Ole Miss Baseball Nearing National Title Means More To Archie Manning Than You May Know

THIBODAUX, Louisiana – These are extraordinary times for Archie Manning as chapters in The Book of Manning continue to unfold.

His grandson Arch – the No. 1 college football prospect in the nation from Newman High in New Orleans – committed on Thursday to play quarterback at Texas in 2023.

The 26th edition of the Manning Passing Academy here at Nicholls State University that runs through Sunday is at its very best with its highest enrollment yet at more than 1,300 and a half dozen or so future first round draft pick quarterbacks counseling the youngsters.

And Archie’s alma mater, Ole Miss, will open play in the best-of-three championship baseball series against Oklahoma in the College World Series Saturday (ESPN, 7 p.m. eastern) in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Manning was a superstar, dual-action quarterback for Ole Miss from 1968-70, making first team All-American in 1969 and finishing third for the Heisman Trophy in 1970 before becoming the second pick of the NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints in 1971. Then he had two sons – Peyton and Eli – who became college football star quarterbacks at Tennessee and Ole Miss before each won two Super Bowls.

But Omaha, or OleMaha as it has been known for the last week, holds special significance in the voluminous array of athletic accolades by Manning, 73, and his offspring.

Archie Manning, left, was the shortstop for the Ole Miss Rebels in 1969 when they reached the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, by winning the NCAA District III Playoffs shown here in Gastonia, N.C.

Manning was also a dual-sports star at Ole Miss as he was the starting shortstop and batted second or third in the order in 1969 for the Rebels when they reached the College World Series in Omaha.

Ole Miss under coach Tom Swayze, whom its stadium was later named after, finished 27-15 overall and won the SEC title by taking a best-of-three playoff series over Florida in ’69. The Rebels then won the NCAA District III Playoffs – a format that predated NCAA Regionals – in Gastonia, N.C., with a 7-6 win over Virginia Tech and 6-5 and 5-2 wins over North Carolina. And they were off to Omaha for the third time in school history after trips in 1956 and ’64.

“Oh, it was just awesome,” Manning said Friday during a break from passing camp activities. “I mean, the College World Series and college baseball is so different now. It’s so much better today than it was back then, but still, Omaha was Omaha. And to get to go there, I’ll never forget it. It was one of the great experiences of my life.”

As fate would have it, Archie’s grandson Arch chose to go to the school that eliminated his patriarch’s Rebels, 14-1, on June 16, 1969. Texas ace and future Major League pitcher Burt Hooton, who was the second pick of the 1971 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs with Manning the second pick of the 1971 NFL Draft, one-hit the Rebels, including a strikeout of Manning, through six innings for the win.

Manning did get a hit off a reliever to drive in Ole Miss’ only run in the seventh inning and finished the CWS 2-for-9 at the plate. Tulsa later eliminated Texas, but lost the national championship to Arizona State, 10-1.

“Texas had a great team,” Manning said.

Ole Miss lost its CWS opener, 8-3, to New York with Manning going 1-for-4 and beat Southern Illinois, 8-1, before the Texas game.

The 2022 Rebels beat Arkansas, 2-0, on Thursday to reach their first-ever baseball national championship round in their sixth CWS appearance and third since Manning. Ole Miss is in its second CWS under coach Mike Bianco, who also went in 2014. That was the first trip since 1972. The Rebels are 3-1 in the series after winning more than two for the first time since 1956.

“I’m just so proud of them I don’t know what to do,” Manning said. “I mean this is a great story. It’s something’s that been fun for me the last week. I’ve been hearing from my old baseball teammates. John Shaw, the second baseman, sent me a picture of when we were there. I’m just so proud. Proud of Mike Bianco. I mean, they were one of the last teams in (the NCAA Tournament). And here they are, two wins away from winning the national championship. Oklahoma’s good though, so it’s going to be a good series.”

Manning is also extremely proud of the newest Texas Longhorn – his grandson Arch Manning – and his oldest son, Cooper Manning, who is Arch’s dad.

“Very proud of Arch,” he said. “As his grandfather, I wasn’t involved in any of the process. I just watched. I’m proud of the way he handled it. And I’m especially proud of the way Cooper handled it. Nothing in recruiting is like it was when Cooper, Peyton and Eli went through it. But Cooper and his wife Ellen wanted to do the best they could for Arch’s experience to be a little more old school and not to be flashy or anything. They did a good job with that. Proud of them. I hope Arch stays healthy, gets better and has a good journey.”

And there are more Mannings coming.

Arch Manning’s younger brother Heid is an offensive lineman at Newman High who will be a junior this season and is expected to be a major prospect.

And the next possible major college prospect quarterback? Why that could be Peyton’s 11-year-old son Marshall Manning, who lives in Denver.

“Marshall Manning is here at camp,” Archie Manning said when asked who’s next. “This is about his third for fourth year at the camp. Marshall’s a good little athlete. He’s a good athlete. He plays flag football now.”

Oh, and there’s another one.

Eli Manning has a 3-year-old son named Charlie.

“He’s a little young for the Manning Passing Academy,” Archie said. “But I hope I’ll be around when Charlie comes to camp.”

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

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