How Arch Manning, nephew of Peyton Manning, is dealing with the pressure of being No. 1

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Arch Manning has a very public life at a very young age.

He's made throws that have instantly turned into viral video clips, played in games televised nationwide and has had his future debated on ESPN's "First Take," all before starting his junior year at Isidore Newman.

"Recruiting now is unlike anything I've ever seen," said Nelson Stewart, Manning's coach at Isidore Newman, who has known Manning since before he was in kindergarten. "Now it's a never-ending bonanza of information overload."

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Manning (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) is a five-star quarterback prospect and, according to Rivals, is the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation for the 2023 class. He is also the nephew of NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning, and the grandson of former Saints and Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning.

But he's never once asked for the spotlight, despite the it being thrust upon him from the moment he ever put on pads.

"We just focus on our goals as a team," Stewart said. "And certainly I think that any of those honors or whatnot are very humbling and (we're) obviously appreciative, but I think with any great player it's a constant quest to get better."

Manning manages the outside noise by not feeding into it, as he doesn't have much of a presence on social media.

He hasn't announced any of his scholarship offers — although he has many — or posted any pictures from his visits to schools. Manning has an Instagram account, but it's private, and he doesn't have a Twitter account.

More:Here are seven potential college destinations for 5-star QB Arch Manning

The confidential nature of Manning's recruitment is the opposite strategy from his contemporaries, many of whom post highlight reels, publicly reveal the scholarship offers they receive and live-stream their commitment announcements.

"We don't celebrate it, we don't tweet about it," Stewart said. "We're never blessed and humbled to announce anything."

It's a part of how Manning manages the pressure of being a famous teenager. Instead of scrolling through Twitter, his focus is on winning a state championship, something Isidore Newman has never done in its history.

"I think if you talk to him, that would be he and his friends' No. 1 goal," Stewart said.

At the Manning Passing Academy in July, Manning's father — Cooper — expressed the importance of his son enjoying his high school football experience. Cooper also played for Isidore Newman, catching passes as a wide receiver from Peyton before spinal stenosis injury ended his career.

Arch Manning also plays basketball, and, according to Stewart, concentrates on his studies.

More:What Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning said about Arch Manning — the family's latest star QB

"I think he enjoys the whole process," Cooper said at the Passing Academy. "He enjoys getting better and growing up and bus rides home after a big win and dealing with games that don't go so right."

Cooper and the rest of the Mannings have additionally tried to manage the hype around and access to the latest quarterback in the family. Along with his lack of social media, Manning hadn't performed any interviews until his sophomore year and was unavailable to the media during the Manning Passing Academy.

His father, according to Stewart, also wanted his recruitment process to have "an old-school feel."

The environment surrounding Manning at Isidore Newman has made swallowing the public attention a bit easier. Stewart explains that the culture at the school has allowed Manning to be himself.

"I say this all the time," Stewart said. "Our community is very unique in that it's a place where he can just blend, he can exist.

"We've had a number of notable student-athletes, and obviously the Manning name looms large. But it's also one of the only places where Peyton and Eli can come back and work out and go to a game and not get mobbed. So it's home."

But perhaps what allows Arch Manning to handle the pressure, expectations and publicity at 16 years old is his personality. Stewart sees traits in Manning that he doesn't always see in other high school recruits.

"I just think a lot of kids growing up can get caught up in it. Unfortunately.... they're still teenagers. And you get too caught up in it, you forget about what's important," Stewart said. "So thankfully he's got great values. I think he's very grounded."

"He has an old soul."