Tennessee football receives crystal ball for third five-star quarterback in five years

Tennessee v Missouri
Tennessee v Missouri / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

Since coming to Rocky Top, Josh Heupel and the Tennessee football coaching staff have worked hard on the recruiting trail and transfer portal. The Vols have brought one five-star quarterback and one four-star quarterback to Rocky Top, with another five-star committed in the 2025 class. 

As the full-time quarterback, Nico Iamaleava is getting ready to lead the Vols through the T for the first time this fall. Heupel also has four-star freshman Jake Merklinger sitting behind Nico this year, and five-star quarterback George MacIntyre out of Brentwood, Tennessee, is committed to staying home and playing for the Vols in 2025. 

While there is already plenty of competition in the quarterback room and a clear starter for the next three seasons, that's not stopping some of the best quarterbacks in the country from considering the Vols. 

On3 Sports' Steve Wiltfong has predicted a third five-star quarterback to commit to Tennessee. 2026 five-star quarterback Faizon Brandon, out of Greensboro, North Carolina, has been predicted to commit to the Vols. 

Brandon is from the same town as Hendon Hooker, who took the Vols to ten wins in 2022. He was one of the best quarterbacks Heupel could ask for in his system, and Hooker hasn't stopped recruiting for the Vols since heading to the NFL. 

Hooker has been involved in Brandon's recruiting process since his time at Tennessee. Brandon has stayed connected with Hooker and his family, which has been an important factor for Tennessee remaining in Brandon's recruiting process up to this point. 

"(Hooker) said keep working, never stop working," Brandon told 247Sports. "And he's said a lot of good things to the (Tennessee) coaches about me. … His dad has told me that they treat him well (at Tennessee), and he said the move from Virginia Tech to there really felt like home, like, a much better home there."

Wiltfong gives Tennessee an 84.6% chance at landing Brandon, according to On3's Recruiting Prediction Machine. No other team is above 5% on On3's RPM. 

Brandon is the 10th-ranked player in the nation, the 2nd-highest-ranked quarterback in the country, and the 2nd-highest-ranked player in North Carolina, according to On3. Wiltfong has Brandon committing to the Vols over North Carolina State, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Duke, and North Carolina. 

247Sports has Brandon as the country's No. 1-ranked quarterback and player. Not only would adding Brandon to the 2026 recruiting class immediately skyrocket Tennessee's recruiting rankings, but it would also give Tennessee a foundational piece for the 2026 class, similar to Nico, Merklinger, and MacIntyre for the past three classes. 

We're still a long way from 2026. A lot can happen with Tennessee's recruiting class, coaching staff, and performance on the field that can change how and who Tennessee recruits for better or for worse. 

SEC coaches have high praise for Nico Iamaleava. SEC coaches have high praise for Nico Iamaleava. dark. Next

Brandon plans to hold off on committing until after the 2024 season, but we will see if he sticks to that timeline or becomes a verbal commit before the Vols kick off the season against Chattanooga.