Four-star quarterback Jake Merklinger committed to the Tennessee Volunteers football program, iHeartMedia Associate Editor Jason Hall wrote in a Thursday tweet.
The prospect from Calvary Day School in Savannah, Georgia, chose the Volunteers over offers from Georgia, Michigan State, North Carolina, Florida, Miami, Rutgers and Arkansas, among others, when he committed to Tennessee Thursday afternoon, according to 247Sports.
Merklinger amassed 6,607 passing yards, 75 touchdowns and 452 completions on just over 669 passing attempts over his three years at Calvary Day, according to MaxPreps. He earned just below 2,000 passing yards as he helped guide the Cavaliers to an 11-1 record and 7-0 against regional opponents.
Jake Merklinger joins a 2024 Tennessee recruiting class that ranks at No. 6 in the nation with five four-star recruits. Two athletes, IMG Academy’s Jonathan Echols and Bradley Central’s Marcus Goree Jr., join one four-star receiver in JJ Harrell and a four-star cornerback in Kaleb Beasley.
Five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava headlined the team’s 2023 recruiting class, one that placed at 10th in the nation as 18 other athletes enrolled and six others signed their letters of intent. Eight transfers made their way into Tennessee’s ranks, including four four-star transfer talents, according to 247Sports.
Volunteers freshman quarterback Tayven Jackson entered his name into the football transfer portal after winning the Orange Bowl against Clemson. He played in three games for the Volunteers as he backed up senior quarterback Hendon Hooker, who declared for the 2023 NFL Draft in early January.
Hooker responded to criticisms of playing in an easier Tennessee offense earlier this month.
“A lot of these questions about one-sided reads and stuff, we have pure progression routes,” Hooker said. “It’s not my fault my first read is getting open. We have presnap looks, one-high, two-high, which side. Double-forward combo. We have pure profession with an alert, with an option.
“Any of these questions, they’re cool and all, but if you really dig into our offense and actually watch the film, you would understand it’s elevated to a whole other level. How fast we’re going, we have to process a lot of information at the same time, and communicate with everyone.”