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Three-Point Stance: The Manning debate, a message to recruits, 7-on-7

Here’s today’s edition of National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell's Three-Point Stance as Mike talks the top 5 NFL quarterbacks of all-time, a word to the wise for committed recruits and David Shaw’s message to 7-on-7 coaches.

1. The Manning debate

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Peyton Manning
Getty Images

The great Peyton Manning has officially retired and will go down as one of the best players in the history of the NFL. The former Tennessee star who went on to become a legend in both Indianapolis and Denver was once the subject of a heated debate back in 1998, when some felt Washington State signal-caller Ryan Leaf was the better prospect.

It’s hard to believe that was even a debate back then, but it certainly was.

So now, with two Super Bowl wins under his belt and numerous NFL career records, where does Manning stand among the NFL great at quarterback?

Back in October of 2014 I tweeted the following…

Of course many felt I was a moron back then to have left Manning off such a list and felt he should have been up near Montana and Brady, especially Vols fans.

Since then, Tom Brady went on to win another Super Bowl and Manning finished his career with his second this past season. But does that change my mind about my top five?

After all, Manning finished 2014 with one of the lower QBR ratings of his career and followed that up this season with nine touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a QBR of 44.96, putting him behind Colin Kaepernick, Josh McCown, Brian Hoyer and even teammate Brock Osweiler.

Does that second Super Bowl, which many obviously credit to the Denver defense, put him ahead of a couple others in my top five?

It’s a tough question to answer, but I’ll try.

My new top two are Brady and Montana, so they just flipped spots. Marino never won a Super Bowl and played in an era, along with Elway, where eye-popping stats were much harder to come by as quarterbacks could be hit and defensive backs weren’t handcuffed by ridiculous disadvantages.

Marino’s career QBR of 86.4 is slightly ahead of Elway’s 79.9 but both are behind Manning’s 96.5. But again, times were different back then. But if Brady is so high and played in the same era as Manning then I shouldn’t reward one and punish the other, right?

Unitas, whose stats pale in comparison to the other four but played in an even tougher NFL for passers than Marino or Elway, had a 78.2 career QBR. But, thinking back on why I left Manning off my top five back in October of 2014, I have to admit part of it was because of his 1-2 record in the Super Bowl at the time and the feeling that he wasn’t a crunch-time hero.

Now that he has that second Super Bowl, even if the defense did win it, I can’t punish him for that now.

So essentially what I’m saying is this: a) my list in 2014 was flawed and should have been Montana, Brady, Manning, Marino, Unitas and b) Manning goes down in my book as the third-best quarterback ever behind Brady and Montana.

My new list reads Brady, Montana, Manning, Marino and Unitas. Thank you Peyton Manning for all the great memories.

2. A message to commits

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Butch Jones

It’s time to get on my soap box. This is a message for committed recruits.

If you are committed to a program and a different school invites you on a visit, whether it’s an unofficial or official visit, you have three choices.

A) Decline and tell them you’re 100% committed and not looking around.

B) Take the visit and show respect to the coaches and program that invited you.

C) Take the visit and be disrespectful while recruiting other players on campus to the school you’ve committed to.

Obviously option C isn’t the one you want to choose, but that happened last weekend when Georgia linebacker pledge Jaden Hunter took a trip to Tennessee.

Hunter decided to Periscope part of his visit to Knoxville while proclaiming his affection for Georgia. He then put up pics of himself in a Tennessee jersey while hash-tagging how solid his commitment was to his current choice.

This was clearly inappropriate behavior. In fairness to Hunter, he’s just a kid. Kids make mistakes, and by all accounts he’s a player of high character.

And Hunter did release a public apology on his Twitter account in the days following the incident, though he has since deleted it.

But by doing what he did, whether he knew it or not, he was disrespecting coaches that took the time to invite him on a visit and show him what they had to offer.

So let’s keep things very simple, please. A and B should be the only choices. If you choose option C then you’re not only wasting the time of hard-working coaches, but you’re also slapping them in the face figuratively.

I am now off my soap box.

3. Perspective on 7-on-7s

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Stanford head coach David Shaw has always been opinionated about many things, sites like Rivals.com included.

His latest issue is with 7-on-7 football. He addressed the topic at the NIKE Coach of the Year clinic last weekend.

“It means nothing to me as an evaluator," Shaw said. "I will also never ever, ever have a recruiting conversation with a 7-on-7 coach. I talk to high school coaches, counselors and parents.”

My response? That’s nice and all but also crazy.

The world of 7-on-7 isn’t the AAU of basketball the NCAA feared it would become and a lot of that had to do with some careful steps the NCAA has taken to limit the power of non-high school coaches.

But make no mistake, it’s very important to numerous kids, there are some very good 7-on coaches who provide valuable advice and guidance to players and Shaw’s statement is a bit short-sighted.

So if I’m a 7-on-7 coach who is guiding an athlete through the recruiting process, I’m insulted because somehow Shaw has aided in an ill-founded reputation that is already hard to shake.

Some of the 7-on-7 coaches have been working with the same players since they were 7 years old and have become father figures to them.

Stanford is a great college and a dream destination for many prospects who covet an Ivy League education to go with Top 25 football, but Shaw might have alienated some people he didn’t have to with his comment, which to me is just silly.