AUSTIN (KXAN) — One of the biggest names in recent college football recruiting is on campus and practicing for the University of Texas. Quarterback Arch Manning and the rest of the Longhorns football team wrapped up the first week of spring practice.
“We make a big deal out of the guy losing his ID twice the first couple weeks of school,” Steve Sarkisian said with a smile about growing pains with Manning. “He’s a freshman in college, but he does take it seriously and wants to be really good.”
Manning enters a quarterback room with returning starter Quinn Ewers. Sarkisian has been clear he wants improvement from the passing game after a subpar 2022.
Ewers missed three full games with a shoulder injury last fall. When he was on the field, the now-redshirt sophomore tallied 2,177 yards passing, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions.
“This winter, it just feels natural,” Sarkisian said about Ewers. “He’s throwing the ball well. I think he is emerging as a leader. I’m watching him break the team down.”
The Longhorns lost a lot in the leadership department after the departure of some key veterans like Roschon Johnson, DeMarvion Overshown and Bijan Robinson. One of the Texas standouts that will fill a more vocal role is reigning All-Big 12 linebacker Jaylan Ford.
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“We want to be player led, that’s kind of our thing,” said Ford. “The coaches can lead only so much. The next step has to be the players. Leadership is about what you tolerate.”
As Texas now gets ready for spring break, Sarkisian is pleased with the three days of practice they were able to get in so far. But now comes an important time away from football.
“Life is about choices and decisions,” Sarkisian said about the focus for his players during spring break. “Sometimes it’s not always the choices and decisions you make but the choices and decisions of the company you keep and that they’re making.”
Competition seems to be open at all positions, quarterback included, with Sarkisian adding they do not want to hold Manning back. That especially rings true in the running back room with nearly 90% of Texas’ rushing yards from last season gone.
“I’ve never not had a thousand-yard rusher in calling plays in college football,” said Sarkisian. “Can we get there with one of these guys? We’ll find out. I do think we’ve got a lot of good depth there.”
Keilan Robinson, Jonathan Brooks and Jaydon Blue are the three main returners that expect to compete for playing time. Joining that trio is five-star recruit Cedric Baxter.
The Longhorns will continue to practice ahead of the annual Orange-White Spring Game on April 15.
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