Why Nico Iamaleava is On3’s No. 1 2023 prospects

On3 has launched the ultimate soccer prospect rankings for the 2023 cycle, and there is a brand new prospect atop the On300: Tennessee quarterback signee Nico Iamaleava. The Warren (Calif.) Downey caller narrowly beat out the Alabama EDGE signee Keon Keeley (No. 2) and the longtime incumbent No. 1, Texas quarterback signee Arch Manning (No. 3) for the highest spot.

As was the case within the 2022 cycle, there was not a slam-dunk No. 1 prospect, in our opinion. Manning debuted as On3’s No. 1 general prospect within the cycle for On3 again in August 2021 and held on partly as a result of murkiness of the cycle together with the restricted pattern measurement and publicity of him and another high prospects.

Final 2023 On300

Our purpose is to evaluate a prospect’s long-term potential in school soccer, as manifested by the NFL Draft. Ideally, we wish our No. 1 prospect to be the participant who we really feel has the best odds of being a high general draft decide in a number of years. While that is the intention, this has confirmed to be comparatively uncommon over the course of the web recruiting period thus far. Just three gamers – Jadeveon Clowney (consensus No. 1 in 2011), Myles Garrett (one outlet in 2014) and Trevor Lawrence (all however one outlet in 2018) – have been ranked as No. 1 prospects in highschool and brought with the highest decide within the NFL Draft. That’s simply 9 of 60 (15%) rankings units since 2000 which have hit on the No. 1 NFL Draft decide. There is an opportunity Bryce Young (one outlet in 2020) and present USC sign caller Caleb Williams (simply On3 in 2021) may add their names to the small checklist. Still, it is clearly a troublesome needle to string.

With that in thoughts, let’s get into the rationale behind making Nico Iamaleava On3’s No. 1 prospect within the 2023 cycle.

Both high QBs are projections, however Iamaleava has much less questions

Some have referred to the 2023 cycle as “the 12 months of the quarterback.” There are 5 five-star sign callers in On3’s closing rankings – Iamaleava, Manning, Oklahoma signee Jackson Arnold (No. 6), UCLA signee Dante Moore (No. 20) and USC signee Malachi Nelson (No. 30). The cycle is additionally deep with a lot of blue-chip arms together with a number of high-upside senior risers.

If you have been to ballot high school coaches and analysts on who they considered as the highest quarterback prospect, it is unlikely there could be a consensus decide and maybe even a majority winner. Opinions on this group range.

For the vast majority of the cycle, On3 has considered Manning and Iamaleava as having essentially the most projectable bodily instruments among the many high quarterbacks attributable to their respective frames and arm expertise. While the pair has what we think about to be essentially the most high-end bodily upside, there is a diploma of projection with each that is lower than superb. I personally do not view both to be as “cannot miss” as current No. 1 quarterbacks Bryce Young and Caleb Williams have been on the identical stage.

Neither Manning nor Iamaleava have been a really dominant highschool quarterback. Both register among the many center of the pack amongst On300 quarterbacks in statistical classes that we think about to matter within the analysis course of.

The senior season manufacturing is basically a wash. The completion percentages and yards per try are inside a number of tenths. Manning averaged 3.27 touchdowns per sport, whereas Iamaleava averaged 3.1. The Tennessee signee has the slight edge in complete yards per sport with 238.5 to Manning’s 227.5. Manning threw fewer interceptions (2) than Iamaleava (5), whereas the latter has a decrease interception price over the course of their highschool careers. Iamaleava edged Manning out in web dashing yards – 366 to 177 (extra on this later).

Iamaleava usually confronted more durable groups on per week to week foundation, whereas Manning’s competitors stage as a senior at Isidore Newman assorted from very poor to excessive in a number of situations.

We’ve additionally seen Iamaleava compete and star in impartial settings over the previous few years, whereas Manning has not. While that is actually Manning’s prerogative, it’s extremely unusual to by no means see a high quarterback prospect in a setting exterior of highschool soccer within the fashionable recruiting panorama. The lack of impartial context or dominant play in opposition to good competitors on Friday nights results in a level of uncertainty that is atypical of a No. 1 general quarterback prospect.

Nico Iamaleava has essentially the most bodily potential and upside

Given the quantity of projection required with Nico Iamaleava and Arch Manning together with the very even play on Friday nights, we see Iamaleava’s superior bodily potential as a key separator. The 6-foot-5.5, 190-pounder combines a big-league arm with twitchy athleticism to make for one of the crucial physically-gifted sign callers we have seen in current cycles.

Iamaleava has palpable arm expertise, with a whippy, fast launch and the arm energy to drive the ball downfield with ease. Having seen each in particular person this fall, he has the clear edge in that division. Still, Manning has a few of the finest arms within the cycle and noticeably elevated velocity as a senior.

Another space the place Iamaleava separates himself is response to strain. He is a fast, reactive athlete who has proven the power to evade cross rushers and blitzers in a break up second.

This is an space the place Manning didn’t fare in addition to a senior. He took an inordinate variety of sacks this fall. We charted him as being sacked 30 instances for -201 yards over the course of the season. Sure, Manning was not taking part in behind an awesome offensive line, however most different high quarterbacks – together with Iamaleava – have a sack complete that is a fraction of 30. Again, we’re not discounting the state of affairs, however on the minimal it provides to the diploma of unknown in Manning’s projection – particularly as a contender for the No. 1 general prospect.

Keon Keeley made issues fascinating

While a lot of the eye will give attention to the 2 quarterbacks, there is a prospect between them within the closing On300 rankings – Alabama EDGE signee Keon Keeley. The Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep star made an actual run at No. 1 general with a really robust senior season, backed up by a dominant efficiency on the All-American Bowl earlier this month.

Keeley has an entire talent set as a cross rusher. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder is able to successful with velocity, (*1*)bend, energy and technical expertise. He was extremely productive on Friday nights, tallying 32.5 sacks over the previous two seasons. Keeley and Berkeley Prep really performed Manning and Isidore Newman in the course of the 2021 season. The Crimson Tide signee completed the sport with two sacks and an interception and actually seemed like the highest prospect on the sphere that night.

The general resume – bodily dimensions, movie, manufacturing and dominant all-star displaying – places Keeley on the identical stage as current high cross dashing prospects like Will Anderson (Alabama) Ms Michael Williams (Georgia), in our opinion.

Closing ideas

Ultimately, the choice to make a change at No. 1 was a troublesome name and never one we took frivolously. We view Iamaleava, Keeley and Manning to have the potential to be a No. 1 decide in the event that they attain their upside. Much of how the 2 quarterbacks finally fare will hinge on their improvement in school.

We are nonetheless excessive on Arch Manning‘s potential. On3 was the primary outlet to rank Manning because the No. 1 general prospect within the 2023 cycle. I used to be additionally the primary nationwide analyst to numerically rank Manning as a high prospect, following his freshman season.

It’s additionally value noting that the highest three prospects have the identical score (99) from On3 – as do the remainder of the highest eight. That group features a third quarterback, Oklahoma signee Jackson Arnold (No. 6) – who was the best five-star quarterback whereas going through the strongest competitors taking part in in Texas’ highest classification.

The diploma of uncertainty, various opinions, variety of viable candidates and deep secure of quarterbacks ought to make the 2023 cycle an fascinating one to trace over the approaching years.

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