Despite addressing key needs for the future in his 2022 class, Josh Heupel let too much in-state talent get away from Tennessee football, most notably Walter Nolen, a five-star defensive lineman who spent his senior year in Knox County. That’s what kept the class from being ranked in the top 10 across all services.
To be fair to Heupel, he was dealing with a ton of issues during most of the recruiting season, so even players from within the state were going to look the other way. Now, though, it’s a different story. UT has most of its drama behind it, and there’s reason to believe in the program.
Obviously, Heupel needs to go national, but there are players within the state who directly address his future needs and bring a ton of talent to the program. Let’s break down who they would be in this post. Here are the top five in-state Tennessee football prospects should pursue for its 2023 recruiting class.
5. Marcel Reed – Quarterback
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn. (Montgomery Bell Academy)
A quarterback is necessary for every recruiting class. That is fundamental to building a program. Not having an option ready beyond Jonathan Crompton was part of what did Phillip Fulmer in way back in 2008, and every Vol fan has known that to be a necessity ever since. After Hendon Hooker, the Vols will have another open quarterback competition.
Tayven Jackson is the highly touted four-star dual-threat in the 2022 class. Navy Shuler, son of Heath Shuler, is a wildcard who transferred from the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Joe Milton III will bring the experience as a fifth-year senior in 2023. However, Heupel could use another guy for competition, particularly after Milton is gone.
Marcel Reed, who stands between 6’1″ and 6’2″ and weighs in the range of 160 to 180 pounds, is another dual-threat quarterback. Coming out of Davidson County, he three-star on Rivals and On3 but a four-star on ESPN and 247Sports. He clearly brings a good bit of potential, and if he chooses Tennessee football, the Vols will have lots of options going forward.