Florida fans should be on guard as Marcus Tatum heads north. However, there isn’t much reason to fret when one of the Gators’ key targets takes an official visit to Tennessee this weekend.
“I would think Florida would be,” the three-star offensive lineman from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland said when asked which school leads for his commitment. “Not much, just by a little. Not extreme. Not impossible (to overcome).”
Tatum was in Gainesville recently. He saw Florida’s exciting comeback to beat the Vols 28-27 on Sept. 26. He said he, his teammates and mother all enjoyed the experience.
“They’re doing a really good job,” Tatum said. “That coaching staff is doing a good job. Just good things going on in Gainesville.”
Tatum thinks Florida’s success could have an impact on recruiting in the Sunshine State.
“A lot more athletes are going to stay in Florida,” he said. “Usually other schools come into Florida and steal all the athletes. Now I’m starting to think more athletes are going to stay in the state of Florida with up-and-coming teams being more successful.”
Tatum said Florida and Tennessee lead for his services. Miami, who he is also considering, has some work to do.
“They’re probably about third on my list behind Florida and Tennessee,” Tatum said.
So what is Tatum’s mindset this weekend during his official visit to Knoxville?
“I’m just going with an open mind,” the 6-foot-6, 265-pound prospect said. “I just want to be exposed to everything and take it all in.”
Tennessee recruiters should take note. They already impressed Tatum when he visited Knoxville this summer. Now, his mother is the one to win over.
“Really, not just me,” Tatum said when asked how the Vols might woo him. “Impress my mom too because my mom didn’t come with me last time I went to Tennessee. My mom’s opinion is big on me. I just want to hear her opinion and get her feelings.”
Tatum has consistently said distance from home won’t be a negative factor for Tennessee.
“Not at all,” he said. “My mom wants me to go wherever I feel happy.”
Florida, however, is nearby and could be establishing themselves as an SEC power once again.
Tatum is the No. 40 offensive lineman prospect in the nation. He is the No. 60 prospect in Florida.