As I write this, Arch Manning is the most sought after football recruit in the class of 2023. While there’s been plenty of speculation on where he might wind up, Manning has provided few clues as to his intentions. However, Arch Manning’s approach to recruiting has provided numerous examples for recruits in any sport to follow. And for that, Arch Manning can thank his Uncles, NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning.
Like their nephew, both Peyton and Eli Manning were considered the top quarterback recruits in their class. And, like Arch, their every move was scrutinized for hints of where they might ultimately choose to go to school. But along the way, both of the older Mannings learned a few lessons that they’ve passed onto their nephew. And those same lessons might help you make the right recruiting choice, too.
As both Peyton and Eli Manning were recruited before the internet fully blossomed, much of the recruiting correspondence they received came via snail mail. Peyton Manning took every letter he received and filed it away so he could refer back to it later.
In addition, Peyton Manning took copious notes during his phone and in-person visits with coaches and filed those away, as well. Doing so allowed him to quickly find his notes from each school whenever he wanted to compare or review them.
In the email age, organizing your recruiting correspondence is as easy as setting up files for each school that contacts you. You can be equally organized with your notes by typing them in on your phone or laptop, or simply taking a photo of your note and including it in the digital file. Just like the Mannings, by keeping your notes and correspondence organized, it’s easier to refer back to them when needed. And that will save time and maybe even make your decision easier.
Don’t Assume Success
Peyton and Eli Manning’s father was Archie Manning, who was a legendary quarterback at Ole Miss. As such, it was widely assumed that Peyton Manning would automatically follow in his father’s footsteps. However, Peyton Manning signed with Tennessee and, when asked why, he said, “I kind of had the feeling if I went to Ole Miss, I’d be an instant celebrity without doing anything.”
As a recruit, that’s important to remember, no matter what sport you play. Earning a college scholarship takes plenty of work, but don’t assume the work stops when you sign a letter-of-intent. Regardless of what you achieve in high school, you’ll still need to prove yourself all over again once you get to college. In most cases, you’ll be the new kid on the block whose teammates are older, stronger, and more experienced. If you can stand out, great. But remember it’s more important to find a school and a program where you’ll fit in.
Focus On Honesty And Relationships
Eli Manning’s recruiting was just as hyped as his older brother’s had been. But Eli also had his brother’s recruiting to use as a guide for his own. And when he made his choice, he opted to sign with Ole Miss. And a big reason for that was the Ole Miss coach at the time, David Cutliffe.
That’s notable because David Cutliffe was the ame coach who recruited Peyton Manning at Tennessee. As Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, Cutliffe established a relationship not only with Peyton Manning, but with his parents as well. In building that relationship with the Mannings, Cutliffe was open and honest about everything Tennessee had to offer Peyton. That relationship, and the fact that he had proven his honesty, is ultimately what sold Eli Manning on Cutliffe and Ole Miss.
It’s no secret that many coaches will promise the moon to starry-eyed high school recruits. And many will pay lip-service to their desire to “build a relationship.” But remember that a solid relationship is built on honesty. Every high school recruit wants to be a star player immediately upon hitting campus, but reality and what coaches promise can often be two different things. Figuring out which coaches are selling an honest vision of their program is up to you. But never forget that building a relationship takes two people. And for that relationship to work, both of those people have to be honest with the other.
Your recruiting will almost certainly be far more low-key than what any of the Manning family has experienced. But regardless of the sport you play, you can still apply their approach to your recruiting decision. Just remember to be organized, be humble, and focus on building honest relationships with coaches. You may not be a Manning, but by following their example, you can get the most out of your recruiting and make sure you make the decision that’s right for you.
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