Meet the college football recruit who overtook Arch Manning for No. 1, plus more rising prospects

Quarterback Malachi Nelson supplanted Arch Manning for the No. 1 ranking in the 2023 ESPN 300 based off his increased arm velocity and leadership skills against top-tier talent. Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In the 17 years ESPN has ranked college football recruits, our update for the Class of 2023 may be the most scrutinized iteration.

There were many opportunities over the spring and summer to evaluate the 2023 recruiting class from college and select camps in May and June. Most recently, we spent two days in July scouting some of the most talented prospects at Under Armour's Future 50 event.

This release features 18 new ESPN 300 entries and three players who ascended to five-star status. But perhaps the most notable change is the reshuffling of the quarterback position: Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton and Eli who recently committed to Texas, is no longer the No. 1 overall prospect.

Strongest quarterback class ever?

Going back to the first ESPN Junior 300 rankings for the 2023 class around a year ago, the focus revolved around a quarterback from Louisiana with the last name Manning -- and rightfully so. As always, player evaluation is fluid and subjective. So while prospects like Dante Moore and Malachi Nelson also emerged early, others like J.J. Kohl, Marcel Reed and even Jackson Arnold flew under the radar.

Fast forward to this summer, and this quarterback class has developed into one of the deepest and most talented groups we have seen in years.