Tennessee Commit Nico Iamaleava Praised by Recruiting Expert

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    When five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava committed to Josh Heupel’s Tennessee program in March, the Vols knew they had a foundational piece to the class of 2023.

    On Thursday, On3 Sports founder and sports media juggernaut Shannon Terry appeared on Nashville’s 104.5 The Zone. While being interviewed in-studio by the 3HL show, Shannon shared some of his thoughts on the Tennessee quarterback commit.

    “I get a chance every once in a while to watch tape of kids – I am not involved in the scouting and ranking process,” Shannon said on 3HL. “I think that kid [Nico Iamaleava] is the best recruit prospect in this class by far. Just to be clear, he is phenomenally athletic, look at his volleyball tape. His accuracy is going to improve – it’s already good. He has all the tools to be a superstar NFL player.”

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    Iamaleava is currently listed as the No. 4 overall player in the class, the No. 3 quarterback, and the No. 2 player from the state of California in On3 Sports consensus rankings. Despite Terry’s own personal praise for Iamaleava, the Tennessee commit sits behind 2023 quarterbacks Arch Manning and Malachi Nelson in the rankings.

    As Terry pointed out in the interview clip, Iamaleava’s athleticism is off the charts. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound player is long and tall and uses his height to his advantage while throwing the ball.

    Even though his athleticism is universally impressive though, Iamaleava is more of a pocket passer quarterback as opposed to a dual-threat one. That’s not to say that Iamaleava can’t run the ball, because in his high school tape he has shown that he can and he will. But the 6-foot-5 quarterback seems to much prefer standing tall in the pocket, finding his receiver, and delivering a strike over the top of the battle that is going on in the trenches.

    In his junior season of high school, the Long Beach, California native totaled 2,244 yards and 33 touchdown passes to just one interception. In addition, Iamaleava added 158 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries on the ground.

    Nico Iamaleava has had a busy spring and summer since announcing his commitment to Tennessee. Iamaleava was a participant in the Pylon 7-on-7 Tournament that was held at Farragut High School in April. Team TOA, Iamaleava’s team which featured his brother Madden Iamaleava and Tennessee commits Sylvester Smith and Jack Luttrell, won the tournament in Knoxville.

    Then, in June, Iamaleava took to Las Vegas to perform in the Overtime 7-on-7 tournament. On3 Sports named Iamaleava the MVP of the tournament, which was followed by a tournament “Dream Team” selection from 247 Sports.

    Iamaleava was also invited to the Elite 11 Finals in June.

    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.