An official visit to Tennessee has Marcus Tatum rethinking his recruitment.
“They made up ground, but as for establishing a leader, I’m going to examine some things,” the 6-foot-6 ½, 255-pound offensive lineman from Mainland High School (Daytona Beach, Fla.) said after returning to Florida on Sunday evening.
Tatum told SEC Country last week that Florida led for his services. Uncertainty should be considered a win for the Vols. Now, the three-star prospect wants to take some time to mull things over.
Tatum said he’ll focus on the remainder of his high school football season for the foreseeable future. Playoff games are more pressing than official visits.
“I’m just going to push all of that to the side,” Tatum said of his recruitment.
Tatum visited Tennessee last summer. He was so impressed that he knew he wanted to take an official visit during the season. Tatum was back and the Vols provided the visit he was hoping for.
“I’d seen all the football aspects of Tennessee (during the summer visit) but I never really got to sit down and talk to a bunch of people,” Tatum said. “That really stood out to me.”
In order to get a feel for Tennessee’s campus, Tatum spoke to most anyone he came across while in Knoxville. Professors, tutors and students all gave him the same comfortable feeling that he described as a “family atmosphere”. Tatum also felt the community’s collective support of the team.
“Just seeing how that whole campus feels about that team is really cool,” he said. “They’re really respected there.”
Tatum was hosted by offensive linemen Jashon Robertson and Brett Kendrick. Tatum said he also spent extensive time with the rest of the offensive line and running backs after Tennessee beat South Carolina 27-24.
“It was really good just talking to them,” Tatum said. “We were just talking about the football aspect. The real important thing was how coach Mo (offensive line coach Don Mahoney) coaches and how the coaches support you.”
Tatum also brought his mother along. He said she was also impressed by the visit.
“She really enjoyed herself,” he said. “She felt the family atmosphere. She felt really comfortable.”
Tatum has repeatedly said his mother will have a strong influence on his decision. She spent time with the coaches’ and players’ families to get extra insight into Tennessee’s program.
“She can spot people’s true character and she really liked the whole vibe of the whole place,” Tatum said.
Tatum is also considering Miami. Tatum is the No. 40 offensive lineman prospect in the nation. He is the No. 60 prospect in Florida.