Tennessee football hosted two official visitors last weekend, a light weekend compared to the dozen prospects headed to campus for this weekend’s crop of official visitors.
Ahead of the July recruiting dead period, the next two weekends are crucial for Tennessee and Josh Heupel’s work to lockdown the 2024 class.
Here’s a look at the prospects officially visiting the Vols this weekend.
DL Williams Nwaneri
Perhaps the biggest name in Knoxville this weekend will be 6-5, 250-pound Nwaneri. He has visited Tennessee a couple of times, with the first coming in January. His first visit catapulted Tennessee as a top contender for the five-star’s talents.
Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon and Missouri are also in play for the prospect out of Lee’s Summit (Mo.) North High School. 247Sports Composite ranks Nwaneri as the No. 2 prospect in the 2024 class, and the No. 1 prospect out of Missouri.
DL Kamarion Franklin
The 6-5, 265 pound prospect out of Lake Cormorant (Miss.) High School, just south of Memphis, will officially visit the Vols this weekend. Tennessee has quickly become a top contender for the No. 43 prospect in the 2024 class.
Franklin will officially visit LSU and Auburn. He has been to Knoxville twice just this year, and has prioritized his relationship with the Vols.
OT Daniel Calhoun
Calhoun also has official visits with Georgia, Texas, Alabama and Auburn. The visit this weekend could be crucial in the Vols quest to beat out some top schools for the 6-foot-6.5 and 330-pound lineman. Calhoun has been a frequent flyer in Knoxville.
Alabama and Georgia are also in play for Calhoun, and he will be a tough get out of Walton (Ga.) High School. He ranks as the No. 96 prospect nationally and the No. 6 offensive tackle.
CB Cai Bates
Bates received an offer from Tennessee in March during his first visit. The prospect out of Edgewater (FL.) High School will be officially visiting the Vols this weekend.
Bates has already officially visited Alabama and he has also officially visited Florida State. The 6-1.5, 180-pound four-star prospect will officially visit LSU next weekend. He ranks as the No. 127 prospect nationally.
WR Braylon Staley
Out of Aiken (S.C.) High School, Staley was extended a scholarship offer in February. Clemson and Miami currently seem to be trending for the 6-foot, 175-pound four-star prospect.
Staley ranks as the No. 163 prospect nationally as well as the No. 24 wide receiver in his class.
LB Edwin Spillman
Brother of freshman wideout Nate Spillman, the prospect out of Lipscomb Academy in Nashville will be on campus this weekend. The four-star has already officially visited Florida State and Ohio State, but Tennessee is the front-runner for Spillman. He will also officially visit Georgia next weekend.
Spillman ranks as the No. 253 prospect nationally and the No. 24 linebacker. The 6-1, 216-pound linebacker is the No. 5 prospect in Tennessee.
OT Marques Easley
The 6-7, 300-pound four-star lineman ranks as the No. 261 prospect nationally. Easley, out of Kankakee (Ill.) High School, received a scholarship offer in January. Georgia hosted the four-star prospect and is trending for the lineman.
Alabama is expected to host Easley for an official as well before he announced his college decision on July 8. He ranks as the No. 23 offensive tackle in his class.
LB Jordan Burns
The four-star prospect received an offer from Tennessee in the fall, and has visited the Vols three times in 2023. The 6-1.5, 215-pound linebacker has taken officials to Vanderbilt and Arkansas.
Arkansas and Tennessee seem to be the main competitors for the prospect out of Atlanta’s Pace Academy. He ranks as the No. 390 player nationally and the No. 34 linebacker.
QB Jake Merklinger
The Vols class of 2024 quarterback commitment will be back in Knoxville this weekend. Merklinger, as the No. 61 player nationally, is currently the highest-ranked player in Tennessee’s class. The 6-3, 195 pound signal caller from Calvary Day School in Savannah, Ga. announced his commitment to Tennessee at the end of March.
ATH Jonathan Echols
Echols was the first player to commit to the Vols’ 2024 class, and he has maintained his pledge for almost a year. The projected four-star, 6-4, 230 pound tight end has continued to hear from Florida and USF. Both schools, not far from his IMG Academy, will receive official visits.
CB Kaleb Beasley
The four-star cornerback out of Lipscomb Academy has been committed to Tennessee since October. Notre Dame has made Beasley a priority, but he has maintained his pledge to the Vols. He ranks as the No. 160 prospect nationally and the No. 1 prospect from Tennessee.
Beasley sits at 6-foot and 179 pounds and will be alongside teammate Spillman on his visit.
OT Jesse Perry
Perry, the only three-star on campus this weekend, has been committed to Tennessee since April 7. The Middle Tennessee Christian School prospect ranks as the No. 30 prospect from Tennessee. Perry, alongside Merklinger, could be crucial peer recruiters for other high profile recruits on campus.
The 6-5 and 278-pound lineman was on campus not long ago for a camp and the “865 Live” weekend.