Quarterback Arch Manning will be headed to Austin.

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Arch Manning falls from No. 1 in ESPN rankings

Arch Manning fell from No. 1 in ESPN’s updated Class of 2023 rankings on Monday, meaning he no longer is the consensus top player in the class.

Instead, ESPN pushed Southern California QB commit Malachi Nelson into the top spot.

ESPN explained the decision this way:

“With Nelson, we have seen a larger sample size, and the 6-foot-3, 185-pound quarterback has faced a higher level of competition for Los Alamitos High School (California),” ESPN’s analysts wrote. “He has also developed physically, which has led to more arm velocity. In our multiple in-person evaluations this spring and summer, our biggest observation from Nelson has been the growth beyond physical maturity as we see a more seasoned leader. His abilities in game, as well as his performances at camps and combines, make us confident he is now the No. 1 quarterback in the class.”

Manning remains No. 1 in the rankings of 247Sports, Rivals and On3. He fell to No. 2 on ESPN’s list.

Nelson committed to Oklahoma last July but backed out of the pledge when head coach Lincoln Riley departed for USC in November. Two days later, Nelson committed to USC, which is about 25 miles from Los Alamitos.

Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, committed to Texas and coach Steve Sarkisian in June after being courted by the nation’s top programs. He is entering his senior season at Isidore Newman in New Orleans, where his uncles played.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Pullman, Washington, USA; USC Trojans helmets sit during a game against the Washington State Cougars in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

5-star QB Malachi Nelson follows Lincoln Riley to USC

Five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson, committed to the University of Oklahoma since July, will follow former Sooners coach Lincoln Riley to the University of Southern California.

Nelson, from Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School, switched his verbal commitment less than 24 hours after Riley was announced as USC’s new coach. Nelson made his decision known by tweeting a graphic of himself in a Trojan uniform and the words, “Yeah, this feels right.”

Ranked by 247 Sports Composite Rankings as the No. 2 quarterback in the class of 2023, Nelson is one of seven commits who have indicated they will leave Oklahoma. Nelson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound dual-threat passer, is the first of those players to pledge to USC.

Riley may yet lure other Oklahoma commits to USC. Makai Lemon and DeAndre Moore Jr., both wide receivers and Los Alamitos High teammates of Nelson, pledged to Oklahoma. Lemon decommitted when Riley made his move to USC but has not announced his plans.

A high school player’s verbal commitment to a school is non-binding, so Nelson can change his mind by December 2022. However, the quarterback’s speedy decision to follow Riley to USC and his ties to California indicate he probably will sign with the Trojans next year.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) talks with head coach Lincoln Riley before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler leaving, 6 commits change mind

Quarterback Spencer Rattler said Monday he’s transferring from Oklahoma, and six high school recruits also have decommitted from the program since head coach Lincoln Riley announced he accepted the same job at Southern California.

The announcement from Rattler — who opened the season as the Heisman Trophy favorite and later was benched — was not unexpected. But now, just 16 days before the early national signing period begins, Oklahoma finds itself down three commits from the 2022 class and three more from 2023.

Bowing out of their 2022 commitments are linebacker Kobie McKinzie and offensive lineman Demetrius Hunter, both from Texas, as well as defensive lineman Derrick Moore from Baltimore. The 247Sports composite ranks all three in the top 20 at their positions.

The hits are even more significant in the 2023 class for the Sooners.

Quarterback Malachi Nelson, the No. 2 quarterback and No. 2 player in the nation, decommitted and could follow Riley to USC. He’s a local product from Los Alamitos, Calif., and behind only Arch Manning — nephew of Peyton and Eli — in the player rankings.

Also backing off the pledge to Oklahoma were a pair of Floridians — Brandon Inniss, the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 9 player in the 2023 class, and running back Treyaun Webb, who is ranked No. 5 at his position and No. 96 overall.

“In light of the recent events and changes, my family and I believe it’s best if I de-commit from OU at this time,” Nelson posted to Twitter. “I want to thank all the Sooner fans for the relentless love and support they’ve shown.”

In his statement posted to Twitter, Rattler made no specific mention of Riley, instead simply stating he’d be entering the transfer portal to pursue his academic and athletic career elsewhere.

“Sooner Nation: Thank you for allowing me to be a student-athlete at this prestigious institution,” he wrote while briefly thanking teammates and coaches. “We won several games together and made memories that I will cherish forever.”

“Thank you again, Oklahoma,” he ended his statement. “I will miss you.”

Rattler, an Arizona native, started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2020 and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He threw for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

In the Oct. 9 game against Texas, however, he was benched and never regained his starting job.

He will have three years of eligibility remaining, though he also is eligible to enter the NFL draft in 2022.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA;  A general view of the Rose Bowl goal posts during an NCAA football game between the Southern California Trojans and the UCLA Bruins. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma expected to land prized ’23 QB Malachi Nelson

Malachi Nelson, the No. 2-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2023, is scheduled to announced his college choice Sunday night.

The Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School junior said Saturday he had whittled his choices to Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Southern California.

Despite his proximity to USC — Los Alamitos is about 25 miles south — Nelson is expected to choose Oklahoma, according to recruiting analysts.

The 247Sports composite lists Arch Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl-winning QBs Peyton and Eli Manning, as the nation’s top quarterback and No. 1 overall player. His fellow five-star prospect Nelson is ranked No. 5 overall.

He’s not being eligible to sign a national letter of intent for about 18 months, but the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Nelson said he has seen and heard enough to make his college selection.

“I’m excited and ready to go,” Nelson told 247Sports. “I know some feel it’s early but I want to start building this recruiting class. I’ve been going through this process since I was in eighth grade so I feel like I have all the information necessary.

“Plus it’s my parents anniversary on the 18th so why not give them something special to remember for all that they have done for me.”

–Field Level Media