Tennessee quarterback commit Nico Iamaleava spent last weekend in the “Volunteer State” competing at the Nashville Elite 11 Regional at Lipscomb Academy.
The fourth ranked quarterback in the 2022 recruiting class according to 247sports earned an invitation to the Elite 11 finals this summer in California while earning high praise from former Elite 11 director and Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Trent Dilfer.
There’s been an abundance of noise around the five-star, top 10 national recruit and the Super Bowl winning quarterback believes the hype.
“He is way more than the flash and sizzle,” Dilfer said on the Buck Reising Show Monday. “There’s a lot of substance there.”
While Dilfer was aware of Iamaleava and his physical talent for a handful of years, the weekend in Nashville allowed the now-Lipscomb Academy coach to work with him up close and learn more about the person and not just the physical player.
“Fiercely competitive,” Dilfer said. “Still in the earn it phase. He’s not entitled. We’ve run into this over 12 years, a lot of guys are celebrated so much they get these stars and they get these big offers and now with NIL they get a bunch of money — a lot of them succumb to entitlement and think they have arrived. The ones we’re really looking for are the ones in the earn it phase. Nico is still in the earn it phase. He still knows he has a lot of things to improve upon. He knows it’s a big job being a quarterback in the SEC. He knows he’s going to a program that’s just pouring gasoline on their development. Heup(el) and UT’s done such a good job of kind of taking themselves out of the dust bowl and putting them as a nationally recognized program again. He (Nico) knows the gravity of the job.”
Iamaleava’s arm strength and athleticism jump off the page but there’s far more that goes into being a successful SEC quarterback past the physical tools. Dilfer’s glowing comments is an indication that the 6-foot-5 quarterback can handle everything that is needed to be successful off the field.
The California native is the leader of Tennessee’s seventh ranked recruiting class. Iamaleava is the highest rated commit in the Vols’ class and a consistent peer recruiter.