One of the Tennessee Vols‘ biggest additions during the early signing period was four-star quarterback Tayven Jackson.

Jackson, 6-foot-4/195 lbs from Greenwood, IN (Center Grove), is ranked in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 13 quarterback in the nation and the No. 5 player in Indiana.

When the Vols missed on five-star quarterback Ty Simpson earlier this year, UT head coach Josh Heupel quickly made Jackson his top priority.

Jackson committed to Tennessee in late April, giving the Vols the centerpiece of their 2022 recruiting class.

Jackson will be the first high school quarterback brought to Tennessee by Heupel. This is the handpicked quarterback that Heupel wants to run his offense.

That alone should excite fans. Heupel inherited Hendon Hooker this season (Hooker transferred to UT before Jeremy Pruitt was fired) and helped turn him into one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC.

Imagine what Heupel will be able to do with a quarterback that he recruited himself.

On Wednesday, Heupel discussed the players that Tennessee signed on the first day of the early signing period. And he had some extremely positive things to say about Jackson.

“He’s a two-time state champion,” said Heupel of Jackson. “He comes from an elite program and understands the work habits that you have to have to go achieve something individually and collectively as a team. I think he’s just scratching the surface of what he’s going to be as a quarterback.”

“He’s got a long frame and is going to continue to build that out. He has the ability to use his feet both in the pocket and out of the pocket to make plays down the field as a passer. He has the ability to use his feet as a weapon as well. I think that’s only going to increase as he gains confidence in his body. He’s got a very compact type of delivery. As he understands and learns some fundamental things, I think he’s going to have a chance to spread the ball sideline to sideline and vertically down the field.”

Jackson, like many of the quarterbacks who find success at a high level, is a multi-sport athlete who also excels at basketball.

“He’s an elite basketball player,” noted Heupel. “I watched some of his basketball tape. He’s got great spatial awareness, which is something that I think is important and correlates over to playing the quarterback position, as he understands bodies in motion and understands windows.”

“We’re really excited about him,” added Heupel.

Jackson is an elite athlete and a fierce competitor. Those are two traits that are necessary to be a successful quarterback in the SEC.

It sounds like the Vols got a stud in Jackson. Tennessee could be “crazy good” in a couple of years with Jackson leading the offense.

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