Merrill

Brentwood High School receiver Walker Merrill will be sticking with the Volunteer State at the next level. 

The three-star receiver announced to Rivals Tuesday his intent to commit to Tennessee and become a Vol after he graduates in 2021. 

"It's home," Merrill said on the Rivals video interview after he donned the orange cap. "The coaching staff did a real great job of recruiting me...I've got a great opportunity to come in early to play. 

"Tennessee, they've sent a lot of guys to the NFL, and I think I've got a very good shot to play in the NFL, as well as having a successful afterlife of football." 

Merrill spoke more to how he sees his fit with the organization and his conversation with Tennessee assistant head coach and receivers coach Tee Martin, a former Vols quarterback himself. 

"They had two crucial receivers leaving," Merrill said, mentioning former Vols Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway. "And then they've got [Josh] Palmer, this is his last year. So they need a lot of guys to come in to play receiver that can be ready to strap up early, and that's what I want to do.

"I want to go in and compete." 

The receiver narrowed down his list to Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt earlier this week. 

He said that he and his family had a lot of time together over Spring Break to really break down how this felt like the right time to commit to a team. 

"That was a crucial part of the process for me, my decision," Merrill said. 

Merrill is Rivals' 86th-best receiver in the country for the class of 2021 and is the 15th best prospect in the state for that class. 

He will likely be catching passes one day from QB Harrison Bailey, a five-star prospect on Rivals who will join the Vols in fall 2020. 

"I've watched his film, he's a great player," Merrill said. "He's dynamic. I don't know him yet. I mean, I'm sure we'll develop a great relationship. But he sent me a text to see if I need anything or if I ever will need anything. So that's just the first step, without even knowing him, and he reaches out. That just shows what kind of family Tennessee has." 

He says his next step is to help convince some of the other prospects he knows to join him with the Volunteers. 

Before joining Tennessee, Merrill will return to the gridiron this fall for his final season with the Bruins. 

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