The Tennessee Vols aren’t currently one of the teams favored to land 2023 five-star quarterback Arch Manning, but there’s plenty of time for that to change.

Manning won’t sign for another 18 months (at least). And no one knows what the landscape of college football will look like by then.

However, it feels like most Vol fans have accepted that Manning, the nephew of Vol legend Peyton Manning, will end up playing for a program other than Tennessee.

After all, Manning’s connection to Tennessee is solely through his uncle. His connection to Ole Miss (via his other uncle, Eli, his father, and his paternal grandparents) is much stronger.

Ultimately, those connections probably won’t have a major impact on this recruiting battle. The expectation is that Manning will carve his own path while choosing where he plays college football.

Still, the idea of a quarterback named Manning returning the Volunteers to glory is certainly romantic. And who knows, maybe it will happen.

But while UT fans are dreaming of Arch Manning donning the orange and white, there’s already an image of him wearing an Alabama uniform (thanks to a recent visit to Tuscaloosa).

It can’t be easy for any Tennessee fan to see a Manning wearing a Bama jersey.

The Crimson Tide, by the way, are legitimate contenders for Manning.

“Arch has been building a relationship with Alabama for a long time, first with Coach (Steve) Sarkisian and company,” said 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong recently.

“But I think that has translated or been handed off to Bill O’Brien, and obviously Coach O’Brien has a ton of pedigree,” added Wiltfong. “I think there’s a lot of reasons why Arch Manning is excited about Alabama.”

Manning doesn’t currently have a visit scheduled to Tennessee, but I’m sure he’ll be hearing plenty from the Volunteers in the coming months.

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