Walker Merrill received an early scholarship offer from Tennessee in April 2019, and the Vols pursued him for nearly a year before he announced his commitment to them more than four months ago. A video he posted Saturday on his Twitter account shows why they wanted him.
The Class of 2021 wide receiver from Brentwood (Tenn.) High School tweeted a video featuring several highlights from some offseason workouts that show him running a variety of routes and making a couple of impressive catches on downfield throws.
The 6-foot-1, 178-pound Merrill has been timed at 4.48 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has posted a broad jump of 10 feet 5 inches, according to the video, which was produced by Nashville-based National Playmakers Academy.
Merrill said some of the clips shown in the video weren’t recorded during a recent workout. But he creates separation in one-on-one passing drills and shows reliable hands, offering glimpses of the natural ability that allowed him to pile up more than 20 offers before he committed to Tennessee on March 31.
He chose the Vols over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt at the time. He previously had named a top seven that also included LSU, South Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest.
One of three in-state prospects in Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class, Merrill is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 58 wide receiver in the 2021 class and the No. 11 senior from the state of Tennessee.
In late June, he told GoVols247 that he believes he has “gotten better for sure” throughout the offseason. He said he was hand-timed at 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a National College Evaluation Camp in Nashville, which was hosted by NPA and College Bound Athletics.
“We’ve done a lot of explosive stuff — like, speed work and route-running — so I think I’ve gotten better in those areas, for sure,” Merrill said in June. “I think I’m a great route-runner, and I think that’s how I’m going to be used in college.”
Merrill, who plans to graduate in December and arrive at Tennessee in January as an early enrollee, caught 62 passes for 568 yards during his junior season at Brentwood.
Barton Simmons, 247Sports’ director of scouting, said in late March that there’s plenty to like about Merrill. Simmons compared him to former Tennessee wide receiver Zach Rogers, a fellow Nashville-area native who started 16 games for the Vols, “because he’s very athletic.”
Merrill posted a 39-inch vertical jump last year at The Opening Regional in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
“He hasn’t necessarily shown that he’s got elite long speed yet. But he is an above-average athlete,” Simmons said of Merrill. “He is a guy that has some burst to him, so I think that’s been validated beyond just the football field.”
Watch the video above to see a few clips of Merrill in action.