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I was just watching a video on YouTube about Archie Manning, Peyton, and Eli, and it reminded me of a few questions I've always had about Peyton and Eli that I never really have heard a definitive answer on. I've been a Vols fan my entire life. But I'm only 24, so I barely remember watching Peyton play in college, and since I've only recently started keeping up with recruiting, I don't know much about Eli's recruitment process either. So I was hoping those of you that have kept up with the program for a lot longer than I have could shed some light on these questions for me.
1). What or who made Peyton choose Tennessee? I know many of us have criticized Vonn Bell for not going to Tennessee simply because he grew up a Tennessee fan. But here is a guy who had a father that was a legend at Ole Miss, yet he chose to go to Tennessee. I know a bunch of us would flip if the Berry twins or Dillon Bates didn't choose Tennessee. I can't imagine how much that stung for Ole Miss fans.
2). Did Eli ever give much consideration to following in Peyton's footsteps in Knoxville, or was he Ole Miss-bound from day one?
I think Fulmer is the one that recruited Peyton to UT.
And Eli, Peytons OC was Cutcliff while at UT and he was becoming Ole Miss' new HC and think that and not always wanting to be compared to big bro at UT played a big part.
The answer to both situations is named David Cutcliffe. Archie knew how good of a quarterbacks coach David is and that was the deciding factor in Peyton coming to Tennessee. When he was hired at OleMiss as head coach it was an easy decision for Eli.
No offense to Fulmer, but from things that have been said and done in the years since, Cutcliffe was the key ingredient.
For example, where did Peyton go to rehab and prepare for his return to the NFL? He went to Duke to work with Coach Cut.
Yeah, makes that sense abt Peyton to UT was Coach Cut. Glad we had him while we did. Glad he is doing so well at Duke. +1 RT
Thanks for the replies, guys. I kind of suspected Cutcliffe had a lot to do with it. I just didn't realize he was the biggest reason that Peyton chose Tennessee. It says a lot about Archie though if, in fact, he did want Peyton to go to UT rather than to his own alma mater simply because he thought the QB coach was better.
Its not a stupid question until you ask it.
Exactly what I would have said.
Don't you think that if Fulmer was still the coach of UT Peyton would have came here as well? It's easy to say he thinks more of Cut because he went to Duke to practice when Cut is the only college coach still coaching.
No, I don't. Peyton was rehabbing from his neck surgeries. There were questions about his arm strength and his ability to make all the throws. He wanted his old QB coach to help him rekindle the magic.
As I said, no offense to Fulmer. This was about quarterbacking at the highest level.
Don't sell Fulmer short. Cutcliff was a much more essential part of Eli's recruitment than Peyton's. He was definitely a very important part of Peyton's recruitment but Fulmer led the way. I would not read too much into where he rehabbed. His relationship with Fulmer is rock solid and he has a ton or respect for both coaches. I agree with you that even if Fulmer were still the coach here he would have rehabbed with Cut at Duke but not your reasons why. He would have avoided Knoxville for rehabbed for two reasons: 1. Wants to work directly with Cut and get honest feedback. 2. Most importantly he put a premium on keeping things very quiet and private. Neither of which would have been possible in Knoxville.
Not many people know this but Olivia Manning, Archie's wife and former Ole Miss Cheerleader and Homecoming Queen had a lot to do with Peyton's decision to come to UT. Coach Fulmer realized early on that she would play a big part in her son's decision and he worked hard on her for a number of months. Once she accepted that Peyton could go to UT then Coach Fulmer and Coach Cutcliffe finished off the deal and Peyton came to Knoxville.
Also, Ole Miss was terrible in the 1990s and UT was very successful before Peyton came so that may have helped make Peyton decide for us over his connections to the Rebels
Question #1: Phil Fulmer/David Cutcliffe
Question #2: David Cutcliffe/Peyton Manning
You really need to dig up as much footage as possible from Peyton's days on Rocky Top. It was a very special time for our program. That Saturday night in Birmingham (maybe Tuscaloosa) stands out to me the most. Ends the drought, and then leads the band and fans to Rocky Top. Still get cold chills thinking about it.
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