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Outlooks in 2024 season for Arch Manning, Nico Iamaleava and more from star-studded 2023 QB recruiting class

The 2023 quarterback recruiting class is set up to go down as a historic group. Though such a status can only be solidified through what the prospects accomplish at the collegiate level, there’s no doubt that the amount of signal-caller talent produced during that cycle is unparalleled. 

The 2023 class boasted five five-star quarterbacks, more than any other recruiting crop since 247Sports started ranking prospects. Four of those five-star players ranked inside the top 10 nationally and all five landed inside the top 15; those are ratios we’ve never seen in the recruiting sphere. 

Several of those signees have either already made a huge impact or are in line for a big role moving forward. Of the nine quarterbacks inside the top 100 of the 2023 Top247, five have already started at least one game and six are poised to step into a starting role in 2024. The other three, including such illustrious names as TexasArch Manning, are clearly being groomed for starting spots once veteran quarterbacks ahead on the depth chart move on. 

With the immense amount of talent involved, and with teams set to hit the field for spring practice in the coming weeks, it felt appropriate to analyze the immediate outlook for each top quarterback prospect from the historic 2023 recruiting cycle. 

Arch Manning, Texas

2023 ranking: No. 1 National, No. 1 Quarterback

One of the most ballyhooed signings of the modern recruiting era, Manning’s career at Texas has been quiet thus far. He spent his freshman season as the No. 3 quarterback behind veteran starter Quinn Ewers, a former No. 1 prospect nationally in his own right, and Maalik Murphy. Murphy’s transfer to Duke opens the door for Manning to secure the backup spot as Ewers spurning the NFL Draft and returning to Austin all but consigns him to a reserve role again. That isn’t a problem for Manning, who, in his very limited media availability, hasn’t expressed any angst towards the situation. He should step into the 2025 starting role with plenty of preparation and surrounding talent to help him acclimate. 

Nico Iamaleava, Tennessee

2023 ranking: No. 2 Nat., No. 2 QB 

Iamaleava’s time is now. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Iamaleava will be Tennessee’s starting quarterback in 2024. The 6-foot-6 California product spent most of his freshman season on the bench behind Joe Milton III, but Tennessee fans did get a tantalizing peek at Iamaleave’s future in Tennessee’s Citrus Bowl win against Iowa. Iamaleava showcased his elite athleticism by racing past defenders for three rushing touchdowns in the win. He also completed 12 of his 19 passes for 151 yards and another touchdown, highlighting his ability to make plays and flashy, off-platform throws outside of structure. All that culminated in Iamaleava earning Citrus Bowl MVP honors and building momentum toward what could be a special 2024 campaign in his first season as starter. 

Dante Moore, Oregon 

2023 ranking: No. 4 Nat., No. 3 QB 

Moore had a whirlwind first year in college. He signed with UCLA over some major offers and was immediately thrust into the starting quarterback battle. He ended up splitting time with — and eventually outplaying — Ethan Garbers in the season opener against Coastal Carolina. Moore earned the starting nod in Week 2 against San Diego State where he threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns on the road. Through his first three games (with two starts), Moore had 615 yards passing and seven touchdowns to one interception. The wheels fell off from there, however, as Moore struggled mightily in Pac-12 play with eight interceptions to just four touchdowns in four starts. He lost his grip on the starting job as the year wore on and entered the transfer portal after the season. Moore ultimately landed at Oregon to help create one of the more intriguing QB situations in the country. He’ll sit behind veteran Dillon Gabriel, who transferred in after an outstanding season with Oklahoma, giving him more time for some much-needed development before he’s pushed back into the spotlight. 

Jackson Arnold, Oklahoma 

2023 ranking: No. 10 Nat., No. 4 QB 

With Gabriel off to Oregon, Oklahoma is now Arnold’s team. Gabriel entered the transfer portal ahead of the Alamo Bowl, paving the way for Arnold to get the starting nod. In the purest sense possible, Arnold looked like a true freshman in the loss to Arizona. He was indecisive in the pocket, often locked onto wide receivers too long and attempted some truly baffling throws. Two of his interceptions were bad decisions, and the third, when an unchecked linebacker jumped into the passing lane, likely would have been avoided by a veteran. Still, Arnold finished with 361 yards passing, the fourth-most of any quarterback in Oklahoma’s extensive bowl history, and looked better as the game progressed. The Sooners now have to hope he continues on that positive trajectory as the program is betting the future on him as they enter the SEC in 2024. 

