It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Marquill Osborne.
Less than three weeks after his final prep football game, the Scout three-star cornerback prospect made his way from Cornelius, North Carolina, down to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, to practice for the Under Armour All-America game in Orlando on Jan. 2. Upon returning home, it was immediately time to pack up for the next phase as he moved into his dorm room Sunday and started classes at Tennessee this week.
Osborne and Team Armour got shut out in the UAAA game and lost.
“It didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to turn out, but I got to go against the best people in the country and it was a great experience,” Osborne told InsideTennessee.
The Scout No. 1-ranked cornerback in the Tar Heel State’s 2016 class received quite the challenge during UAAA practices by going up against four-star wide receiver prospect Tyrie Cleveland.
“He gave me the most work the whole week,” Osborne said. “It was a good matchup speed-wise and everything. So I had a good time going up against him.
“I figured out some things I’m going to improve on. I’m definitely going to work on getting out of my backpedal and staying on the hit. Everything needs to get a lot better.”
The day prior, Osborne got to see some of Tennessee’s season finale versus Northwestern.
“The Outback Bowl was amazing,” Osborne said. “I only got to catch a little bit of it but as soon as I turned on the TV, Evan Berry was getting a pick-six and all the fans were going crazy.”
The Vols’ 45-6 win over the No. 13 team in the land with major aspirations for Team 120 ahead.
“It says a lot. Underrated team and big things are coming next,” Osborne said.
As a sign of the Tennessee roster becoming as athletic and talented as coach Butch Jones and staff desire, Osborne is part of a 2016 class that figures total less than two dozen and includes just four midyear enrollees. That’s after 62 players came on board the last two years combined with 24 of those moving in midyear.
The Arts & Sciences major gets 15 practices this spring to get fully acclimated to new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop’s scheme.
“I’m too excited,” Osborne said. “That’s the next step now. Before I was worried about (the Under Armour) game. Now it’s just Tennessee.
“I’m just going to work out and work on my craft and then chill out, relax with players, learn the program.”
As part of officially being a Volunteer, Osborne will help sell the program on recruits. He got a head start doing some of that during Under Armour week as he was a teammate of Scout four-star offensive guard Landon Dickerson, who also hails from the Tar Heel State.
“Easy. Easy recruitment with him,” said Osborne, who plans to room with four-star quarterback Jarrett Guarantano in the fall. “He’s deciding on his officials, and I’ll be there when he comes to Tennessee.”
As a senior at Hough (N.C.) High School, Osborne totaled 1,301 all-purpose yards and eight touchdowns, including 43 receptions for 580 yards. Defensively, he registered 34 tackles with four interceptions. The work yielded his being named Charlotte-Mecklenburg County defensive player of the year.
Osborne helped Hough reach the third round of the 2015 NCHSAA Class 4AA state playoffs, eliminating West Mecklenburg 31-7 and Ardrey Kell 34-7 before falling to eventual champion Mallard Creek 44-0.
In 2014, Osborne racked up 48 tackles to go with nine passes defended, three fumble recoveries and an interception.