Marcus Tatum is admittedly coming to Tennessee with the Vols trailing Florida in his recruitment. No one will hear Tennessee’s coaches complaining.
“I would think Florida would be,” the three-star offensive lineman from Mainland High School in Daytona Beach (Fla.) said when asked which school leads for his commitment. “Not much, just by a little. Not extreme. Not impossible (to overcome).”
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 itself as an SEC power once again.
“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 that 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.
Tatum is the No. 40 offensive lineman prospect in the nation. He is the No. 60 prospect in Florida.
Tatum said he has no more visits planned. He saw the Vols up close when he visited Florida for matchup against the Vols in Gainesville on Sept. 26..
“I really enjoyed myself,” he said. “I was there with three of my teammates, my mom and my little cousin…They were just talking about how good the game was. It was really fun.”