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Arizona at Oklahoma

 Jackson Arnold will lead Oklahoma into its SEC era in the 2024 season.  USATSI

Malachi Nelson, Boise State 

2023 ranking: No. 13 Nat., No. 5 QB

Nelson played in one game and attempted three passes as a freshman at USC. That was to be expected for a player that signs with a team boasting reigning Heisman Troph winner Caleb Williams in the 2023 season. But Nelson, who could have pushed for the starting job in 2024 with Williams off to the NFL, instead entered the transfer portal — a move that made more sense with Miller Moss‘ ensuing breakout in USC’s Holiday Bowl win. In somewhat of a shocker, Nelson took his talents to Boise State. Considering his blue-chip high school status, he’s the highest-ranked prospect to ever enroll with the Broncos. Boise State is anticipating that he’ll fulfill that lofty pedigree and elevate the program’s ceiling. If Nelson develops properly and delivers, not only are the Broncos poised for success in Spencer Danielson’s first season as full-time coach, but Boise State could emerge as one of the frontrunners for the guaranteed Group of Five bid in the College Football Playoff as the format moves to 12 teams. 

Jaden Rashada, Arizona State

2023 ranking: No. 44 Nat., No. 6 QB 

After a rollercoaster recruitment that saw him sign with Florida before NIL turmoil led him to Arizona State, Rashada was named Arizona State’s starter exiting fall camp. He had 236 yards and two touchdowns in his collegiate debut,  but an injury in Week 2 effectively ended his first season with the Sun Devils. He was able to return ahead of the season finale against Arizona but was denied the start after missing a team meeting. Arizona State added Michigan State transfer Sam Leavitt via the transfer portal this offseason, so Rashada might have some serious competition if he wants to return to that starting spot. 

Aidan Chiles, Michigan State

2023 ranking: No. 58 Nat., No. 7 QB 

It’s clear that Michigan State coach Jonathan Smith thinks the world of Chiles. He recruited the former Downey (California) High School star to Oregon State, and despite the addition of Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei, Smith still gave Chiles plenty of run in the 2023 season. He played in nine games, often coming off the bench for a drive or two early in each contest, and accounted for seven total touchdowns. Chiles transferred to Michigan State on the heels of Smith leaving Corvallis, Oregon for East Lansing, Michigan. There’s no question that Smith is handing the offense over to the rising sophomore, who will be challenged in the Big Ten. 

Austin Mack, Alabama 

2023 ranking: No. 73 Nat., No. 8 QB

A late riser in the 2023 class, Mack signed with Washington and quarterback guru Kalen DeBoer, spending his freshman season behind Heisman finalist and potential first-round NFL Draft pick Michael Penix Jr. When DeBoer left for Washington to replace Nick Saban, he brought Mack with him. Mack will likely sit for at least one more year as Jalen Milroe is well-seated as the incumbent starter, but he’ll get his opportunity to shine in 2025. Taking time to learn under DeBoer and behind the likes of Penix and Milroe should pay dividends for the young signal caller when his name is called. 

Avery Johnson, Kansas State 

2023 ranking: No. 85 Nat., No. 9 QB 

Johnson’s story is similar to Arnold’s. The highest-ranked QB to sign with Kansas State in the 247Sports era, Johnson spent a majority of his first season with the Wildcats behind on-and-off again four-year starter Will Howard. Like Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel, Howard entered the transfer portal in December, leaving Johnson as Kansas State’s starter for its Pop-Tarts Bowl showdown against NC State. Johnson flourished in the role, accounting for almost 250 total yards and amassing three touchdowns while earning the game’s MVP honors. With his rushing ability and obvious arm talent, Johnson gives Kansas State fans plenty of excitement as he steps into a rather uncontested full-time role. 

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