Five-Star Quarterback Wants to See a National Championship at Tennessee

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    Five-star quarterback prospect Nico Iamaleava, one of the top recruits in the class of 2023, has been in Knoxville this weekend getting a feel for the city and Tennessee Athletics.

    Iamaleava has been very active on social media while in Knoxville, as the elite prospect has been posting pictures and videos of himself all over town. In a video posted to social media on Saturday, Iamaleava looked like he was having a great time at the Tennessee basketball game as chants of “We Want Nico” rained down from the student section.

    On Sunday morning, though, Iamaleava posted a video that is sure to get fans fired up. The video that was posted is just a clip of a larger interview, but Iamaleava does paint a fascinating picture.

    “I think that would be a great thing,” Iamaleava said in the video. “And then a National Championship game would be even more crazier with all the orange out there and stuff like that. So, yeah, I think a National Championship game or a big rivalry game…”

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    While it’s hard to get an idea of exactly what was asked or what Iamaleava was saying before the clip began, it does seem as though Iamaleava is talking about things he would love to see. And for the five-star quarterback from Downey, Califonia, it looks like a National Championship game or rivalry game surrounded by a sea of orange would be one of those things.

    Additionally, Iamaleava also had an interesting caption on the picture.

    “Tennessee maybe getting great news!!!” Iamaleava wrote on the post. “You never know. #WeWantNico #VolShip”

    The 6-foot-5, 200-pound quarterback prospect is currently ranked as a five-star recruit according to 247 Sports, On3 Sports, and Rivals. Additionally, On3’s consensus rankings have Iamaleava as the third-ranked quarterback in the class and the second-ranked player from the state of California. In the quarterback rankings, Iamaleava is only behind Arch Manning and fellow Golden State quarterback Malachi Nelson.

    The current idea is that Iamaleava’s recruitment is essentially down to four schools: Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, and Tennessee. Although, with the way recruiting works these days, who knows what could happen.

    Iamaleava’s first trip to Knoxville came last November during the South Alabama game. The five-star quarterback loved his weekend in Knoxville according to an interview with 247 Sports’ Greg Biggins.

    “I went to a game at Tennessee last year and loved it there,” Iamaleava told Biggins in February. “I love the coaching staff and had a great time in that atmosphere and they’re recruiting me really hard.”

    Lastly, Tennessee has made a big move on On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine in the last few days. Last Tuesday, Tennessee had the fourth-highest chances to land the elite quarterback. Now, on Sunday, Tennessee has jumped above Georgia.

    On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine currently has Oregon in the lead at 51 percent, followed by Alabama at 15.1 percent, Tennessee at 12.5 percent, and Georgia at 11.8 percent.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.