Three elite quarterbacks were announced as the finalists for the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year on Friday morning.
Oklahoma commit Jackson Arnold, USC commit Malachi Nelson and Texas commit Arch Manning are the three finalists for the prestigious annual award. Each is the Gatorade football player of the year in his respective state.
In choosing winners, Gatorade takes grades and extracurricular activities into account, in addition to prowess on the field.
Arnold was key to the success of Guyer High School (Denton, Texas), the only team among the three finalists that was a fixture in the Super 25 this season. With a 14-1 record, the team was in the upper half of the national rankings for most of the year before falling in the semifinals and ending at No. 25.
The five-star quarterback went 231-for-336 with 3,476 yards, 33 touchdowns and three interceptions. He added 24 touchdowns on the ground and rushed for 921 yards, finishing the season with 4,397 total yards and 57 total touchdowns.
He graduated in December with a weighted GPA of 4.5 and will attend spring classes at Oklahoma. He participated in clubs, including Texas Young Men’s Service League, Lantana Chapter, and was a math aide, according to Gatorade.
Nelson, a five-star quarterback ranked No. 3 in the class on the 247Sports Composite, led Los Alamitos (Calif.) to a 9-3 record as he passed for 2,898 yards and 35 touchdowns. He added two more touchdowns and 153 yards on the ground.
The 6-foot-3-180-pound QB donated a portion of his NIL deal to a local Pop Warner group, according to Gatorade. He has also volunteered as a youth football coach.
Manning is ranked as the No. 1 player in the class on the 247Sports Composite. He led Isidore Newman (New Orleans, La.) to an 8-3 record as he passed for 2,305 yards, 34 touchdowns and two interceptions and rushed for 378 yards and four touchdowns.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback graduated in December with a 3.5 GPA and has enrolled for the spring semester at Texas, according to Gatorade. He has volunteered at a local camp for children with special needs.
Gatorade is scheduled to announce the winner of the 2022-2023 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year next week.
Winners in previous years include Penn State running back Nick Singleton, Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart, Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert and Jake Smith, a USC wide receiver who is in the transfer portal.