Instead of having to compete against Marcus Tatum, the Tennessee Volunteers will get to cover the lean offensive tackle in orange and white.
The Scout No. 22 offensive tackle in the nation selected the Big Orange over finalists Alabama, Florida and Miami (Fla.) on Monday.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this lengthy and fun process,” Tatum said. “It’s been a blessing to receive all this support. Thank you to every coach that offered men an opportunity to play football and further my education at such great schools. But I am proud and thankful to say that I am committed to the University of Tennessee.”
The Mainland (Fla.) High School senior had contemplated waiting until National Signing Day to make his decision public but went ahead and pulled the trigger.
“I was ready to make the decision. I always said I would make a decision when I was ready, and I was ready,” he said.
The camaraderie in the trenches from coach Butch Jones and assistant coach Don Mahoney’s bunch is among what Tatum found most attractive about a college football career in Knoxville.
“It was really just the family atmosphere on the offensive line,” Tatum told Scout. “I couldn’t stress it enough in all the interviews. It is really just the offensive line, I love them up there. I can really just picture myself playing with them.
“Brett Kendrick, Jashon Robertson were all-around great family. I mean oh my goodness, I love it up there.”
Making momma smile is key for any program in landing a quality student-athlete and that starts in the classroom for Tatum’s mother.
“The academics, (Tennessee) had my academics set in stone, the whole schedule for me already,” the four-star said. “That sold my mom and everything. Just the feeling of Tennessee… I am from up north and I just really liked the feeling and the vibe of all the people up there.”
The Scout No. 1-ranked offensive tackle in the Sunshine State’s 2016 class gives Tennessee its 17th commitment, seventh four-star prospect and third offensive lineman pledge along with Ryan Johnson of Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy and Nathan Niehaus of Colerain (Ohio) High School.
Tatum helps address a major need on Tennessee’s roster for athletic, long bodies with quality knee bend for the offensive front of the future. With Chance Hall and Drew Richmond entering their second year on Rocky Top this fall and penciled into starting positions, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Tatum has time to develop and add over 40 much-needed pounds to his frame.
Tatum plans to strap on his blue collar to get his body right to compete on Rocky Top, saying the Vols are getting a “hard working and humble kid that will play for his teammates and coaching staff.”
Tatum took his official visit to Knoxville on the Nov. 6 weekend, watching the Volunteers beat Southeastern Conference foe South Carolina 27-24 in front of 101,253 at Neyland Stadium.
The Scout 300 member was also in attendance when the Vols lost to Florida 28-27 in Gainesville on Sept. 26.
Tatum tentatively has an official visit scheduled to Florida.
“That is something my mom and I would have to talk about,” he said. “Right now I am enjoying my commitment to Tennessee.”
Bob Redman of Fightin' Gators contributed to this report.