Five-star freshman Nico Iamaleava arrived in Knoxville Thursday to begin his college career. Iamaleava will go through bowl practice with Tennessee before enrolling in classes in January.
Tennessee’s Orange Bowl practices begin Friday and a number of early enrollees — most notably Iamaleava — will be on campus to partake and get an even greater head start on their college careers.
Iamaleava revealed his arrival in Knoxville with an Instagram story that showed his practice jersey and potential number in his college career.
Nico is rocking No. 8 pic.twitter.com/Lb5SmqKcIq
— Landon Raby (@lambo_raby10) December 15, 2022
No. 8 could prove to be Iamaleava’s college number but that is still uncertain. Iamaleava could chose a new number in the spring when the departing players on Tennessee’s roster give him more number options. Iamaleava wore both No. 8 and No. 9 at times in high school making his permanent number being eight seem likely.
More From RTI: Darnell Wright Will Play In The Orange Bowl Before Turning Pro
Iamaleava also made a quick mistake in his Tennessee career, walking on the power T emblem on the locker room floor. The five-star recruit paid the price for his actions, doing his required push ups for the folly.
1st day on campus, Oh yeah got yo ass 5⭐️ @nico_iamaleava8 😂😂😂😂 Bang them out QB. Don’t Step on the Power T @VolFBRecruiting @CoachHalzle @ESPNCFB @Vol_Football @coachjoshheupel pic.twitter.com/YLsHwnEuHz
— CoachCordell Landers (@TheRBCoach) December 15, 2022
Iamaleava is the centerpiece of Tennessee’s recruiting class. The quarterback ranks as the nation’s No. 4 player and No. 3 quarterback according to the 247sports composite rankings.
With the California quarterback at the helm, Tennessee’s recruiting class ranks No. 9 nationally according to the 247sports team rankings.
While the Vols face No. 7 Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 30, Iamaleava and other newcomers partaking in bowl practice will not be able to participate. NCAA rules state early enrollees can participate in bowl practice but not the bowl games themselves.
Kick off at Hard Rock Stadium is at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 30. ESPN is broadcasting the game.