Eli Manning Recalls Story Of Drilling 4-Year-Old Arch Manning With Footballs To ‘Toughen Him Up’

Eli Manning on the field before a soccer game in San Diego.

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Football is life in the Manning family, there’s no way around it. As the college football season gears up, we’ll soon see the third generation of Manning passers competing at the Power Five level.

Arch, the nephew of Eli and Peyton, will suit up for the Texas Longhorns on Saturday as they take on Rice. His uncle shared a funny story ahead of the opener about how he toughened the quarterback up at a young age.

Eli Manning spoke with People Magazine in an interview this week, explaining how he got his nephew ready for life on the gridiron. The hilarious recollection is now going viral.

“I think my first catch with him, he was like four years old,” the two-time Super Bowl champion started. “I’m just drilling balls at him and bouncing off so he didn’t cry. I had to toughen him up, and make sure he was tough enough to handle this.”

I definitely though this would’ve been Peyton after seeing that SNL skit.

The life lesson apparently paid off as Arch would become the top player in his recruiting class. The signal caller opted to step outside the family tradition of playing in the SEC, however, committing to Texas this past offseason.

His grandfather, Archie, played for Ole Miss, as did Eli. Peyton, meanwhile, headed to Knoxville and nearly won a Heisman at Tennessee.

Of course, given recent conference realignment, the Longhorns will soon join the Southeastern Conference after nearly three decades in the Big XII. That should give Arch the opportunity to compete against his uncles’ alma maters in the coming years.

Eli Manning gives Arch advice for Year 1 in Austin.

The former New York Giant also spoke about what he’s told his nephew as he gears up for his college debut. Though he doesn’t believe Arch Manning will start this season, Eli said it will provide an opportunity to learn from those around him.

“Be there, learn from the guys ahead of you, take mental reps during practice and during the games,” Eli said. “Always be ready to go out there and play.”

Arch Manning is currently third on the depth chart behind incumbent starter Quinn Ewers and redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy. He played like a freshman in the UT spring game, though he did show flashes of his talent under center.

He’ll have a chance to grow as the season goes on, with some even believing he’ll overtake Ewers as the starter by season’s end.

Maybe Eli’s greatest piece of advice, though, had little to do with the field. He encouraged Arch to avoid some of the pressures that come along with being a high-profile athlete from a prominent football family.

“Just enjoy being in college.”

The Longhorns will kick off their 2023 season against the Owls this weekend.