In-State WR Has Vols Among Top Teams

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    (Photo via Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean)

    One of the top wide receivers in the state of Tennessee has his top teams in mind, and he’s ready to make an announcement soon.

    Walker Merrill, a 6-foot-1, 176-pound wideout who plays for Brentwood High School, tweeted out his list of top seven teams in his recruitment on Wednesday, and the Vols made the cut. Tennessee was included along with LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Wake Forest. Merrill also added that he has an announcement “coming soon,” hinting that he would be making a commitment soon.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Merrill is the No. 371 overall prospect, No. 61 receiver, and No. 11 recruit in the state of Tennessee. He’s the No. 3 wideout in the state per the composite rankings, and the regular 247Sports rankings have him just outside of four-star range, placing him No. 6 overall in the state and ranking him first among wide receivers in the state of Tennessee.

    Merrill has been on Tennessee’s radar for a while, as UT’s coaching staff extended a scholarship offer to him almost a year ago in early April of 2019. He’s since taken a couple trips over to Knoxville to see the Vols, making an unofficial visit to campus when Tennessee played South Carolina in late October and again visiting for a Junior Day event in mid-January of this year.

    Before the COVID-19 outbreak put the sports world on hold, Merrill was participating in camps and seven-on-seven events and was impressing. At one of those events, Brandon Martin of VR2, our recruiting partners at RTI, caught up with Merrill and discussed his play and his recruitment. At the time, Merrill was planning on visiting the Vols to see them during a spring practice, but that’s been put on hold as practices are currently postponed. Merrill also noted at the time that Tennessee, Wake Forest, Ole Miss, and Vanderbilt were the teams “leaning on him the hardest.”

    Merrill is very hard to take down one-on-one, and he makes defenders miss time and time again and is adept at breaking tackles. His route-running has developed a lot, and he’s strong on the technical side of things. Merrill won’t absolutely wow you with his speed, but he’s not slow, either. He has a good enough burst to get by defenders and uses his physicality to do the rest.

    As a junior, Merrill caught 62 passes for 568 yards and also returned a kick-off four a score as Brentwood made it to the Class 6A state quarterfinals.

    Tennessee has a need for wide receivers in their 2021 recruiting class, and they currently have a commitment from four-star Jordan Mosley at the position.