The Tennessee Vols avoided a nightmarish scenario on Thursday.

2023 five-star quarterback Arch Manning announced his commitment to the Texas Longhorns on Thursday afternoon via a tweet (his first tweet, in fact).

Manning’s commitment to Texas means that the highly sought-after quarterback won’t be playing for two of the Vols’ main rivals — Alabama and Georgia.

The nephew of Tennessee legend Peyton Manning was strongly considering Alabama and Georgia (along with Ole Miss) before making his decision on Thursday.

My gut feeling throughout Manning’s recruitment was that he’d pick Georgia. I felt like he wanted to play in the SEC (Texas will be in the SEC starting in 2025 which will be Arch’s junior year) and it seemed like he had a great relationship with Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart. But the relationship that Manning built with Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian was enough for Texas to seal the deal.

And that means Tennessee fans can breathe a deep sigh of relief. I don’t think any Vols fans wanted to see Arch once a year for the next three to four years. Not only is he going to be a great quarterback in the SEC, but I’m sure it would be tough for Tennessee fans to watch the Volunteers play against a Manning (Eli Manning, who played at Ole Miss, never played against Tennessee in college). It would also be tough to see Peyton’s allegiances split. No one loves the Vols more than Peyton, but the Manning family is close and I’m not sure how Peyton would react to Arch wearing a Georgia jersey and playing against the Vols in Knoxville. I don’t think Peyton would be wearing red, but he might be wearing as much orange as usual, either.

It’s still possible that Arch will play against Tennessee at some point. Texas will be in the SEC in 2025 and it’s not out of the question that they could play Tennessee that season (or in 2026, if Arch stays four years). However, I think it will be easier for Vol fans to stomach seeing Peyton’s nephew in a Texas jersey instead of seeing him in an Alabama or Georgia jersey.

Either way, Tennessee fans should be thrilled that Arch eschewed two of the heavyweights in college football for a school that has an uncertain future. The Longhorns are coming off a 5-7 season under Sarkisian and there’s no guarantee he’ll even be the coach in Austin beyond next season (another losing season could be the end of the road for the former Alabama offensive coordinator).

Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK