"I would say there is a 9 out of 10 chance I will go where ever Coaches Markuson and Nutt go," added Josh Tatum. "I built a tight relationship with them at the camp last summer. I just think the world of those guys. Coach Markuson is like a father figure for me, and Coach Nutt, he already treats me like family. They are the type of coaches I want to play for."
Ole Miss' newly hired offensive line coach, Mike Markuson, has made a big impact with the MS/AL All-Star participate.
Has Arkansas' new boss, Coach Petrino, made contact with Tatum?
"Actually, he called me the first day he was hired. I think he is going to do great things at Arkansas, just like he did at Louisville. But I really believe Coach Nutt is going to take Ole Miss to the top of the SEC, where the Arkansas' and Auburn's are."
Has the 1st Team All-State selection had a chance to visit the Rebel campus yet?
"No sir, that is why I am really looking forward to my visit there. I have been to Arkansas. It was a really nice place. I heard Ole Miss is exactly the same as Arkansas, facilities wise. I am really looking forward to seeing Coaches Nutt and Markuson and seeing a new campus again."
When will Josh set up his official visits?
"I do not know yet. I am going to sit down with my coach tomorrow and make up my mind after the Arkansas game. It is a tough decision. Arkansas has always been there for me, but the main reason I committed to Arkansas was because of Coaches Nutt and Markuson and the staff they had. That is why it makes it so hard to leave Arkansas because they have always been there for me, but you have to go to the school where you feel the most comfortable with their staff."
Does Arkansas know about Josh' feelings?
"I never just discussed it with Coach Petrino, but I am sure they have read about it. I know that Coaches Nutt and Markuson know where I stand and they know where I stand."
Where does Josh project to play on the next level?
"Right tackle. I played right guard my 10th and 11th grade seasons. In 9th grade, I broke my collar bone. That kind of hurt me. But I think I am best when I am run blocking. Last year we were in a passing offense, but we went back to a running game this year. I think run blocking is my biggest strength, but with my size and speed, I bring a lot to the table. There are not too many 6' 6", 315 pounders who can run a 5.2. That is why they think I will play tackle on the next level."
Tatum graded out at 93% this season and had close to 70 pancake blocks. He was named 1st Team All-Area, All-Metro, and All-State for his play on the field. But the pinnacle came when he was selected to the MS/AL All-star game.
"It was a great experience to play with some of the guys you will play with and against on the next level. I know about half of that Mississippi team seemed to be going to Ole Miss, so I made sure to get to know some of those guys. I also had a lot to prove with me being from Class 3A. They look down on you, so you have to show them you can play on the next level. It was a great experience to represent my team, coaches, state, and community."
Who was the best player Josh went up against?
"No doubt it would be #44 (Marlon Walls). He was about 6' 5", 210 and really/really quick. He was quick off the outside, and I think he was a good athlete. The best DT I saw was their real tall and big one (Bo Tillman). He was bigger than I was and I am 6' 6". He was real/real strong. He only played a few plays because it looked like he was hurt, but I went up against him on a few snaps and he was a load. I love competition on the line. I love going head up. That is when you find out if you can hang with the big boys or not, and he was good."
What did Tatum learn about himself from practicing and playing against the best that MS and AL had to offer?
"I think what everyone should learn by playing in that game is that you might be the best at your school, but they are exactly the same as you on the college level. That is the one thing everybody learned in that type of game. They are all as big and fast as you are."
Scout.com will be providing film on Josh in the coming days.