Isidore Newman and five-star quarterback Arch Manning lost their second consecutive game, this time at the hands of visiting Berkeley Prep High School out of Florida, 49-24, at home in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
Manning wasn’t perfect, throwing his second and third interceptions of the season, but still threw for 205 yards and scored two total touchdowns. However, Manning made enough big plays on Friday night that show why he holds the distinction of being the No. 1 recruit in the nation from the 2023 class.
Here are the five plays that show why Manning still is the top recruit:
Isidore Newman School quarterback Arch Manning (16) runs against St. Charles Catholic at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. Photo by Matthew Hinton
68-yard touchdown run
The top highlight of the night from Manning, which was televised on ESPNU, came in the first quarter. On first-and-10 from the Greenies’ 22 yard-line and already trailing 14-0, Manning faked a handoff to running back Will Zurik and ran it himself through the teeth of Berkeley’s defense for a touchdown.
It was the longest run of his career and showed off Manning’s mobility and athleticism on the ground , despite his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame.
He isn’t an explosive runner, but his size combined with his above-average straight-line speed makes him a credible RPO (Run Pass Option) and read-option threat. Manning has 290 rushing yards in six games this season.
His uncles, Eli and Peyton Manning, were never known for their mobility. The two combined to run for 1,234 yards in 502 games in the NFL. But Manning’s father, Cooper, did play wide receiver prior to his career getting cut short due to spinal stenosis, and his grandfather, Archie, was known for his scrambling ability as a quarterback at Ole Miss and in the NFL.
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2nd quarter slant throw
It wasn’t the flashiest play, but this throw encapsulates why Manning is a highly sought-after recruit.
With Berkeley’s defense applying pressure on him throughout the game, Manning was forced to get the ball out quickly on almost every play. This second-and-11 throw from around midfield is an example of that, as Manning immediately tossed the ball with a defender hitting him moments after making the play.
Manning’s lightning-quick release time is arguably his greatest strength. There’s no wasted arm motion and the ball almost always comes out of his hand cleanly.
Combined with his ability to quickly read the field, Manning on this play made a strong and accurate throw to Kai Donaldson for a 9-yard gain even with defenders constantly applying pressure.
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2nd quarter sideline throw
Manning’s throw with 2:57 left in the opening half was one of his finest moments of the game.
On second-and-28 from the Newman 37, following an 11-yard sack on the previous play, Manning stepped into a throw toward the sideline to Christopher Hunter who made the grab for a 27-yard gain.
The ball placement on this throw was perfect; up and away from the defender and angled toward the sideline to avoid the defensive back who was behind Hunter on the play. Manning was also hit hard from his blindside after releasing the ball, making his follow-through on his release much more difficult.
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25-yard throw on the run
With his mobility and accuracy down the field, Manning can combine those skills to make difficult off-platform throws.
With 11:09 left in the third quarter, Manning was flushed out of the pocket from his blindside on third-and-16 from Newman’s 24. With another defender rushing straight at him and on the verge of stepping over the line of scrimmage, he released the ball without properly setting his feet while fading away from the incoming hit.
Manning’s throw was low, with strong velocity and perfectly placed — despite the circumstances — to a streaking Hunter over the middle of the field for a 25-yard gain. With a defender draped over Hunter, who had to dive to make the catch, Manning’s arm strength was a key reason as to why he could make the tight-window throw without setting his feet.
Deep throw penalized for pass interference
The pass from Manning fell incomplete, but the play showed another key component of his skillset — his touch on downfield throws.
On first-and-10 from the Newman 44, Manning dropped back, pump-faked and threw a deep ball looking for Hunter, again, who was streaking toward the middle of the field.
The ball fell incomplete and the defender is called for pass interference, but the touch Manning applied to the throw allowed Hunter to run to the spot — the pass landed ahead of where Hunter was — prior to the penalty.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Arch Manning’s top plays that show why he’s the best 2023 recruit