DOWNEY, Calif. (BVM) — The biggest name for QBs in the 2023 recruiting class is Arch Manning, who recently announced his commitment to Texas. But does he actually deserve his No. 1 quarterback rating?
Warren High School’s Nico Iamaleava definitely deserves some consideration for that top spot.
While Iamaleava may not have the national brand recognition as Manning, he has made quite the name for himself.
The 6-foot-5, 195 pound gunslinger was a hot commodity on the recruiting trail prior to his commitment to the University of Tennessee on March 21. Even before his commitment, the Volunteer fanbase was enamored with not only his passing ability, but his contagious energy as well.
This is represented best by his attire. Iamaleava is always decked out in a new pair of vibrant pajama pants on or off the field.
— 🇼🇸Nicholaus Iamaleava Jr.🇦🇸 (@nico_iamaleava8) June 21, 2022
Outside of his infectious personality, the Tennessee coaching staff wanted him for his special talents on the field. Ranked as the No. 4 player in the country, Iamaleava shined at the high school level as a junior, throwing for 2,244 yards and 33 touchdowns with only one interception.
According to 247 Sports, Iamaleava is the third highest-rated recruit in the history of the Tennessee football program behind Bryce Brown and Eric Berry. Despite this, there is still reason to wonder why he is not rated higher.
Not only does Iamaleava have the arm to make just about any throw on the football field, he is also an elite athlete that can use his legs to extend plays. This athleticism translates to the volleyball court, where he is a top player in the country in that realm also.
Nico Iamaleava Tennessee 5 star QB
Likes competition and is pretty good at volleyball pic.twitter.com/oxNRweCsm5
— Kris Drew (@KristopherDrew_) June 26, 2022
With his future clearly being on the gridiron, Iamaleava has bought into his next home, already becoming an unofficial ambassador for the program. He has done his best to try and bring some elite talent with him to Rocky Top, including top offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa.
— 🇼🇸Nicholaus Iamaleava Jr.🇦🇸 (@nico_iamaleava8) June 26, 2022
In the new era of college football with NIL, Iamaleava is already worth $794,000 according to On3. Taking into consideration his position and the passion of the Volunteers football team throughout Knoxville and the state of Tennessee, there have already been reports of him receiving an NIL deal worth $8 million to earn the nickname “NILionaire Nico.”
Whether there is merit behind that or not, his football talent is not debatable. What is debatable is whether or not he should be the No. 1 quarterback in the country over Arch Manning. And by the end of his senior season, he very well could be.