Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel has himself a building block at the quarterback position to build around after the Vols landed the commitment of class of 2022 passer Tayven Jackson in May.
By Steve Wright
Jackson – who is out of Center Grove (Greenwood, IN) High School – is a 4-star prospect per the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He is the No. 326 player in the class, the N. 18 pro-style quarterback in the group, and the No. eight player from Indiana per the same recruiting source.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder certainly seems to have the physical tools to succeed at the collegiate level. He went with the recruiting pitch from Tennessee over other finalists including Florida State, UCLA, Texas A&M, and Arizona State. His junior year was impressive in terms of his stats. Jackson threw for over 1,750 yards on the season – with 17 touchdowns to five interceptions – while completing over 62% of his passes.
In the video below you can see Jackson doing what he does best. The first play shows his arm strength as he is able to whip the ball20 or so yards downfield without being set in any way in his lower body. It also brings up a potential issue with mechanics, but that is something that will be worked on – especially with Heupel being a former quarterback himself.
While the Vols will want him to be a pass-first player, Jackson also has plenty to offer in the dual-threat world of running quarterbacks. Using Lamar Jackson as a comparison is probably putting too much pressure on a teenager, but his long stride in the open field because of his height is very reminiscent of the former Louisville great. Jackson also shows excellent vision when tucking and running with the ball, always doing so for a purpose and never running into trouble just for the sake of it. Those smarts – and that arm – will give the Vols an outstanding option at quarterback when he steps onto campus.