The cornerback at William Amos Hough (N.C.) High School gave the Orange & White staff his verbal commitment the day of the win over Arkansas State last summer. Since then, Osborne has burned up the pavement between Charlotte and Knoxville, including taking part in a junior day on Saturday.
“It’s actually exciting every time I come here,” said Osborne, who estimates his number of Knoxville trips at 10. “There’s nothing better than Tennessee.
“I love coming back here. I hadn’t been back here in awhile actually. So, coming back feels good, feels like home. Not coming here in awhile and then coming back and it still feeling the same is pretty good.
“It’s always good to hang out and bond with (Tennessee defensive backs) coach (Willie) Martinez. Got to know a bit more about the defensive coordinator (John Jancek). Definitely fun.”
Developing that relationship with the former defensive back with the Miami Hurricanes and started his coaching career in 1985.
“Elder is my recruiter for my school, but I like to talk to Martinez a lot more because that’s the coach I’m going to be here with,” Osborne said. “You want to have that bond with the coach I’m going to be here with. Elder, that’s the tight ends coach.”
The No. 1-rated junior cornerback in the Tar Heel State lists LSU, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest as schools still pursuing him. No firm plans to check out any other campuses are in the cards.
“It would be official if I did take a visit,” said Osborne, who attended every game at Neyland in 2014 except the Florida and Missouri games.
Osborne says he is “100-percent, 100-percent committed” to Tennessee and there are reasons for doing so.
“Definitely the position that they’re going to put me in, coming in being able to play,” Osborne said. “It’s just…you can’t get Tennessee anywhere else, that’s why I’m locking it in, staying locked in.”
The junior is so set on playing for the Big Orange, he’s working on bringing in other talented players to join him.
“I’ve been talking to Donaven (Tennyson) a lot,” Osborne said. “I do think he’s going to commit soon. I really do. I’ve been talking to him a lot. He was with me during the camp series. I was going to a whole bunch of camps — NC State, Duke, a whole bunch of camps. We definitely have a bond. I’m pretty sure he wants to be here with me too.”
Osborne declared his intentions to be a Volunteer back on Sept. 6, just a handful of weeks into his junior season at Hough High School. That put a target on his back with competition knowing they have a Southeastern Conference bound defender across from them.
|TENNESSEE DEFENSIVE BACKS COACH WILLIE MARTINEZ|
“Wide receivers, they definitely wanted to go up against me,” the Scout three-star prospect said. “I don’t know what they really felt like but I was definitely a guy they wanted to go up against, saying I was committed to Tennessee. There was no difference; I still locked it down. Receivers definitely treated me differently. They didn’t treat me like the old Marquill. It was definitely different coming into games and even camps after I committed.”
At 5-feet-11, 185 pounds, Osborne is noticeably larger than he was at the onset of his 2014 season. He says he “put on a lot of weight. definitely where I want to be. That’s a good weight. I feel good. Still maintaining the same speed. I don’t think I want to get any heavier.”
Expectations are for the corner to return to Rocky Top on March 7 for another junior day and then again for the Orange & White game on April 25.
“I will be here a lot in the summer, trying to practice my driving back and forth on my own,” Osborne said.
This spring, Osborne says he will attend a NIKE Football Training Camp in attempt to qualify for The Opening.
“I’m definitely going to ball at these camps. I’m not going to go to any college camps or anything,” he said.
After his final prep season is over this fall, the No. 37-rated cornerback in the 2016 class says he will be on a college campus as a full-time student-athlete by mid-January.
“I told pretty much every school that I was going to graduate early. I wanted to enroll early.”