Texas Quinn Ewers vs. Arch Manning Among the 5 Juiciest QB Battles of the Spring
The Texas Longhorns had their first spring practice on Monday, and coach Steve Sarkisian didn’t back away from a compelling quarterback competition between returning starter Quinn Ewers and incoming true freshman Arch Manning.
“I’m not worried about who’s going to be on the cover of what magazine next week,” Sarkisian said. “I’m more focused on is, is each guy focusing on what they need to do to develop to be the best player that they can be? Quinn has an entire year of a head start, but I don’t want to hold Arch back. I want to see how far he can take this thing and what it can look like.”
The standard in modern recruiting at the quarterback position was Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, whose 247Sports Composite Rating was 0.9999. We’re talking a five-star among five stars.
Coming out of Southlake, Texas, Ewers earned the highest possible rating of 1.000 as a member of the Class of 2022 before the Ohio State commit reclassified to the Class of 2021. The reclassification and relaxed transfer rules opened the door for a return home where Ewers was expected to bring the Longhorns back to prominence.
Fast forward to 2023, and Ewers isn’t guaranteed the starting role this season. That’s what happens when a Manning is brought into the fold. While Arch didn’t rate as high as Ewers as a recruit (0.9995), he’s right up there with any high school football player in terms of hype.
An up-and-down 2022 season by Ewers paved the way for a competition between the two big-name quarterbacks. Talent-wise, he flashed the high ceiling we heard about but lacked the consistency you’d expect from such a highly-ranked player.
That said, he showed flashes of brilliance, including a red-hot start against Alabama before he was injured. It’s also unclear how healthy Ewers was upon his return. Fair or not, with Manning enrolled early, even if it’s Ewers’s job to lose, he will have to compete for the starting gig.
Texas’s spring game is scheduled for Saturday, April 15, at DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium.
No other competition quite has the star power of Ewers vs. Manning, but there is no shortage of compelling QB battles going into the spring.
Top Spring Quarterback Battles to Watch
Georgia: When the two-time defending national champs have to replace their starting quarterback, that’s a big deal. It’s starting as a three-horse race in Athens. Five-star recruit Brock Vandagriff (2021) has been waiting his turn but has serious competition in four-stars Gunner Stockton (2022) and Carson Beck (2020), who has the edge in experience.
UGA Spring Game: April 15
Alabama: Anytime Nick Saban is looking for his quarterback, it’s intriguing. We saw Jalen Milroe in 2022, and he averaged 8.5 yards per carry but completed just 58.5 percent of his attempts with five TD passes to three INTs filling in for Bryce Young. He may start with a slight edge but will have to hold off five-star Ty Simpson, who has the higher ceiling as a passer.
Alabama Spring Game: April 22
Ohio State: Like the Dawgs and Tide, the Buckeyes are a perennial national title contender replacing a multiyear starter at quarterback. This was supposed to be the year Ewers took over in Columbus. Instead, it will come down to top-50 recruit Devin Brown (2022) and five-star Kyle McCord (2021), who is favored to reunite with HS teammate Marvin Harrison Jr.
OSU Spring Game: April 15
Ole Miss: The Rebels aren’t the next-best team with a QB competition, but they have not one, not two, but three transfers (!), all vying to be the Portal King’s quarterback. There’s Jaxson Dart (USC), who started for Ole Miss in 2021, Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma St.), who has accounted for 85 touchdowns; and Walker Howard (LSU), a top-40 recruit in 2022.
Ole Miss Spring Game: April 15