5-star QB Nicholaus Yamaleava breaks commitment to Tennessee

Five-Star Quarterback Class of 2023 Nicholas Yamaleava announced his commitment to play college football at Tennessee on Monday.

“They had everything I was looking for,” Yamaleava told 247Sports. “I met amazing people, not just with the football program, but everyone we met was so welcoming to us and made me feel like home.”

In what must be considered one of their biggest recruiting wins in the era of modern recruiting, the Vols land a player with a chance to end the 2023 recruiting cycle as the No. 1 overall prospect. .

Yamaleava is Tennessee’s first five-star quarterback commitment since the 2002 class and the highest-ranked Vols commitment since 2015.

The poly prospect from Long Beach (California) is currently ranked 3rd prospect nationally in the Top247, behind the quarterbacks Manning Arch and Malachi Nelson. have already written extensively about his trajectory and how his game is evolving at a rapid pace.

At first, the Oregon Ducks seemed like the team to beat, but a pair of unofficial visits to the Knoxville campus, including a recent one he made earlier this month, put the Vols above.

“I really love the town of Knoxville, that southern hospitality is just different there and having my mom there with me and seeing how much she loved it meant a lot,” Iamaleavea told 247Sports “The support of fans is amazing and I love how passionate football is there.

There was a lot of talk about NIL’s potential wins for Yamaleava at Tennessee, but the quarterback talked more about player development and offensive form than anything else.

“I really believe in these coaches,” Yamaleava said. “Development is important to me and I know [QBs\ coach [Joey] Halzle and [head] coach [Josh] Heupel can get the best out of me and help me achieve my dreams of playing in the NFL.

“I really like [co-OC/tight ends] Coach [Alex] Golesh too and all those guys have worked and developed really good quarterbacks in the past. Sam Bradford, Dillon-Gabriel and McKenzie Milton are just a few guys they’ve worked with in the past and I’m very confident as a team they can develop me better than anyone.

The offense is one that Yamaleava is confident he can thrive in.

“It looks like a really fun offense to play,” Yamaleava said. “I’ll be back there for the spring game and I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve studied what they’re doing and I feel like I can fit in really well.

“Honestly, I’ve always loved Tennessee, they’ve always been pretty high on my list. The more I learned about them and the better I got to know the coaching staff, the more comfortable I felt with them as a what a potential school for me.”

Along with Oregon, Yamaleava was also considering visiting Miami and Georgia again and was also seriously considering Alabama and UCLA at some point.

“I’m 100% locked in and looking forward to helping recruit and build this class,” Yamaleava said. “That’s a big reason I signed up so early, I want to start recruiting for my class and help Tennessee recruit one of the best classes in the country.”

Yamaleava has a athletic 6-5 frame and is not only a talented quarterback, but also a gifted volleyball player. Has made huge strides over the past year in terms of pocket feel, ability to launch in time and foresight.

He’s always had a big arm, but now he can shift gears, go through progressions and make accurate throws down the field easier. He has exceptional evasive ability and is just as dangerous outside of the pocket as he throws into it. He is a threat to take off and run for big yards when flushed or on designed racing games.

Yamaleava recently transferred to Long Beach Poly (California) from Downey Warren and should be fun to watch his game continue to grow this fall.