Fact or Fiction: Malachi Nelson should be ranked higher than Nico Iamaleava

Rivals national recruiting director Adam Gorney and national recruiting analysts Adam Friedman and Clint Cosgrove along with Ryan Young from tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

1. Malachi Nelson and Nico Iamaleava both worked out at the Rivals Camp Series in Los Angeles. Nelson should still be ranked higher.

Malachi Nelson

Malachi Nelson

Gorney’s take: FICTION. The more I see the two, the more difficult this question gets because Nico Iamaleava is such a rare physical specimen with a live arm and it’s hard to believe he’s not the best quarterback even in his state. That speaks to just how talented Malachi Nelson and Iamaleava are at the position and this could be a rankings debate like Bryce Young and D.J. Uiagalelei a few seasons ago. It looks like now we chose correctly by putting Young higher in the rankings despite Uiagalelei’s outstanding size but this one between Nelson and Iamaleava might not be as clear. Right now, there’s not a definitive answer on which one will end up higher.

Friedman’s take: FACT. For now, Nelson should remain higher in the Rivals250 but there is a lot of time left before the next update to the Rivals250. During the rest of the spring, both Nelson and Iamaleava will be under the microscope and their order in the rankings will be questioned every week. Nelson has been so consistent for so long and Iamaleava just keeps getting better so the way these two jockey for position could be the biggest rankings battle of this cycle so far. Both quarterbacks have played well at 7-on-7 tournaments so far and at the Rivals Camp Series over the weekend, but it’s very hard to choose one over the other at this point.


2. Mac Markway has a handful of top schools but Iowa has the edge in his recruitment.

Mac Markway

Mac Markway (Mac Markway)

Gorney’s take: FACT. One of the things that Mac Markway has said throughout his recruitment is that the programs that show the most love and attention and the places that could develop him the best would be high on his list. Florida was that program when assistant coach Tim Brewster was recruiting him there and it’s a big reason why the Gators landed his pledge. But with a new staff coming in there, Markway reopened things and right now it looks like Iowa has the edge over Miami and others. He’s a legacy for the Hawkeyes, there is incredible stability on that staff and there’s no question Iowa has produced top-flight tight ends for many years. All those factors lead me to believe the Hawkeyes are in good shape.

Cosgrove’s take: FACT. I am not saying that Iowa is a lock, but I do believe he ends up a Hawkeye in the end. Iowa almost has too much in their favor for another team to beat them for his commitment. They do a great job developing and utilizing their TEs in the offense. They are known for putting TEs in the NFL which is a known priority for Markway. Add in the fact that Markway’s dad played at Iowa and Iowa City is close enough for friends and family to easily make his games, and you just get a sense that the Hawkeyes are the perfect fit for him. There will be some other contenders though, and I see the two biggest being LSU and Miami. Markway’s former high school coach Robert Steeples is currently on staff at LSU and they have a close relationship. Markway was also committed to Florida at one point so he may want to take his talents to the Sunshine State and play for Miami as it is one of his final teams as well.



3. Four-star WR Deandre Moore will follow his high school teammates to USC.

Deandre Moore

Deandre Moore

Gorney’s take: FACT. Depending on who you talk to, this is either definitely happening or definitely not happening. It makes complete sense with all the connections from Lincoln Riley to a lot of the same staff from Oklahoma now at USC to his high school teammates committed to the Trojans and the fact that USC is right down the road for Deandre Moore. But I’ve also been hearing a lot of rumors around Louisville and how much he and his family like it there. Playing with four-star QB commit Pierce Clarkson and doing his own thing a little bit could be tempting especially since he’s visiting there again this weekend. In the end, though, I’ll bet on USC to get him.

Young’s take: FACT. Deandre Moore eventually followed Los Alamitos teammates Malachi Nelson and Makai Lemon in committing to Oklahoma under Lincoln Riley. He eventually followed Nelson and Lemon in decommitting from the Sooners once Riley left. So if put on the spot to forecast his future at this moment, it only stands to reason that the likelihood is that Moore eventually follows Nelson, Lemon and Riley to USC, right? There is one wrinkle. He was committed to the Sooners as a wide receiver, which is how most programs view him, but at the moment USC is recruiting him more as a defensive back. That could always change as this 2023 class shakes out, and Moore told us he has no preference at all what side of the ball he plays on, but it’s a wrinkle nonetheless that differentiates the USC situation from the one he committed to at Oklahoma. I’ll give the Trojans the nod for now because there’s a lot working in their favor, but Moore is taking a diligent approach to evaluating a top five that also includes Louisville, Oregon, Texas and Alabama, so USC still has work left to do to reel him in.


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