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Right-hander Tanner Franklin commits to Tennessee

Right-hander Tanner Franklin commits to Tennessee

Right-hander Tanner Franklin commits to Tennessee

Tennessee’s first commitment via the transfer portal comes from a right-handed pitcher who is a product of East Tennessee. Tanner Franklin.

The Jefferson County native made it official Tuesday with an announcement on social media. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound pitcher played his first two seasons at Kennesaw State and entered the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining on June 17. Franklin is eligible for the draft next summer in 2025.

Franklin compiled a 4-1 record with a 5.60 ERA in 21 appearances with one start in 2024. The sophomore completed 27.1 innings pitched with 43 strikeouts and 27 walks while opponents hit .212 against the right-hander. He also recorded five saves in the back end of the bullpen. In 2023, as a freshman, Franklin had an 8.18 ERA in 13 appearances with two starts and 11 innings pitched.

Last spring, he pitched a season-high four innings of one-run baseball on 67 pitches with 11 strikeouts and three walks in a game in Queens on April 20.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. It doesn’t feel real yet, but it’s a really cool opportunity. I’m really excited,” Franklin told Volquest.

Josh Elander, an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, played for the Chatham Anglers of the Cape Cod League this summer and was on hand last weekend and both had a chance to catch up. The pitcher committed to the team on Saturday and is projected to be a bullpen pitcher who could see high-leverage situations.

Franklin will bring a high-velocity arm with a fastball that sits between 97 and 99 mph. He also throws a cutter with a breaking curve and chose the Vols over in-state rival Vanderbilt. As a senior with the 2022 (Jefferson County) Patriots, the right-hander won Mr. Tennessee Baseball with 101 strikeouts and a 0.95 ERA.

The transfer portal opened on June 3 and will remain open through July 2. Seven players have entered Tennessee’s transfer portal, a list that includes Matthew Dallas, Wyatt Evans, Daniel Parris, Derek Schaefer, Robin Villeneuve, Bradke Lohry and 2023 third baseman Zane Denton. Tennessee earned a commitment from junior college pitcher Thomas Crabtree before heading to Omaha and Franklin becomes the first commitment to come out of the transfer portal for the 2024 cycle.