High school senior and Tennessee quarterback commit Tayven Jackson has been tearing it up in this fall’s regular season. First, Jackson led the Center Grove Trojans to an undefeated regular season finishing at 9-0. Then, in the Trojans’ first-round playoff matchup last night, Jackson had another solid performance.
In the second quarter of Center Grove’s 35-7 victory over Franklin Central, Jackson uncorked an incredible deep-pass in the rain. The play, which began on the 49-yard line, went for a 51-yard touchdown pass in the books. However, when watching the video from Indy Star Sports’ Akeem Glaspie, it’s easy to see that Jackson threw the ball almost 50 yards through the air itself. Jackson threw the ball from Franklin Central’s 40-yard line, which was eventually caught by the receiver on the Trojans’ 15-yard line.
Tayven Jackson goes deep to Brandon Wheat for a 51-yard TD. Center Grove leads 28-0, 6:48 left 2Q. pic.twitter.com/oCR9eYjqyy
— Akeem Glaspie (@THEAkeemGlaspie) October 29, 2021
Tayven Jackson, a four-star Tennessee commit from the class of 2022, is currently the second highest-ranked recruit in the Vols’ class. After receiving offers from other prominent SEC programs such as Texas A&M, Florida, and Ole Miss, Jackson officially made his commitment to Heupel and the Vols back towards the end of April. Since his commitment, Jackson has been a standout player on his high school field, hoping to carry over similar success to the Tennessee recruiting trail.
As far as his senior season goes, Jackson has steadily improved many of his statistics. Jackson initially took over as the Trojans starting quarterback as a sophomore. However, in his senior season, Jackson is posting his best season yet in quarterback efficiency (128.7), passing touchdowns (19), yards per game (138.4), completions per game (9), and touchdowns (1.9) per game. Additionally, as mentioned before, the Center Grove Trojans have not lost a game in 2021, with Jackson commanding the offense.
Although, a season without a loss is not unfamiliar territory for Jackson and Center Grove. In 2020, the Trojans went 14-0 on their way to winning the Indiana Class 6A State Tournament in a dominant 38-14 victory. That run, in itself, is quite impressive. Especially considering class 6A is the highest level of competition for high school football in the state of Indiana.
Through Center Grove’s ten games this season, the Trojans have won each game by an average of 32.8 points per contest.
A few months after Jackson committed to Tennessee, the Vols received a commitment from four-star offensive lineman Addison Nichols. After his commitment, Nichols spoke about his excitement to practice and play with Jackson and join him on the recruiting trail.
“Coach Heupel and his staff have already done a great job of creating a culture of success in the program and getting everybody bought into the program and to Tennessee,” Nichols said to Rocky Top Insider in August. “He’s been recruiting guys that fit that culture perfectly, and I feel like me and some of the other commits, like Tayven Jackson, will be able to do our jobs of committing some other guys that will fit really well. I’m excited to get it rolling. I feel like we can get it turned around fast, and it will be good. Tennessee will be back in the races soon.”
Despite the eagerness from the players, Jackson and Nichols are still the only two four-star recruits in Tennessee’s current class, according to 247. However, as Heupel has spoken about in recent weeks, high school recruits are just starting to see what Tennessee will look like in the long term under Heupel: fast, aggressive, and on a mission.