Notes: One of Archie Manning's sons. Honor student who graduated in three years. High-school All-America quarterback whom virtually every school wanted. Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year in 1994, when he went 7-1 as a starter and completed 89-of-144 passes for 1,141 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions and was sacked only five times. All-SEC and Davey O'Brien award finalist in '95, when he hit on 244-of-380 attempts for 2,954 yards with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Had an up-and-down '96 season due in part to his green and erratic line. Completed 243-of-390 passes for 3,287 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and rushed for three scores. Then was 27-of-39 for 408 yards and four touchdowns vs. Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl. Heisman Trophy runner-up as a senior after completing 287-of-477 tries for 3,819 yards with 36 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Injured his knee in the SEC championship game vs. Auburn. Had to be hospitalized after the leg wound got infected and spread all the way
down to his ankle and came back to play in the Orange Bowl, but it was obvious he was rusty and still in considerable discomfort. Did not work out at the combine because his knee was still far from 100 percent.
Positives: Great intangibles and work ethic. Fierce competitor. Knows how to prepare for games. Has a coach's understanding of the game and is a very quick study who knows how to read a defense and to avoid losses. Has gotten a lot bigger and stronger because he is driven to be the best he can be. Excellent height and vision. Top-notch technique and very good balance. Quick, compact throwing motion. Arm is strong enough for him to throw all the routes in the playbook. Throws a nice, catchable ball. Has been durable and dependable. Does not seem to let his mistakes weigh too heavily on his mind when he is playing. Should be ready to play in a hurry.
Negatives: Is not the runner, scrambler or improviser his father was as a rookie. A little tight in the hips and stiff. Not naturally smooth and fluid. Lacks a great arm. Can't throw off-balance with zip as Favre or Elway can. Needs to set his feet to zip the ball. Does not throw a really tight spiral much of the time, and the ball will wobble at times. Was taught to pump his feet and to keep them moving at almost all times in college and also to slightly underthrow the deep ball so his receiver could come back and make a play on it. Thus, he may need to break some old habits.
Summary: Is not a rare talent or great athlete as his father was or as John Elway and Brett Favre are. Yet, he's a very fine football player with a great mind for the game and, from the neck up, rivals Bernie Kosar as the smartest quarterback I ever saw in college.