David Cutcliffe coached Peyton & Eli Manning. His take on Arch Manning finding 'right fit'

Marc Weiszer
Athens Banner-Herald
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, left,  and brother Eli Manning, right, quarterback for the New York Giants, listen to Duke football coach David Cutcliffe during football workouts at Duke University in Durham, N.C. on April 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

DESTIN, Fla. — David Cutcliffe is no longer recruiting quarterbacks.

The former Ole Miss and Duke head coach still has an insider’s perspective on the top overall prospect in the 2023 class.

Cutcliffe coached NFL No. 1 overall picks Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.

Another member of a football royal family, Arch Manning, takes his official visit to Georgia this weekend.

Cutcliffe sees the recruiting game raised several notches when it comes to Arch. He is the son of Cooper Manning who is the brother of Peyton and Eli. Arch’s grandfather is Archie Manning, the former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback.

“Is it harder than when Peyton and Eli came out? You betcha,” said Cutcliffe who was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach when Peyton starred at quarterback for Tennessee from 1994-97 and was coach at Ole Miss when Eli was an All-SEC selection during his time there from 2000-03. “They didn’t have to see social media or their picture on their iPhone every day. I find it encouraging to me and I’ve talked to all of them. I think for the right reasons he’ll find his right place. That’s all he’s trying to do. It’s a lot of grandstanding. Not from their perspective. He’s just trying to find the right fit.”

More:What Eli Holstein’s Alabama pledge means for UGA plus the top targets ahead of June visits

More:Three more 2023 QBs are off the board. Where does Georgia football turn for their play caller?

Arch, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior at Isidore Newman in New Orleans, is the No. 1 rated quarterback for the 2023 class by the 247Sports Composite.

When Arch was little, Cooper brought him up to Duke and they took in a basketball game. Cutcliffe would throw back and forth with him and put him through a few drills and talk technique.

“He can throw the football,” Cutcliffe said.

Peyton and Eli made summer trips to Durham to work with their college coach.

The Arch Manning sweepstakes may be down to two SEC teams.

Well, one current in Georgia and one that will come aboard by 2025 in Texas.

Alabama also will get a visit from Manning, but the commitment of four-star Eli Holstein last week may be a sign that the Crimson Tide will have a hard time in landing Manning.

Manning is still expected to visit Tuscaloosa on June 10 before going to Texas on June 17.

Cutcliffe knows Arch’s parents — Cooper and Ellen — well. He says they aren’t the meddling types. They aren’t “helicopter parents.”

He said Cooper, who went to Ole Miss as a wide receiver but saw his career end due to a back injury, will have a good sense of who is genuine and who’s not.

“You hear a lot of things talked about the Mannings — from Archie and Peyton, Eli, Cooper,” he said. “What they have is a strong love and trust. That’s a real family. With that structure, to me, it’s family and then community, you know, and I think what Arch has around him, he’ll navigate this.”

Cutcliffe, who will turn 68 in September, didn’t glide into retirement.

He has a new role with the SEC. He was at the SEC meetings this week in his position as special assistant to the commissioner for football relations.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey noted when he arrived to the SEC as associate commissioner, Cutcliffe was chair of the SEC’s football coaches in the spring meetings in 2003.

“To have David back in a new capacity was just fun,” Sankey sad.

Cutcliffe has visited all 14 campuses since he was hired in March.

This week, he joined Sankey and all of the league’s football head coaches for one meeting and then had an hour with them by himself to discuss issues.

Cutcliffe’s job is to seek to enhance the quality of football competition in the league in game management, communications, playing rules, national policies and scheduling best practices.

When he parted ways with Duke after 14 seasons, he said many wondered “where I was going to end up trying to recruit. The answer is nowhere. Maybe the SEC office. I just have too much respect for that family.”

Despite the hype surrounding Arch, Cutcliffe said the next Manning quarterback will have to put in the time to be more than just a hotshot recruit.

“He knows how hard you’ve got to work,” Cutcliffe said. “Not now. Not next year, but the year after and the year after and if he’ll maintain that humble approach to prepping himself, he’s got a chance to be a really special player. But, he hasn’t done it yet. You’ve got to remember that.”