Scouting Arch Manning, Malachi Nelson and the top 2023 QB recruits

by Ricardo Gutierrez - What makes Arch Manning so great? Who are the top dual-threat QBs? We analyze the quarterbacks in college football's 2023 class.

Scouting Arch Manning, Malachi Nelson and the top 2023 QB recruits

Scouting Arch Manning, Malachi Nelson and the top QB recruits in college football's 2023 class 7:00 AM ET Tom LuginbillESPN Analyst Close Senior National Recruiting Analyst for ESPN.com Coached in four professional football leagues Graduated from Eastern Kentucky and Marshall Five-stars Arch Manning , Malachi Nelson and Dante Moore headline the quarterbacks in college football's 2023 recruiting class. The three pocket passers form as talented a top three as we have seen in years. However, the 17 quarterbacks in the ESPN 300 mark the fewest since ESPN expanded its recruiting rankings from 150 players to 300 in 2016. This class may not be as deep as in recent years, particularly at the dual-threat position, however there are still several hidden gems and high-upside developmental players that could make a statement throughout their college careers. We break down the top quarterbacks in the 2023 class and which ones you need to keep an eye on. Top three pro-style QBs No. 1 QB-PP Arch Manning Isidore Newman School (Louisiana) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 1 overall (five stars) Uncommitted It can be tough to keep coming up with adjectives to describe Manning, as Peyton and Eli 's nephew is the most heralded QB prospect in recent memory. But perhaps toughness doesn't get used enough -- not just physical toughness, but also the ability to handle the hype of having two Super Bowl champion uncles while being the No. 1-ranked prospect in his class. Manning totaled more than 2,000 passing yards and threw 26 touchdown passes with just four interceptions in 10 games in 2021. He also rushed for 365 yards and scored eight times on the ground. He's clearly the most versatile in terms of mobility out of all the Mannings and is blessed with the same poise. Texas , Georgia , Florida , Alabama and LSU appear to have the inside track as Manning has visits lined up for all five this summer. Scouting report: Tall, lean build. Late bloomer in terms of strength and bulk. He will take off and improvise out of the pocket like his granddad. Sneaky good mobility and awareness to evade pressure. Makes throws off balance and can change arm angles. Above average arm strength, but it's early. Flashes some upside to drive the ball. Quick release can be a bit unorthodox at times, but the ball comes out with zip. Excellent poise and feel for the game. Player comparison: Andrew Luck , Stanford Five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson is the No. 2-ranked prospect in the 2023 recruiting class, trailing only Arch Manning. Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images No. 2 QB-PP Malachi Nelson Los Alamitos High School (California) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 2 overall (five stars) Committed to: USC We have gone back and forth debating whether Nelson or Manning should be the No. 1 overall player because Nelson clearly has a case both in terms of talent and production. He is playing against top-level competition and has been highly productive. He will head into the fall having already thrown 70 touchdowns to 17 interceptions in his high school career. He flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to USC when Lincoln Riley changed jobs last year, and Nelson has the potential to thrive under Riley's system. Scouting report: Unique physical talent given his age. Tall and lanky build. Smooth, fluid and quick delivery. Effortless thrower with arm talent. Poised, good mobility, not an elite runner, but can get out of trouble. Accurate and confident in downfield throws. Obviously will continue to grow and develop physically, but he has physical traits you can't coach. Player comparison: Desmond Ridder , Cincinnati No. 3 QB-PP Dante Moore Martin Luther King High School (Michigan) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 8 overall (five stars) Uncommitted While Moore is a passer first, he is more than capable of being a designated runner in the zone-read scheme. He has natural instincts for timing and when to use his feet. As someone who can be a game-changer on the ground or in the air, his skill set would allow for him to play in just about any scheme. He's smooth and poised and can make the necessary throws with very good arm strength and accuracy. He has a knack for throwing guys open. Moore, who threw for 40 touchdowns as a junior, has the physical traits to compete right away. Notre Dame and Michigan appear to be the frontrunners for the Midwest talent. Scouting report: Possesses a polished passing skill set. Good ball handler, good feet. Can turn back to the line of scrimmage off play action and get right back on his progression. Sees the field well. Ball jumps off his hand. Can change arm angles and can beat the rush with his release. Accurate thrower. Can fit the ball into tight spots. Could play early given his stature and skill. Player comparison: Matt Corral , Ole Miss Cusp of being a five-star No. 4 QB-PP Nicholaus Iamaleava Long Beach Poly High School (California) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 13 overall (four stars) Committed to: Tennessee Believe it or not, Iamaleava threw for 33 touchdowns in 2021 to just one interception. He's a gifted passer that hasn't even come close to scratching the surface of what he could become -- just wait until he adds bulk and strength to his frame. He can be raw with his loose, whip-like delivery and has room to hone and refine his skill set through coaching and offseason work, which will enhance his accuracy. He needs to get into the mid to high 60% range as a senior. Scouting report: Great height and lanky build. Rare length. Will fill out and get bigger and stronger. Raw player with talent. Shows flashes of James Blackman at Florida State . Loose, long release. Can polish up and tighten his delivery. Lacks great arm power. Touch passer, however, can muster up some zip when he needs it, and his arm talent should grow as he gets into the weight room. Player comparison: Hendon Hooker , Tennessee Pocket passer you should know No. 17 QB-PP J.J. Kohl Ankeny High School (Iowa) ESPN 300 ranking: Unranked (four stars) Committed to: Iowa State Editor's Picks Ranking college football's top 25 recruits regardless of class 5d Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill