After resetting and getting their feet under them, the Oklahoma Sooners appear positioned to look forward to the future in terms of recruiting and player personnel. They still have a lot of loose ends to tie up in regards to their 2022 roster, but with an entire bevy of on-field staff now in order, it’s full steam ahead for Oklahoma.
A major piece to their future is establishing recruiting momentum with this new staff and Oklahoma is looking to do that in a major way. While the previous regime sent him an offer, it’s common practice that a team offers the same player again once a new staff is in order.
Arch Manning, the consensus number one player in the 2023 recruiting class, received an offer from the Oklahoma Sooners per Manning’s 247 Sports page.
The current offensive staff is led by offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby who is no stranger to Manning and his family. Lebby’s previous stop at Ole Miss put him in prime position to be right in the heart of a battle for Manning’s services. After all, he was the play-caller at Ole Miss, where Manning’s uncle Eli and his grandfather Archie are school legends.
We previously mentioned on the Sooners Wire in the immediate aftermath of Lebby’s hiring, what that could mean for the Sooners in regards to Arch Manning.
As previously mentioned, Oklahoma doesn’t and won’t run a completely pro system at Oklahoma but Manning’s traits, ability to process plays, leadership, and other skills would be fully on display for the NFL world to see if he was to land in Norman.
The Sooners had to offer Manning. He’s too good of a prospect not to receive an offer and Lebby’s foundation with the family gives Oklahoma more than a fighting chance to win his services when combined with how well Lebby’s quarterbacks have looked under his guidance.
A Manning commitment is the type of commitment that could lead to other five-stars and four-stars on both sides of the ball chomping at the bit to join the Sooners. A commitment isn’t guaranteed but the reward far outweighs the risk. And the risk for the Sooners is minimal on the big picture side of things.
Unlike the previous head coach’s recruiting rules, the Sooners don’t seem to care about skipping a year in which they recruit quarterbacks. Under Brent Venables and more specifically with Lebby’s offense, the Sooners look to be in on a quarterback every year, thus keeping them from being hamstrung if a single quarterback transfers.
Take their previous quarterback situation before the arrival via the transfer portal of Dillon Gabriel. Caleb Williams was the starter to end the season in their bowl game. His backup was a walk-on in Ralph Rucker, because the only other scholarship quarterback in Spencer Rattler headed for the transfer portal before the bowl game.
Williams entered the transfer portal just days ago and, for the few hours after, the Sooners had no scholarship quarterback with any collegiate experience. Lebby brought in Gabriel because of their previous time spent together at UCF and was able to flip four-star 2022 QB Nick Evers from Florida, but Lincoln Riley had no plans to ever have a 2022 recruit at quarterback come in before that.
In the 2023 class alone, Jaden Rashada and Jackson Arnold held offers before the offer to Arch Manning was even sent out. Lincoln Riley normally set his sights on one or two guys and eventually went all-in on one and one alone.
Lebby looks to be casting a wider net giving them real flexibility in the long run. Will Manning be the guy if he says he wants in? Yes. However, the Sooners should build relationships with others and not put all their eggs in one basket. And that makes a Manning commitment a luxury they can afford when you have multiple scholarship quarterbacks on your roster already and can survive natural attrition that comes on a year-to-year basis.
While the Arch Manning saga will be one to follow, it seems like one that won’t be solved anytime soon. With a support system filled with quarterbacks, the Mannings as a unit will be calculated and meticulous in their approach as they will want to get this decision right on the first go-round.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to monitor and update you as information rolls in. Buckle up as the Sooners’ race to find their 2023 quarterback could be a ride with a lot of ups and downs.