Wide receiver Marquez North has decided to take his immense talents to Tennessee.
As Fox Sports’ Bob Redman said regarding North’s announcement via Twitter, this was a big-time get for the Vols:
Looks like Tennessee got a big time commit in WR Marquez North Rt @numero8_thebestI will be going to Tennesse in the fall— Bob Redman (@BobRedmanFSNEXT) January 31, 2013
The elite recruit was courted by several coaching staffs before deciding Tennessee was his best option.
North features a rare combination of size and speed that should make him a star at the collegiate level. Once he gains the necessary experience and learns the system, there aren't many cornerbacks capable of shutting a player with his natural ability down for 60 minutes.
247Sports' composite rankings have North as the 11th-best wide receiver and the No. 90 overall recruit in the 2013 class. He's a 4-star athlete and is deemed the second-best prospect coming out of North Carolina this year.
Some concerns were raised in November when he underwent shoulder surgery, according to Langston Wertz Jr. of the Charlotte Observer. Mike Palmieri, his coach at Mallard Creek High School, didn't sound worried about any long-term issues, though:
"This is something he’s had issues with," Palmieri said. "He didn’t miss any games. It’s a lingering thing. We’ll be alright. Of course, this hurts a little bit. But we’re confident in what we’ve got."
Given his upside, a shoulder injury wasn't going to be enough for programs around the country to stop pursuing him. At least 21 top programs showed interest, according to 247Sports, including some from the SEC, and all but one (Alabama) made him an official offer.
Clearly, this young man has wide-ranging appeal.
He checks in at 6'4'' and 212 pounds, boasting an exceptional 40-time of 4.41. Normally a player with that type of size at such a young age is viewed as a possession receiver who can move the chains, but North's speed brings another dimension to the table.
Not only does he have the ability to run those middle routes to pick up first downs, but he's also capable of getting behind the secondary for long touchdowns. It's a combination that surely had a lot of offensive coaches hoping he would land on their rosters.
As long as he's back to full strength before practice gets underway, he should be able to make a pretty quick impact at the next level. And it probably won't be long before he's tearing apart secondaries on a regular basis.