Arch Manning, the Myth and the Future College Football Legend
By John Garcia Jr., SI.com
David Morris has been in with the Manning family well before Arch came about. The founder of QB Country, a quarterback training and development company, he was in the same quarterback room as Eli Manning while at Ole Miss. The two have since become best friends, even though the younger Manning came in a year after Morris’s arrival in Oxford and took over the starting role in his second season.
After time as roommates in college, Eli went on to the NFL while Morris began to foster his coaching career in training the two-time Super Bowl champion. It wasn’t long into the foundation of the youngest Manning’s passing career before Morris was able to get to know the latest iteration. Cooper Manning, Arch’s father, would start getting the fellow videos of his oldest son spinning it better and better, thereafter.
Arch was in middle school when the training from Morris picked up in pace, where not only his game but also his personality would flash in between reps.
“He’s super competitive,” Morris says. “You know, he really wants to work hard. And sometimes you got to come and slow him down. He just he was obsessed with football.
“What stood out was just … Arch is a great kid. You know, manners, grateful.”
The grounded nature of the Manning family, which carried over into Arch’s recruitment in that he was rarely interviewed or subjected to traditional elements of the process, including social media usage, translates to other elements of his life. There is a sense he knows the spotlight will only grow at Texas, so everything beforehand is about taking it for what it’s worth. A combination of living in the moment and not allowing it to get too big, simultaneously.
Training sessions with Morris are about the “now.” He says rankings, accolades and any type of projected hype don’t come up. The family is of course aware of the so-called noise, but contends their reputation is more about work than anything else.
Arch has embodied that part of the process, in particular, labeled even as a “gym rat” by the longtime trainer. “He always wants to be lifting, running or throwing,” Morris says. “It’s what all the good ones have.”
In between workouts, the word “normal” is again common when asked to describe Manning beyond the game. The internal switch of when to be the quarterback and/or leader can seemingly be toggled at will.
“I think he’s good at it,” Morris says. “I think he’s real balanced. He’s intense. But he’s also somewhat laidback. So in that sense, you kind of see a little Eli in there, right? Just kind of that intense competitor. There was not a more competitive person on our team at Ole Miss. I think Arch has that. They can turn it off. Arch can turn it off and go play basketball. … And I think that’s important, because I think that it creates natural rest periods.”
Those times for rest appear far and few between. Manning has been trying to round out all elements of his game, including the lower-body power and speed that can help him make plays when his arm isn’t the focus.