ATLANTA — The wheels starting turning in the mind of Marquez Bembry when he attended Tennessee football camp last summer.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Bembry can recall how well he was treated by the coaches, what he learned at the camp and his first look from within Neyland Stadium. It was a positive impression, for sure, though quite early in Bembry’s recruiting process.
The key transition for Bembry took place later in the summer, while he was training for his junior season at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.
“I noticed how fast high school was going by, so I decided I needed to make the best of it, really step up,” Bembry said on Thursday. “I needed to be even more of a leader, and to be leader, I had to show my teammates that I could take on different roles.”
Bembry, who committed to Tennessee on March 14, starred on offense and defense for the Mustangs last season, making 31 catches for 397 yards on offense, while racking up 110 tackles and 20 sacks coming off the edge on defense.
The college scholarship offers rolled in for the Class of 2017 prospect. Bembry narrowed his choices to Tennessee, Kansas State, Mississippi State and Kentucky. Georgia, Louisville and Wisconsin were among other schools that offered, but Bembry had his heart set on the Vols.
Tennessee, noticing how Bembry’s size and performance had improved since his summer camp appearance in Knoxville, made its scholarship offer in January.
“I thought about it over spring break, and something told me I needed to (commit),” Bembry said. “Besides the 100,000 fans at Neyland Stadium, I saw how Tennessee played against tough opponents like Alabama; they played them close, like no one else in the SEC.
“You can tell Tennessee is a football program that’s going in the right direction.”
The commitment Bembry made to himself to be at his best certainly paid dividends, with first-team all-state honors preceding his scholarship offer from the Vols.
The hard-working approach also carried over to the track season, where Bembry made his debut this spring.
Bembry ran a 10.68-second time in the 100 meters at the Georgia High School state track meet at Memorial Stadium in Jefferson, Georgia, good for second in the state in the Class 1A ranks. He also took third in the 200 meters with a 21.93-second performance.
Thursday marked the end of final exams for Bembry, who will now take a short break before Mount Vernon’s “Our Mission” summer workout program begins on June 6 at the school’s north Atlanta perimeter campus.
Bembry, a three-star prospect,, is rated the No. 61 athlete in the nation and the No. 75 player in the state of Georgia.
All ratings are from the 247Sports composite rankings unless otherwise noted