Breaking down the top uncommitted 2023 recruits by position 20d Tom VanHaaren 2 Related Kohl's combination of rare size (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) and the fact that he also plays basketball makes him very attractive for programs looking to groom and develop a future two- or three-year starter. Athletes who play multiple sports are turning into the minority. As evaluators, it is an indication the prospect thrives on competition and is team oriented. An Under Armour All-American for the 2023 class, Kohl could find himself entering the ESPN 300 with a strong senior season. He ran a 4.89 40-yard dash, which leads us to believe he could be a candidate at another position as well. Scouting report: Has the desired height for a pocket passer and with added bulk and strength will create a solid base and generate a compact throwing motion that will add velocity on the throw. Can be a bit tense in his methods but is consistent. Displays good overall mechanics that will continue to get better. Good accuracy and shows poise in the pocket. Deceptive mobility and feet to create. Player comparison: Phil Jurkovec , Boston College Top three dual-threat QBs No. 1 QB-DT Jaden Rashada Pittsburg High School (California) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 22 overall (four stars) Uncommitted Rashada is a combination of Moore and Iamaleava. He's not technically a true dual-threat, but in a class without a truly advanced, dynamic runner, Rashada fits the bill. He is really poised and sees the field well, especially on intermediate throws. He has a clock in his head, but also the patience to let things develop. Thanks to arm strength and footwork, he is really good out of the pocket and is a dangerous enough runner to have to account for his legs. Don't be surprised if in the right situation, Rashada sees the field early. He threw 27 touchdowns as a junior but needs to get his completion percentage up as a senior. LSU, Florida, Miami , Oregon , Ole Miss, Cal and Texas A&M are the finalists for the Californian. Scouting report: Tall, lean, polished player for such a young athlete. Smooth passer. Consistent throwing mechanics. Poised and confident passer, carries himself well. Smooth stroke. Slightly elongated, but ball pops and finishes. Good arm strength. Can drive the ball vertically. Accurate player. Good feet, good enough mobility. Player comparison: C.J. Stroud , Ohio State No. 2 QB-DT Jackson Arnold John H. Guyer High School (Texas) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 39 overall (four stars) Committed to: Oklahoma Arnold is fun to watch and is a huge addition to what will be Brent Venables' first full class in Norman. He takes chances and has Baker Mayfield traits -- gutsy, tough and quick to pull the trigger. He is a very decisive player who plays with urgency. We think he will fit in perfectly with offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby's scheme, which requires the QB to operate quickly and error free. We feel given Oklahoma's current roster, he could be in the mix as a freshman. He needs to have a big senior season, as he has not played a ton of snaps to this point. Scouting report: Going to be a really good player. Adequate size, well-built. Smooth stroke, ball jumps and finishes. Compact delivery. Deceptively good mobility. Has good feet and pocket mobility. Resourceful and can extend plays. Strong arm, can layer the ball. We like his feel for the game and instincts to create when things aren't as planned. Player comparison: Grayson McCall , Coastal Carolina No. 3 QB-DT Avery Johnson Maize High School (Kansas) ESPN 300 ranking: No. 94 overall (four stars) Uncommitted The 2023 ESPN 300 There are many talented college football recruits beyond Arch Manning in the 2023 class. The complete ESPN 300 ยป Johnson and Arnold are cut from the same cloth, only Johnson is faster. He ran a 4.54 laser-timed 40 this May. As a passer, Johnson possesses an outstanding delivery and smooth stroke, which makes him very difficult to defend because he can beat the rush with his arm, but also throw on the move when flushed. A dangerous run/pass threat, Kansas State and Oregon appear to be in the best position for the emerging prospect. Scouting report: Tall, lanky, huge ceiling for physical development. Good mobility and change-of-direction. Can create and improvise. Extends plays. Strong arm, can really drive the ball. Loose delivery, can change arm angles. Plays basketball, too. Carries the ball a bit low. Very productive. Player comparison: Malik Cunningham , Louisville Dual-threat you should know No. 9 QB-DT Marcel Reed Montgomery Bell Academy (Tennessee) ESPN 300 ranking: Unranked (four stars) Committed to: Ole Miss Reed is likely to be at the top of the list of quarterbacks to enter the ESPN 300 in our next release. He continues to improve and has worked to become more compact and fundamentally sound in his methods. He is equally dangerous as a runner and passer, especially when things break down. He has the flexibility and arm strength to make off-platform throws look easy and could be a real problem for defenses in Lane Kiffin's offense. Scouting report: He has a chance to be a really good player. Has physical growth upside. Strong arm, ball pops. Good ball handler. Accurate, good feel for the pocket. On time guy. Runs well, good mobility. Can create and make plays. He's a bit raw at this early stage, but there is clay to mold here. Player comparison: Spencer Sanders , Oklahoma State Dual-threat sleeper No. 11 QB-DT Robert Long St. Peter's Prep (New Jersey) ESPN 300 ranking: Unranked (three stars) Committed to: Maryland Long was a physically advanced passer in terms of arm strength as a young player and is now starting to develop some nuance to his game in terms of arm angles and changing ball speeds. Future coach Mike Locksley should love his combination of mobility and arm strength when it comes to making the necessary throws from within the pocket or on the move. He threw 20 touchdowns as a junior, but we'd like to see him lower his interceptions and raise his completion percentage to at least 65%. Scouting report: Adequate size. Really good movement skills in pocket. Good feet and pocket mobility. Strong arm, can change arm angles. Quick release, but doesn't always follow through and transfer weight. Release can look a bit awkward at times, but ball pops and finishes. Has a chance to be a really good deep ball passer due to arm strength. Player comparison: Dillon Gabriel , Oklahoma