Very notably, Tennessee was able to get five-star 2023 quarterback Nicholaus Iamaleava on campus for the final game of the regular season against Vanderbilt. The California product made the trip across the country to see what the Volunteers were all about.
On Christmas day, Iamaleava named his top 12 schools, which included Tennessee.
— Nicholaus Iamaleava Jr. (@nico_iamaleava8) December 25, 2021
Oregon State, UCLA, Georgia, Ole Miss, Miami, Auburn, Oregon, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and BYU rounded out his list, alongside of the Volunteers. Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Alabama were also able to get Iamaleava on campus this fall.
The 6-5, 195 pound quarterback is the fifth-rated player in the class and the third-ranked quarterback, per 247Sports. Tennessee offered Iamaleava back in the spring, throwing their hat into a crowded race that spans the entire country.
In the 2022 class, Tennessee missed out on five-star quarterback Ty Simpson, but rebounded nicely with four-star Tayven Jackson. Hendon Hooker is set to return for another year, while Joe Milton has two seasons of eligibility remaining. What happens after 2022 is a complete mystery.
Obviously, Josh Heupel’s quarterback friendly offense is a big selling point for quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. Now set to go through a full cycle in the 2023 class, it’s going to be interesting to see what this staff is able to do on the trail. Playing from behind in the 2022 cycle, Heupel was able to pull a top 15 class.
Iamaleava is one of the true prizes of this class, and Tennessee has an uphill battle ahead with west coast competition, along with elite SEC competition. But they’re in the battle and have already gotten him on campus, so let’s see what happens.
Iamaleava will be a name to monitor throughout the spring, as visits pick back up.