Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning signals a game-ending touchdown Saturday, October 4, 2003 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville. Old Miss upset the Gators 20 - 17.
(Photo by A. Messerschmidt/WireImage)

Eli Manning spent four years with the Ole Miss football program before his historic 16-year tenure with the New York Giants.

There are a number of significant reasons why Eli Manning was chosen before any other individual in the 2004 NFL Draft, many of which have to do with his on-field efforts as an Ole Miss Rebel. During his collegiate days, the longtime and recently retired New York Giant proved to be one of the top college quarterbacks in the country by his senior year, ultimately earning first-team All-SEC and second-team All-American selections that season.

And this September, Manning’s alma mater will be honoring him in a massive way. Vice Chancellor of Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter announced on Monday that the program will retire Eli’s No. 10 jersey. The ceremony is slated to occur this year during Ole Miss’ Sept. 19 home matchup against Auburn.

There have only been two jersey numbers retired in the program’s history thus far, one of which is No. 18, worn by Eli’s father, Archie. The other one is No. 38, worn by former Ole Miss defensive back Chucky Mullins.

“We couldn’t be prouder or more excited to officially add Eli’s No. 10 to its rightful place among the retired jersey numbers in our football history,” Carter said, per the university’s athletics website. “Like Chucky and Archie, Eli left an indelible impact on our program and the game of football as a whole. His dedication, humility, and kindness over the course of his career epitomizes what it means to be a Rebel, and we look forward to celebrating him as a player and a person.”

Eli took the time to respond to this prestigious honor.

“I owe so much credit to the coaches and all the wonderful teammates that I had here during my time in Oxford that put in all the hard work right alongside of me,” he said. “It’ll be special to see the number go up there next to my dad and Chucky Mullins.”

Along with the two aforementioned honors that Manning earned during his senior campaign, he additionally won the SEC Offensive Player of the Year Award in 2003. Throughout that season, Eli threw for 3,600 yards and 29 touchdowns with a 62.4% completion percentage and 148.1 passing efficiency rating.

Manning is officially entering his first football season as a retiree. He called it quits in January after 16 years with the Giants, a period that encompassed four Pro Bowl nods and a pair of Super Bowl titles.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.