Tennessee's offense was one of the more consistent storylines of the 2022 season, averaging an FBS-best both in yards (525.5) and points (46.1) a game.
With breakout star quarterback Hendon Hooker now off to the NFL, Volunteers head coach Josh Heupel isn't resting on his laurels as attention turns to this fall and beyond.
Months after signing Nicholaus Iamaleava (No. 23 overall in 2023) as part of a class that ESPN ranked 16th, Heupel reeled in four-star quarterback Jake Merklinger (No. 90 overall) on Thursday, bolstering the Vols' 2024 class.
The 6-3, 190-pound Merklinger, the fifth-best pocket passer in the 2024 cycle, also considered Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan State. He threw for 1,987 yards and 32 touchdowns for Calvary Baptist Day School (Georgia) as a junior in 2022 and would be the fourth ESPN 300 quarterback to sign with the Volunteers since 2016 (Jarrett Guarantano, 2016; Harrison Bailey, 2020 and Iamaleava, 2023).
He joins IMG Academy athlete Jonathan Echols (No. 6 overall) and Lipscomb Academy (Tennessee) cornerback Kaleb Beasley (No. 159 overall) as ESPN 300 prospects who have pledged to Tennessee for 2024.