Barring injury, the outstanding five quarterbacks of 2023 recruiting cycle: Malachi Nelson, Jackson Arnold, Dante Moore, Arch Manning and Nico Iamaleava should be setting records at each of their respective universities for the next few years. That is how good most people in the know feel about the talent these young men possess. However, whenever there has been discussion about player rankings in any sport there will always be debates about who resides on the top of the pile. This crop of quarterbacks is no different, as the past year has seen Arch Manning as the clear number one recruit with the race for second being an ever changing carousel between at least three of the aforementioned quarterback recruits. However, there are many who are now questioning even Arch Manning’s position as the absolute number one of this particular class. With Nico Iamaleava being the most consistent challenger, in the eyes of scouts and top evaluators, to the throne. So it would be only right to have a series of short profiles on the top five quarterback recruits with the last two being in no particular order, yes it is that close.
Top Quarterback Recruits Of 2023 Cycle
- Jackson Arnold – This newly minted 5 star quarterback from Denton, Texas is committed to Oklahoma at the moment. Jackson is seen as the number one quarterback in the one of the most fertile recruiting states in America, Texas and is said to be uncannily accurate whether he is operating from the pocket or outside of it. He has good measurements for a quarterback standing at 6’1″ and weighing at around 187 pounds. Being a product of the ultra competitive Texas high school football playoff system, Jackson has shown to be very productive in the face of elite competition. And displays, what the industry calls, a live arm where he has no problem getting the ball down the field when he needs to but also shows excellent touch in the short to intermediate throws. Jackson recently earned his fifth star from recruiting service 247Sports and was recently named the Elite 11’s – the premier quarterback competition for high school quarterbacks across the United States – 2022 MVP.
- Dante Moore – One of the last persons on this list to commit, this 5 star from the environs of Detroit, Michigan is all set to play at the University of Oregon in 2023. Dante is considered one of the most accurate pocket passers this cycle, with his quick release which shows up the most in the short game. Dante had an extremely successful showing during his last completed season where he led his team to the state title while completing 73% of his passes with 40 touchdowns on the way to the top. Dante is measured at 6’2″ 210 pounds, and has been training with one of the best quarterback coaches around, Tom House, and former University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner from the age of 11.
- Malachi Nelson – This USC commit from nearby Los Alamitos, California was for some time considered neck and neck with the top 2 in the class maybe even surpassing either at points in the past year. Malachi is known as an extremely aggressive downfield thrower the only reason he could be this way was because of the trust that he had in his elite arm strength and uncanny ball placement. Malachi wants to stay in the pocket on most passing plays but has the ability to extend broken plays with his legs, even surprising a defender or two with his speed. Malachi has had a storied high school career that so far include 70 touchdown passes and more than 5,000 passing yards.
Who Is Number One?
There was a time that this wouldn’t even be a question. Truthfully ever since the national media got wind of the existence of another quarterback from the Manning family tree, they have been projecting that the newest Manning would be the number one recruit, at least at quarterback, whenever it was his time to choose a college. If American football is the most popular sport in the US, then the Manning family would have to be the closest thing to a sporting family royalty.
Starting with the patriarch of the family, Archie Manning, a legend at both the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in college and the New Orleans Saints in the NFL and continued with two of his sons becoming elite quarterbacks in their own right. His middle son, Peyton, carrying on Archie’s legacy of stellar quarterback play at the University of Tennessee and in the NFL at the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos and his youngest son Eli having success at Archie’s alma mater Ole Miss and in the NFL at the New York Giants. Between them, there are numerous records, personal awards and accolades in addition to championships at the professional level which indicates superb quarterback play.
Now, Archie’s grandson, Arch, is setting up to continue the Manning dynasty for a third generation. Being the son of Cooper, Archie’s eldest son, and nephew of Peyton and Eli, should be pressuring enough for any young person. However, Arch has proven – thus far – that he is not shying away from the lofty expectations that have been placed on his shoulders. Born in New Orleans, Arch attends Isidore Newman, the same school that his father and both his uncles excelled at, where he has been the starter ever since his freshman year. So far Arch has passed for over 6000 yards and 81 touchdowns with his senior high school season yet to come. Scouts say that Arch possesses a very quick release from a pure throwing motion. He also has accurate ball placement anywhere on the field coming from his solid field vision.
Nico Iamaleava on the other hand, is the trailblazer of his family, with regards to quarterback play. Although Nicholaus Iamaleava Sr has had some experience as an offensive lineman it is nothing compared to the Mannings’ collective history in the game. That being said, everyone who has seen Nico play can only project him becoming a superstar at his position. Nico stands at an impressive 6’6″ and 195 pounds and threw for over 2,244 yards and 33 touchdowns against only 2 interceptions all while rushing for 158 yards and three TD at 4.9 yards per carry in his junior year at Warren High School in California. These statistics led the University of Tennessee to go above board in their efforts to have Nico commit to their program, coincidentally the same school that his ‘arch’-rival’s uncle made his name almost twenty years ago. In addition to displaying the ability to get ball anywhere on the field, Nico goes through progressions quickly, usually making the right decision and is also known to create huge chunk plays with his legs.
Honestly, credible arguments could be made for either Nico Iamaleava or Arch Manning. This should be a debate that all fans of football should be looking forward to and has the potential to last for the next 15 years.