The Tennessee Vols are currently not a factor for 2023 five-star quarterback Arch Manning, the nephew of UT legend Peyton Manning.

Manning has mostly been connected to Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Texas.

But are a few things happening in the world of college football that could get the Vols involved with Manning and possibly lure the talented quarterback to Knoxville.

Clemson and Texas could be fading for Manning, thanks to their lackluster 2021 seasons (especially Texas, where Steve Sarkisian could be out after just one season).

That leaves Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss.

It’s possible that Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin could land at LSU (which could get the Tigers back in the mix) or Florida.

Arch would likely still consider Ole Miss in that scenario — considering his strong family ties to the program — but it would probably weaken the Rebels’ chances.

I know what you’re thinking — if it gets down to Alabama and Georgia, how can the Volunteers become a factor?

Well, there’s one big move that Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel could make that could get Arch’s attention.

Bring David Cutcliffe to Knoxville.

Cutcliffe is extremely close with the Manning family. He coached Peyton at Tennessee and his brother Eli at Ole Miss. He’s the one coach the Manning family essentially trusts above all other coaches. And if he was at Tennessee, Arch would undoubtedly be interested in the Vols.

The next question you probably have is “why would Cutcliffe, the current head coach at Duke, go to Tennessee?”

There are a lot of rumors swirling about Cutcliffe retiring after the 2021 season. A recent report from Yahoo Sports indicated that Cutcliffe could choose to retire at the end of the season — though this would also be Duke’s way of moving on from a coach who is 67.

Heupel could reach out to Cutcliffe and offer him a position as a senior analyst. That would be a perfect job for a football lifer like Cutcliffe. He wouldn’t have to do any recruiting — he could just focus on football (well, except for recruiting Arch, of course).

Cutcliffe spent nearly 20 years in total as an assistant at Tennessee. It would be a poetic ending for him to end his career on Rocky Top.

This might seem a bit far-fetched, but there’s a connection that could help it become a reality.

Duke athletic director Kevin White, who has served as the Blue Devils’ athletic director since 2008, has been with Cutcliffe in Durham for 13 years. White is the father of current Tennessee athletic director Danny White. So there’s some familiarity there.

Imagine Cutcliffe with another Manning at Tennessee. Would there be a better way for the program to return to glory?

This is all obviously a longshot, but it’s a move that Heupel and the Vols should consider making.

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