There’s a new No. 1 overall player in the class of 2023, and he’s already in Knoxville. Nico Iamaleava made the leap to the top spot on Monday, as On3 revealed their final rankings of the 2023 cycle.
Iamaleava beat out edge rusher Keon Keeley (Alabama) and quarterback Arch Manning (Texas) for the top spot. Here’s On3’s scouting report on Tennessee’s newest quarterback, and their best overall player in the class.
High-upside signal caller who may have the best physical tools among quarterbacks in the 2023 cycle. Has one of the stronger arms in the cycle, generating considerable velocity on his throws in camp settings. Tall with a slender build with room to fill out. Boasts a quick, clean throwing motion despite his longer arms. A bouncy, fluid mover who doubles as a top volleyball player. Still developing in terms of some technical aspects of the game. Plays in a high school offense that is heavily skewed towards quick passes and screens. Can continue to improve his accuracy on downfield passes. Has done a very good job taking care of the football with just two interceptions in his first two varsity seasons.
Iamaleava signed in December and went through bowl practices with the team, getting his feet wet ahead of spring practice. Tennessee will lose Hendon Hooker, but will return senior Joe Milton, who showed out in the Orange Bowl win against Clemson. Now a veteran, Milton would seemingly have a decent head start on the impending quarterback battle with Iamaleava. But at the end of the day, it may come down to just how quickly Iamaleava can adjust and adapt to Tennessee’s tempo. Can Milton overcome those accuracy questions once and for all? If not, Iamaleava will be right there waiting.
By all accounts, Iamaleava is a fantastic kid and a natural leader on the field. Those are just bonuses to his obvious physical gifts.
Nico Iamaleava on competing for the starting job at Tennessee and the vibe in the QB room. Nico’s maturity is remarkable. He sounds like a veteran QB and not like a kid that should still be in high school right now. Vols got something special here. ( : CBS Sports) pic.twitter.com/ajhPDCO80M— zach ragan (@zachtnt) January 16, 2023
It’s seemingly becoming clearer every day that we’re in for a legitimate battle this offseason at quarterback. It’s a fascinating situation too, with Iamaleava’s NIL deal adding another layer. The fun begins a little under two months from now, as Tennessee kicks off spring ball. We’ll see what happens from there.