Josh Heupel and Company just landed their top quarterback target for the 2022 recruiting class in Tayven Jackson, and Jackson is a huge addition. SI Director of Recruiting John Garcia Jr. gives a look at what makes Jackson so special.
“Jackson has one of the biggest arms in the country on tape," Garcia said. "I think if you looked at that singularly, it would tell you he’s going to garner Power 5 interest. But when you start to match it together with his other traits, which include a great frame, true athleticism, and some precision, now all of a sudden you get the makings of a potential franchise guy from a physical perspective."
Jackson's pedigree as an all-around athlete is what makes him so special.
"I think it’s no secret that he has that big arm, but the basketball pedigree makes him so interesting," Garcia Jr. said. "It really verifies the athleticism that he doesn’t always have to show on tape because the arm is so big. I think they went to the state title game. He was player of the year somewhere. When you put all of those things together, you talk about a true athlete who really hasn’t ever given that 100% focus to football. So it makes you that much more intrigued to see what he can do once he does go all in on the sport, which would presumably be in the next calendar year or sooner than that. It makes you wonder just how impressive he could because some of the knocks on the kid are his consistency, his accuracy over time, and things that really come with time and coaching and development. So I think it’s quite the mirroring of what Josh Heupel wants to be at Tennessee when you talk about pairing a new coach with, really, his “guy,” right? Every coach wants to find their guy at quarterback, especially when you’re a former elite quarterback at the collegiate level yourself. You really wants to pair yourself with that prospect, and I think from an opportunity perspective, you can see the physical traits."
Below, Garcia reveals why the pairing with Tennessee could be a perfect match.
"But can he be developed," he questioned. "That’s the task for both Jackson and Heupel simultaneously, so to link it up the first year, really the first few months that Heupel is on the job, makes a lot of sense. It also makes sense from a regional standpoint. It makes sense from a skillset standpoint; we know the staff is going to ask a lot athletically of the quarterback position, so I think Jackson fits in that regard as well."
"But I think the most intriguing thing is the physical traits and the room for improvement, not only this next year as he’s a senior but once he focuses on football going into college. And once he focuses on football going into college, how quickly he can develop and hit some of the marks that maybe some other quarterbacks are a little ahead of him on in that developmental scale."
"His best plays are right there with the top quarterback in the country’s best plays. It’s a fun tape to watch. He will be a fun prospect, and the most exciting quarterback get for Tennessee for me in several, several years from just a ceiling and potential standpoint.”