Four-star quarterback Jake Merklinger committed to Tennessee football over Georgia, Michigan State and North Carolina Thursday afternoon.
— Jake Merklinger (@JakeMerklinger) March 30, 2023
“I just had a great time there,” Merklinger said after committing. “I got to spend a lot of time with Coach Heupe, Coach Halzle. Their program is on the rise. I can’t wait to get into it. The fanbase, the atmosphere, when I went to a game back in the fall— I love everything about it.”
Merklinger commits to the Vols less than a week after taking an unofficial visit to Knoxville and taking in a Tennessee spring practice and baseball game. While the four-star’s decision comes immediately after a Tennessee visit, Merklinger visited all four of his finalists in March.
The blue-chip recruit plans to early enroll at Tennessee in January 2024 before competing for the starting job in his freshman season.
The Savannah, Georgia native ranks as the No. 55 player and No. 6 quarterback in the country according to the 247sports composite rankings. Merklinger also ranks as the No. 9 player in the state of Georgia.
Merklinger’s March trip to Knoxville was just his latest in a long recruitment. Josh Heupel and his staff targeted Merklinger for a long time and hosted the blue-chip recruit for four visits in 2022 including for the Alabama and Kentucky games in October.
The 6-foot-3, 195 pound signal caller picked Tennessee over Georgia, Michigan State and North Carolina but holds 28 offers including from Ole Miss, Auburn and Florida.
Tennessee’s 2024 recruiting class now contains six commits and five blue-chip recruits. Heupel and quarterback coach Joey Halzle pulling in a top 100 ranked quarterback the year after signing five-star Nico Iamaleava is a very impressive feat.
With Merklinger’s commitment, Tennessee’s 2024 recruiting class ranks sixth nationally according to the 247sports team rankings.