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Several Tennessee Football Signees to Compete at Polynesian Bowl

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Tennessee football is well-represented at the Polynesian Bowl, which is set to kick off on Friday at Kūnuiākea Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The game will air on NFL Network at 9 p.m. ET.

The Vols are represented by signees Jordan Ross, Mike Matthews, Jake Merklinger, Bennett Warren and Edwin Spillman.

Class of 2023 five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava took part in the Polynesian Bowl last season, and now the Vols will have five signees competing in the game.

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Here’s a look at the Vols’ five Polynesian Bowl members.

Five-star EDGE Jordan Ross

One of the highest-ranked prospects in Tennessee’s 2024 class, five-star Jordan Ross ranks as the No. 33 prospect overall and the No. 3 EDGE in the 2024 class by 247Sports Composite.

Ross, out of Vestavia Hills in Birmingham, Alabama, mainly played as a standup linebacker in high school. The 6-foot-4.5 and 233-pound pass rusher will likely have to add size before seeing extended playing time.

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Ross has caused havoc already at the Polynesian Bowl practices. 247Sports references Ross’ physicality and his strong build during the practices.

Five-star WR Mike Matthews

Mike Matthews was another top prospect in the Vols’ 2024 class. The five-star prospect ranks as the No. 20 overall prospect and the No. 5 reciever in the 2024 class by 247Sports Composite.

Out of Parkview High School in Georgia, Matthews highlights Tennessee’s 2024 class. He went for 751 yards on 39 passes with nine touchdowns this season. He was named Georgia Region 4-AAAAAA Offensive Player of the Year.

Matthews received praise from 247Sports as a top performer in Polynesian Bowl practices. He won several 50-50 balls and was a consistent option at outside wide receiver.

Four-star QB Jake Merklinger

Tennessee’s quarterback for the 2024 class is Jake Merklinger. The four-star ranks as the No. 129 prospect overall and the No. 10 quarterback by 247Sports Composite rankings.

Merklinger, at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, could be classified as a gunslinger at the position. He brings an interesting dynamic to Tennessee’s quarterback room.

247Sports put Merklinger behind Dylan Raiola, the top QB in the class, in terms of consistency at the bowl practices. Merklinger’s 69-yard pass highlighted his day.

Four-star OL Bennett Warren

Warren ranks as the No. 149 prospect overall and the No. 11 offensive tackle by 247Sports Composite. He gives the Vols much-needed depth on the offensive line.

The 6-foot-7.5 and 330-pound lineman possesses ready-to-play size at the college level. He also faces his fair share of good high school competition, hailing from Fort Bend Christian Academy in Sugarland, Texas. Warren also threw in field events like discus and he played basketball.

Four-star LB Edwin Spillman

The four-star linebacker ranks as the No. 335 prospect overall and the No. 27 linebacker in the 2024 class by 247Sports Composite.

Spillman, out of Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, had 87 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, three sacks and three pass break ups in his senior season. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound linebacker is the brother of current-Vol receiver Nate Spillman.

Spillman made several plays at Polynesian Bowl practice that caught eyes, including a couple tackles-for-loss and a near-interception in coverages, according to 247Sports.

Tennessee’s full 2024 class

Five-star EDGE Jordan Ross

Five-star WR Mike Matthews (Enrolled)

Four-star WR Braylon Staley (Enrolled)

Four-star OT Bennett Warren

Four-star DB Boo Carter (Enrolled)

Four-star CB Kaleb Beasley

Four-star RB Peyton Lewis

Four-star QB Jake Merklinger (Enrolled)

Four-star OT Max Anderson (Enrolled)

Four-star LB Edwin Spillman

Four-star OL William Satterwhite (Enrolled)

Three-star DL Kellen Lindstrom

Three-star LB Jordan Burns

Three-star ATH Marcus Goree Jr. (Enrolled)

Three-star TE Cole Harrison

Three-star OT Jesse Perry (Enrolled)

Three-star DB Edrees Farooq (Enrolled)

Three-star DL Jeremias Heard

Three-star OL Gage Ginther (Enrolled)

Three-star DL Carson Gentle

Three-star JUCO DL Jamal Wallace

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