Tennessee bested one of its fiercest rivals for a top prospect when Marcus Tatum committed to the Vols over several scholarship offers, including one from the Florida Gators.
The three-star offensive lineman from Mainland High School (Daytona Beach, Fla.) announced his commitment via Twitter on Monday. Tatum had also been considering Alabama and Miami.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this lengthy and fun process,” Tatum stated. “It’s been a blessing to receive all this support. Thank you to every coach that has offered me an opportunity to play football and further my education at such great schools. But I am proud and thankful to say that I am committed to the University of Tennessee.”
It was an official visit to Tennessee in November that started things moving in the right direction for the Vols. Shortly after returning from the trip, Tatum said, “They made up ground.” Florida had long been thought to be the leader for Tatum.
The 6-foot-7, 255-pound prospect is rated as the No. 44 offensive tackle in the nation and No. 62 prospect in Florida. Tatum had seen Tennessee during a summer visit, but the official visit in November allowed his mother to inspect the Vols up close.
“She really enjoyed herself,” he said. “She felt the family atmosphere. She felt really comfortable…She can spot people’s true character and she really liked the whole vibe of the whole place.”
Tatum said he was also impressed with the support the football team received from the community.
“Just seeing how that whole campus feels about that team is really cool,” he said. “They’re really respected there.”
Tatum also visited the Vols as they were preparing for the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla.
All player ranking and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.