University of Tennessee volleyball coach Eve Rackham announced the signing of five players for the 2019 class on Tuesday.
The first-year coach continues to add top talent from the state of Tennessee and around the country with the signing of multiple top-250 prospects according to PrepVolleyball.com. The 2019 signing class includes Maddie Bryant (DS/L), Morgahn Fingall (RS/OH), Kailey Keeble (S), Emily Merrick (RS/OH) and Madisen Werdell (DS/L).
"We are incredibly excited to welcome these young women into our Lady Vol Volleyball program," Coach Rackham said. "Each of them bring something unique and special, which will add great depth to our returning roster. Our staff is excited about their potential and believe they will help us compete both in the SEC and nationally."
Maddie Bryant | DS/L | Anderson, S.C. | T.L. Hanna HS | Upward Stars
• Selected to the South Carolina All-State Team as a senior while also being awarded with the Wendy's High School Heisman (School Winner) and Region Player of the Year in 2018. She was also a three-time All-Region selection (2016-18) and a two-time captain of her high school team (2017-18)
• Named to the AVCA Phenom List 2015- 17, Ultra Ankle JVA Watchlist 2016-17 while being honored with 2018 17U All- American status and the JVA Athleader Award in 2018
• Accumulated 2,145 digs, 231 aces and 332 kills over her four-year career at T.L. Hanna HS
From Coach Rackham: "Maddie is a player who plays with a ton of confidence. She has a great serve, the ability to take a lot of court as a receiver and seems to always be in the right place at the right time on defense. We are excited to see her contributions in our program as her game develops. Our program has a long history of high-level liberos and I believe Maddie has the potential to be another one."
From Maddie Bryant: "I chose the University of Tennessee because they value women's as much as men's sports. The environment is great and I felt like I was at home. The coaches, staff and faculty truly want their student-athletes to have the best experience."
Morgahn Fingall | RS/OH | Fairfax, Va. | Chantilly HS | Metro Volleyball Club
• Named as a top-250 recruit by PrepVolleyball.com while being one of just nine right sides to make the Senior Aces: The "150" list
• Earned All-District First Team in 2016, 2017 and 2018 while being named All-Region Second Team 2017 inn Virginia
• Guided her high school team to the 2018 Regional Championship. It was just the third time in school history and ten years since the last championship
From Coach Rackham: "Morghan is a physical left-handed opposite who is a shutdown blocker. We are looking forward to her development and believe her best years of volleyball are ahead. She will certainly fill our need for another pin hitter, and gives us a different dynamic on the right side. She has the capability to be a six-rotation player, which we hope to see in her career. Morghan's work ethic and desire to improve will be huge assets to our program. We cannot wait to have her on Rocky Top."
From Morgahn Fingall: "I was amazed to see the many things this university has to offer. Not only to athletes but to students and the whole state of Tennessee, a university that is proud of its foundations and the people that are a part of it. The location of the university with its proximity to the smoky mountains, the urban setting of the campus with its checkered buildings and bright orange made the University special and unique. I fell in love with the idea of becoming a Vol for life. The team and the coaches had a passion and drive for success in the future; making the opportunity to become Vol a great one."
Kailey Keeble | S | Walland, Tenn. | Heritage HS | K2 Volleyball Club
• No. 64 in PrepVolleyball.com's top 100 aces, No. 2 player in the state of Tennessee, 7th highest-rated recruit committed to an SEC program and No. 9 ranked setter in the country
• Under Armor All-American Honorable Mention, JVA All-National Team in 2017, AAU 18-Open All-American Team in 2018
• Amassed 1,681 kills, 1,653 digs, 182 blocks and 2,249 assists in her four-year career at Heritage HS leading her team to the state for the first time in school history in 2018.
From Coach Rackham: "Kailey is a high-level setter who is very much in the mold of our current setters. She is fast, plays great defense and can locate the ball really well. Her club training has allowed for her to play at an extremely high level, and I think she will be ready to help us right away. Kailey is a competitor and I love that about her. Both of her parents attended UT, which is a special thing to have. I am excited to have one of the best players in the state on our roster, and I know Kailey is excited to be a Lady Vol."
From Kailey Keeble: "Growing up close to campus, I would attend all the athletic events. So, I have been a huge Vol fan ever since I can remember. It just feels like home every time I'm there."
Emily Merrick | RS/OH | Flower Mound, Texas | Flower Mound HS | Texas Image ASICS Black
• Named as a top-250 recruit by PrepVolleyball.com
• Earned Second Team All-District and academic All-District Team as a junior while being named First Team All-District and academic All-District Team her senior season
• Led her team to a the 6A Texas state championship while helping her team to a 41-7 record and a top-5 national ranking in the USA Today Super 25 Rankings
From Coach Rackham: "Emily is a player who has the potential to be really special. At 6'4, she is long and athletic with terrific feet. A former soccer player, who picked up volleyball recently, Emily has a huge ceiling. Also a lefty, she recently won a state championship in Texas, playing on the right side for Flower Mound. She has become accustomed to winning, which makes us excited to add her into our culture. Emily is continuing to improve and we believe she will surprise a lot of people as she progresses."
From Emily Merrick: "Once coach Rackham took the head coaching job at Tennessee, I went out for a visit and fell in love. I believe in coach Rackham and the staff, and feel like Tennessee gives me the best opportunity to compete for a national championship."
Madisen Werdell | DS/L | Park Ridge, Ill. | Maine South HS | Sky High Volleyball Club
• Two-time IHSA scholar Athlete and two-time CSL All-Conference Scholar Athlete
• Named as an All-Conference selection in 2016, 2017 and 2018 while earning Pioneer Press All-Area Second Team honors in 2016, Voyager Media All-Area Team honors in 2017 and Pioneer Press All-Area Honorable Mention in 2017
• Holds Maine South HS record with 1,418 career digs while also holding the season season mark with 553 digs in the 2018
From Coach Rackham: "Madisen will be a fantastic addition to our class. She has an elite platform for passing and a tenacious attitude on defense. She will also be a terrific teammate who I see being a future leader in our program. Our staff has put a lot of stock into recruiting back row players and we believe Madisen will add significant depth to our established core. We love the enthusiasm she plays with and look for her to help stabilize serve receive in the years to come."
From Madisen Werdell: "Ever since I was a little girl, I've always wanted to go to school in the south. I have always loved the SEC because of what a powerhouse conference it is. When I arrived at the University of Tennessee for camp, I felt right at home. I loved the coaches, the facilities and the deep-seeded traditions that were evident at the University of Tennessee. I am beyond thrilled to be a Lady Vol."