Nico Iamaleava Plans to Enroll Early, Predicts ‘Breakout’ Season for Tennessee

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    Nico Iamaleava, a five-star prospect in the class of 2023, sure seems to be fired up about getting over to Tennessee.

    247 Sports‘ fourth-ranked overall prospect in the class, Iamaleava, committed to Tennessee back in March. Since then, Iamaleava has been working hard to help establish a strong recruiting class to go around him.

    In addition to his recruiting efforts and attending various camps around the country this summer, Iamaleava has also had a busy stretch in regard to his upcoming senior season at Warren High School.

    While gearing up for his final season, Iamaleava spoke to the Long Beach Press Telegram’s John W. Davis on Thursday. Iamaleava spoke about his goals for his senior season, what he wants to improve on from last season, and the Tennessee Volunteers.

    “I’m excited, man,” Iamaleava said about his commitment to Tennessee. “I can’t wait to leave, but I know I’m going to miss my teammates. But I’m excited, man. What they’re building over there with coach Heupel, coach Joey [Halzle], all the coaches – Coach Golesh. It’s just the future is bright. And I think they are going to have a breakout year this year, for sure. They’ve got Georgia and Bama on their schedule. We’re going to put some upsets on them, hopefully. I’m excited for Tennessee, man.”

    Iamaleava then revealed his plans immediately following his senior season. And fortunately for Tennessee, it sounds like he is planning on getting to Knoxville as quickly as possible.

    “Yes sir, I am going to graduate early,” Iamaleava said to Davis with a grin. “I’m going to get up there early and get ready for the season.”

    Nico Iamaleava

    KNOXVILLE, TN – Tennessee commit Nico Iamaleava at the Pylon 7-on-7 Tournament. Photo by RTI/Ric Butler.

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    The early enrollment period can be very beneficial for those that choose to take that route. Last year, in Tennessee’s 2022 class, 14 players were able to join up with the Vols’ team in January and participate in spring workouts. Players such as four-star quarterback Tayven Jackson, four-star defensive lineman Tyre West, and four-star offensive lineman Addison Nichols all received valuable experience and practice reps before the summer arrivals later in June.

    “I’m looking very forward to everything,” Iamaleava said to Davis about the early enrollment process. “The whole schedule of college is way different than high school. As far as waking up, 5 a.m. workouts, 6 a.m. workouts. So just me getting my body accustomed to all of that.”

    Iamaleava is listed at 6-foot-5, 195-pounds by 247. However, in the video with Davis, Iamaleava says that he is up right around 205-pounds currently. While he has set a big goal by the time he leaves, Iamaleava is just focused on keeping the weight throughout the season.

    “Definitely the weight room,” Iamaleava said about where he has been working. “When I leave [high school], I want to be at least 220 [pounds]. I’ve been working, man. Getting to that weight. Hopefully, when school starts I don’t lose weight. But yeah, just getting used to the speed of college football, the SEC, and just getting to know the guys up there.”

    Through 10 fall camp practices and one scrimmage in the first 12 days of August, it’s easy to tell that the current Tennessee team is once again based on speed. Whether it’s off the field and in the facility or during a high-intensity training camp drill, the Vols move with tempo. Iamaleava is smart to get a head start on that particular aspect of Tennessee football.

    The full interview from Nico Iamaleava with John W. Davis can be seen below.

    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.