Prospect Spotlight: Jaden O’Neal

[9.12.2022 – Colin Magnusson]

“Put ‘em on the 50.”

This has been the mantra of Jerren, Jaden O’Neal’s father, since his son began playing football.

And, it is the mantra that drives the mindset of one of the top freshman quarterback prospects in the country.

Los Alamitos High School has to be greatly optimistic with Jaden O’Neal, a Class of 2026 quarterback who has already received verbal offers from the likes of Texas A&M, Oregon, and Penn State amongst others.

Viewed as one of the 2026 quarterbacks with the highest upside in the country, it is the value system and confidence Jaden possesses that keeps him level-headed.

“I am big on my last name”, says Jaden.  “I am committed to going out, performing, representing my last name, and representing myself well in general.”

While this level of poise is unique for a freshman in high school, there is another factor to his high school career that works tremendously in his favor.

Jaden is the back up to Class of ‘23 quarterback Malachi Nelson, the five star quarterback and USC commit Malachi Nelson.  

And, Jaden gets the opportunity to learn from Malachi on a daily basis.

So, what exactly is it that Jaden learns from Malachi?

“He shows me how to go through my reads, he critiques me, etc.” says Jaden.  “I try to pick up on his mannerisms and learn from those, learn from his body language and things along those lines.”

At the end of the day, Jaden knows full well that being a quarterback is not merely about being an impressive athlete who can make throws, but also being a leader.

O’Neal is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing Class of ‘26 quarterbacks in the country and all signs point to him putting the high school football world on notice in the years to come.

Heck, those who really follow high school football realize that he is already putting folks on notice as we speak.

By Colin Magnusson: