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Transfer portal target to know: Jared Verse

Mississippi State v Tennessee Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The regular season is over, and for 99 percent of teams in existence, the 2022 season is the focus right now. The early signing period opens next week, which is where you’ll do the bulk of your roster building. However, the transfer portal is loaded as usual, giving staffs another option to fill needs.

You’ve seen names hitting the portal all season long, and staffs have now zeroed in on who they want. One of the names on Tennessee’s board is Jared Verse, a defense end who played at Albany this season.

Tennessee, badly needing depth on the edge, sent out an offer to Verse this week.

The 6-4, 247 pound defensive end has three years of eligibility remaining. Tennessee is set to lose Caleb Tremblay, and will need to fill those vacated snaps somehow.

At Albany this season, Verse put up 9.5 sacks and 52 tackles. That big season set him up to move up to the FBS ranks, where he already has offers from Florida State, Syracuse, West Virginia and Nebraska, among plenty others.

Tennessee has two solid starters in Byron Young and Tyler Baron at defense end, but they don’t really have much behind them. We saw the need for depth show up late against Alabama and Georgia, which is the next step for Josh Heupel and his staff. This roster was cleaned out after the 2020 season, and frankly it’s going to take a couple of cycles to build back.

Guys like Verse have the chance to be instant impact players, but still have multiple seasons left to grow and develop. This staff maximized the portal last offseason, and they have a chance to do that again with their excited brand of football.

“In high school, I wasn’t heavily recruited at all,” Verse told the Times Union. “I wasn’t really a big focus for any school. But with the proof in the pudding, being a bigger prospect that teams will look at and everything like that, it’s definitely overwhelming, so many teams coming at you at once, big schools, small schools.”

Verse is just a redshirt freshman, appearing in 15 career games to this point in his college career. Expect several more names to emerge in connection with Tennessee as we get past the early signing period next week.

UPDATE: Verse plans to visit Tennessee on Saturday.