterback.
McCoy, who followed the legendary Vince Young, was succeeded by Garrett Gilbert, then brother Case McCoy, then David Ash. Then came Tyrone Swoopes, Jerrod Heard, Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger, who took Texas to the Sugar Bowl win in 2018 before famously proclaiming that the Longhorns were “back.”
It was a bit premature, as Texas slumped to a combined record of 15-8 in its next two season under Ehlinger before Hudson Card and Casey Thompson took the reins in 2021 in Steve Sarkisian’s first year at the helm — a season that yielded an underwhelming 5-7 record and more questions than answers.
The outlook was already beginning to look brighter with the return of Southlake Carroll product Quinn Ewers, but the biggest moment in modern Texas recruiting history came on June 23 when Arch Manning — the No. 1 2023 QB prospect in the country — chose to verbally commit to the 40 Acres.
Manning is the son of Cooper Manning and the grandson of Archie Manning, as well as a nephew to both Peyton and Eli Manning, who have won a combined four Super Bowls between the two of them.
Arch was the most sought-after signal caller in the nation this offseason, and he spurned both Alabama and Georgia while ultimately picking Texas. The 6-foot-4 senior, who attends Newman High School in New Orleans, has made headlines for years as teams lined up at his door for a shot to sign the potential star with impeccable lineage.
The Longhorns nabbed their target in preparation for the 2022 season, which is set to feature a QB battle between Ewers and Card. Manning, the heir apparent, will soon continue a family tradition by playing in the Southeastern Conference, as Texas is set to make the move from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2025 along with rival Oklahoma.
Sarkisian’s history of working with high-profile QBs like Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones and Matt Leinart were surely part of his sales pitch to Manning, and Sarkisian’s stint as offensive coordinator of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons didn’t hurt, either.
So are the glory days officially back in Austin? As Lee Corso would say, not so fast, my friend. But for one weekday in June at least, the Longhorns were back on top of the college football world — and the main topic of nationwide conversation.
Texas fans are hoping the hype will eventually lead to another Heisman candidate, as well as the type of consistency that they got accustomed to during the tenures of both Young and McCoy.
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