Georgia Vanderbilt Football

Georgia quarterback Carson Beck (15) has picked up where Stetson Bennett, who led the Bulldogs to back-to-back CFP national titles, left off. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

As the lead recruiter for the Manning Passing Academy, Archie Manning is an authority on college quarterbacks.

His rolodex includes NFL scouts and general managers along with college head coaches from every major conference.

If there’s a top young quarterback out there, he’ll be on Manning’s list to attend and work his family's prestigious annual passing camp.

In recent years, though, Manning’s job has become more complicated. The transient nature of college football has caused Manning to play a quarterback's version of "Where's Waldo?" each spring as he tries to recruit top passers.

“We have more interest than ever from kids,” said Manning of the 28th annual camp, which begins Thursday in Thibodaux. “The problem is finding them. Well over half of them change schools every year.”

Manning is not exaggerating. More than 70% of the top quarterbacks in college football transferred at least once during their time in school, according to a 2022 study by The Athletic.

Exhibit A: Dillon Gabriel.

Gabriel is making a return appearance as an MPA counselor this year. He attended the 2021 camp when he was at Central Florida. After he moved to Oklahoma two years ago, he declined Manning’s invitation so he could focus on the transition to Norman. This year, he’ll be back on the roster of 46 MPA quarterback counselors.

“We’re excited to have Dillon back with us,” Manning said. “It’s great to have guys return to us. They know our routine and what we do.”

Texas is one of two other schools with two quarterbacks in attendance for the four-day camp, which is expected to attract more than 1,400 players to the Nicholls State campus. Starter Quinn Ewers is projected to be a first-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft by many analysts. His backup, Arch Manning, is the most tenured attendee in MPA history. As Archie’s grandson and namesake, the Longhorns sophomore has attended the camp annually since his middle school days at Newman.

Ewers, Gabriel and Manning are among 17 quarterbacks who will make return appearances as counselors. LSU’s Garrett Nussmeier is also on the list of returnees.

Ewers (No. 32 overall) and Gabriel (No. 77) are among seven of the top 10 quarterbacks on Pro Football Focus’ 2025 NFL Draft big board who will attend this year’s MPA. The others: Georgia’s Carson Beck (No. 11), Alabama’s Jalen Milroe (No. 39), Texas A&M’s Conner Weigman (No. 62), Notre Dame’s Riley Leonard (No. 83) and Ole Miss’ Jaxson Dart (No. 88).

This year’s MPA will again have a heavy SEC influence. Ewers, Beck, Milroe, Weigman and Dart are among 12 quarterbacks, representing 10 SEC schools, scheduled to attend.

This is the 28th year of the camp, which started at Tulane in 1996. Manning's sons — Cooper, Eli and Peyton — will again be on hand to work as counselors and coaches.

Among the more than 100 high school and college coaches on staff is Jesse Madden, the former Michigan safety and grandson of Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden.

The highlight of the camp is the annual Friday Night Lights skills competition among the college quarterbacks at John L. Guidry Stadium. Michael Penix, who the Atlanta Falcons selected with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2024 draft, won the event last year.?This year's event will be held at 8:30 p.m. on Friday.?

"We're going to have another good camp," Manning said. "The great thing about quarterbacks is that most of them are mature, accountable leaders by nature. It's great to have them here, and our?campers love getting a chance to work with them.

"We move those guys around a lot. We're not going to have Carson Beck coaching the same 20 kids every day. I want (the quarterback counselors) and Peyton and Eli to meet and work with every kid at the camp at some point. And they work their tail off to do it."

2024 Manning Passing Academy quarterback counselors

  • Jackson Arnold, Oklahoma
  • Rocco Becht, Iowa State
  • Carson Beck, Georgia
  • Michael Brescia, Colgate
  • Hudson Card, Purdue
  • Brady Cook, Missouri
  • Myles Crawley, Grambling
  • Jaxson Dart, Ole Miss
  • Paxton DeLaurent, Southeast Missouri State
  • Quinn Ewers, Texas
  • Dequan Finn, Baylor
  • Dillon Gabriel, Oregon
  • Cole Gonzales, Western Carolina
  • Garrett Greene, West Virginia
  • Mark Gronowski, South Dakota State
  • Seth Henigan, Memphis
  • Will Howard, Ohio State
  • Cade Klubnik, Clemson
  • Jake Lange, Delta State
  • Riley Leonard, Notre Dame
  • Gio Lopez, South Alabama
  • Arch Manning, Texas
  • Grayson McCall, NC State
  • Kyle McCord, Syracuse
  • Will McElvain, Central Arkansas
  • Pat McQuaide, Nicholls State
  • Fernando Mendoza, California
  • Graham Mertz, Florida
  • Jalen Milroe, Alabama
  • Dante Moore, Oregon
  • Garrett Nussmeier, LSU
  • Jackson Proctor, Dartmouth
  • Drew Pyne, Missouri
  • Jaylen Raynor, Arkansas State
  • Will ?Rogers. Washington
  • Kaidon Salter, Liberty University
  • Eli Sawyer, Southeastern Louisiana
  • Brayden Schager, Hawaii
  • Blake Shapen, Mississippi State
  • Donovan Smith, Houston
  • Preston Stone, SMU
  • Tyler Van Dyke, Wisconsin
  • Nicholas Vattiato, Middle Tennessee
  • Conner Weigman, Texas A&M
  • Jace Wilson, Texas Southern
  • Chris Zellous, Hampton

Email Jeff Duncan at jduncan@theadvocate.com.