The Chandler (Ariz.) High signal caller is one of three initial five-stars in the 2024 cycle for On3 along with cornerback Desmond Ricks and defensive lineman Justin Scott. He also became the fourth active high school quarterback prospect to be rated as a five-star by On3 along with Arch Manning, USC commit Malachi Nelson and Tennessee commit Nico Iamaleava from the 2023 cycle.
Raiola has become one of the nation’s most sought-after prospects this offseason. He holds offers from most of the nation’s top programs and has recently taken visits to Oregon, Clemson, Georgia, USC and Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Trojans are currently out in front according to the On3 Recruiting Prediction Machine.
If the last name sounds familiar, it’s because it is – Dylan is the son of long-time Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola.
Let’s get into what makes Dylan Raiola On3’s initial No. 1 prospect in the 2024 cycle.
Dylan Raiola is a top arm talent
We’ll start with Dylan Raiola‘s arm talent. Simply put, he’s a natural passer.
Raiola has fluid, relaxed throwing mechanics that manifests in a quick, replicable release. The ball comes out of his hand with substantial velocity considering this early stage in his development. Raiola also has a strong base that allows him to power through throws.
We see this in Raiola’s ability to easily stretch the field with his deep ball as a sophomore at Burleson (Texas) High. He’s able to activate all portions of the field with his arm strength.
Playmaking and creativity
Dylan Raiola can do much more than deliver from a defined, set platform. His quick, loose arm allows for the ability to make some impressive off-platform throws from outside of structure.
The arm talent combines with a natural feel for the pass rush, quick feet and field vision to result in some high-difficulty reactive plays. We already see Raiola making these types of plays with regularity as a high school underclassman.
You can see some influence of his father’s former Lions teammate Matthew Stafford‘s style of play. The first throw in the above clip is not dissimilar from Stafford’s now famous no-look pass from the Super Bowl.
The fact that Raiola is seeing the field so well and making these types of reactive plays in his first season as a varsity starter is highly encouraging and points to a significant upside as he continues to progress. Playing quarterback is a performance craft. The best players at the position are able to make plays in the face of a pass rush. Raiola certainly shows early signs of excelling in that area.
Advanced technical polish
Dylan Raiola isn’t simply a top arm talent who is playing backyard football on Friday nights. He’s advanced technically and has been well-coached to this point. Raiola played his sophomore season at Burleson High in Texas where he was coached by former NFL quarterback and Cowboys quarterback coach, Jon Kitna.
You can see the advanced polish in a few areas. For one, Raiola took snaps under center at Burleson – a rarity in today’s offensive climate, especially in high school. He’s comfortable in his drops and shows good ball-handling and technique in working off of play-action.
Raiola also stands out in throwing the quick game and RPO’s. He’s able to draw on his baseball background to quickly set his feet and fire the ball shortly after receiving the snap.
At 6-foot-3, 210-pounds, Raiola is also developed from a physical perspective. He’s already relatively filled out and doesn’t require much projection when it comes to hitting his ideal playing size at the next level.
Production on Friday nights
In addition to the on-field skill set, Dylan Raiola was among the more productive quarterbacks in the 2024 cycle as a sophomore.
Raiola hit 228-350 passes for 3,341 yards (9.5 yards per attempt), 32 touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 games as a sophomore at Burleson. He also ran for nine touchdowns. Raiola threw for more yards than any quarterback who ranks in the top 200 of the 2024 On300. He did so while facing good competition in Texas’ 5A classification.
The strong production should continue with Raiola’s transfer to Chandler. The Wolves are one of the top high school programs in the western United States and are perennial state title contenders in Arizona’s Open Division.
Dylan Raiola has a strong athletic pedigree. He doubles as a standout baseball player – both as a pitcher and catcher. His fastball was clocked at 89 miles per hour as a freshman. As noted earlier, you can see some of his baseball background spill over to the football field.
The Raiola family also has a well-established athletic history. Prior to his 14-year career with the Lions, Dominic starred at Nebraska, where he won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center in 2000. Dylan’s mother, Yvonne, played water polo at Hawaii. His older sister, Taylor, currently plays volleyball at TCU.
Dominic Raiola’s brother and Dylan’s uncle, Donovan Raiola, played at Wisconsin and for six seasons in the NFL with various teams. He’s now the current offensive line coach at Nebraska. Dominic and Donovan’s father (Dylan’s grandfather), Tony, was a defensive lineman at Miami in the late 1970’s.
Any talk of such a lofty ranking for a young prospect should be delivered with the critical caveat that this is a long-term projection that is early and subject to change.
Progression and performance as an upperclassman takes precedence over a sophomore ranking in our evaluations. How quarterbacks play as seniors in high school has proven to be one of the more predictive data points in projecting long-term success at quarterback. We’re still years away from that time with 2024 prospects.
With that said, Dylan Raiola has shown enough high-level skills and upside to this point to place him at the pole position as the top quarterback and No. 1 overall prospect in the 2024 cycle.