Tennessee was anticipating top recruit Marquez North to play a large role as a true freshman, and the 6’4” receiver has looked impressive in the opening practices to suggest he could be the next great receiver for the Volunteers.
It’s no secret that Tennessee is searching for playmakers at receiver with the team’s top three receivers gone from a season ago. Playing a true freshman who at this time a year ago was gearing up for his senior season at Charlotte’s Mallard Creed high school not only is a reality, but also may be the team’s best talent at the position.
JONES: North is still learning the fine details of WR. But in a very small time, he’s proven he will be one of our playmakers.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) August 4, 2013
This involves a great deal of projection, but North could be destined for a brilliant future and has the physical abilities of the prototypical receiver and already is blessed with NFL size. At 6’4” and 215 pounds, he looks like former Alabama receiver Julio Jones and his 4.41 speed in the 40 leads you to believe his potential knows no limit.
He was a four-star recruit for Butch Jones who got the receiver to commit a week before signing day and because of his early enrollment, got a head start in the competition for a starting spot in this offense. Jones has been effusive in his praise of his electrifying young talent telling the media after practice (according to Nooga.com), “What you see is when your players bring him [North] up, it is a level of respect right now that they have for him. He is extremely intelligent; he knows every single receiver position on the field already. We are very excited about him.”
He should be among the top freshmen receivers in the SEC this year, and although questions exist at quarterback, there is zero question that North is as talented a freshman receiver that’s stepped foot on campus in a long time.
“Physically, he’s what you’re looking for,” receivers coach Zach Azzanni said, according to Tennessee Sports Radio. “He’s a big receiver that can run. The great thing about Marquez is he doesn’t say a word. He just says ‘Yes sir, no sir’ and goes as hard as he possible can. He definitely has a chance to be really good here.”
This is high praise for a school known as ‘wide receiver u’. He may not be the starter in Week 1, but Jones will find a way to get the ball in his hands and see what he can do. He is short on experience but long on talent, and in a position up for grabs, you can expect North to grab this job and about 40 receptions this year.