Texas QB depth chart: Arch Manning backs up Quinn Ewers after Maalik Murphy transfer

The transfer portal opened on Dec. 4, and it wasn’t long until players began to fly onto the open market. Players have only 30 days from Dec. 4 to make a decision about where they’ll land.

For most, that meant missing a bowl game. But for Maalik Murphy, that meant having to make the decision between being on Texas’ roster for the College Football Playoff and having a realistic chance at landing with a top program to have a chance at starting next season.

Murphy wound up making the decision to head to the transfer portal, a decision he said he “hated.” But the reality of the transfer portal window and activeness of programs lately meant he likely could not have waited until after No. 3 Texas’ College Football Playoff semifinal game against No. 2 Washington. 

“I just want to be in a position where I can play,” Murphy told ESPN. “I don’t want to be waiting around and see what happens or anything like that. I’d rather kick-start my career while I can.”

MORE: What Arch Manning said about future, family at Sugar Bowl

Murphy wound up committing to Duke, immediately lining up to be the team’s starter in 2024 following the departure of Riley Leonard, who is headed to Notre Dame.

Murphy’s transfer will have a major impact on the Longhorns in the College Football Playoff. Starter Quinn Ewers missed time in 2023 with a shoulder injury, and though he is fully healthy heading into the Sugar Bowl, any injury would mean turning to more unproven players down the team’s quarterback depth chart. Murphy started both games in Ewers’ absence and claimed victories against BYU and Kansas State. During the 2023 season, he attempted 71 passes, completing 40 (56.3 percent) for 477 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Texas is certainly hoping it won’t come down to a backup quarterback. But if it needed to, what is the depth looking like? Here’s what you need to know.

Texas QB depth chart

  1. Quinn Ewers
  2. Arch Manning

There is no question about the starter for Texas. That is undoubtedly Ewers. From there, it might be the only quarterback in Austin more famous than the Longhorns’ starter: Arch Manning.

A true freshman, Manning came out of high school graded as a five-star recruit by 247Sports Composite Rankings, ranking as the No. 1 prospect in the 2023 class. The son of Cooper Manning and nephew of Peyton and Eli Manning, Arch is considered by many to be among the most highly sought-after players in college football history given his combination of talent and family name.

There had been some questions as to whether Manning might join Murphy in the transfer portal. The reason? Ewers, a redshirt sophomore, has reportedly been considering returning to college for another season rather than head to the NFL. Should Ewers return, Manning would have to wait until his third year in college to get a chance to start.

Like with Murphy, time is of the essence for Manning. There are other transfer portal options for Manning, but they are more complicated than the current window in which to move. 

But with the playoff about to begin, Manning appears slated to stay in Texas and remain the backup in the Longhorns’ first-ever College Football Playoff game.

Quinn Ewers stats

Ewers was solid in his first year with the Longhorns, having completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 2,177 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. Texas went 8-5 that season.

It was still a campaign that fell short of the lofty expectations placed on Ewers. He arrived at Ohio State in 2021 as the No. 1 recruit in the nation and one of only six players in 247Sports Composite Rankings history to earn a perfect 1.0000 ranking. He transferred to Texas expecting to be the catalyst to a rapid turnaround under Steve Sarkisian.

He looked much better as a redshirt sophomore. His completion percentage went up over 12 percent and he has nearly 1,000 more passing yards than the previous season.

Season Cmp-Att (Cmp%) Pass Yds Pass TDs Ints Rush Att Rush Yds Rush TDs
2022 172-296 (58.1%) 2,177 15 6 24 -52 1
2023 248-351 (70.7%) 3,161 21 6 51 21 5
Career 420-647 (64.9%) 5,338 36 12 75 -31 6

Arch Manning stats

Murphy saw playing time in seven games as the primary backup to Ewers during the season, but Manning did make his collegiate debut during the 2023 campaign. 

Facing Texas Tech in a blowout, Manning appeared to complete two of five passes for 30 yards. He also rushed three times for seven yards. Manning added in a kneel down during the Big 12 championship.

Season Cmp-Att (Cmp%) Pass Yds Pass TDs Ints Rush Att Rush Yds Rush TDs
2023 2-5 (40%) 30 0 0 3 7 0
Career 2-5 (40%) 30 0 0 3 7 0

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