Carolina Corner Calls on Vols

Tennessee got a visit from cover corner and return artist extraodinaire Marcus Gilchrist for junior day on Saturday, and the Vols hope his most memorable return next season is to Knoxville for an official visit.

The first team All-State prospect helped lead T. Wingate Andrews High School, located in High Point, N.C., to an 11-4 mark and the Class-4A semifinals with a remarkable junior campaign that included 40 tackles, 11 interceptions and six special team's touchdowns, including four kickoff returns for scores and two punt returns. He also took three INTs the distance, giving him nine return TDs to go with two rushing touchdowns and a touchdown receiving. As a sophomore he picked off six passes.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Gilchrist is a blazer with 4.38 speed and outstanding transition skills. He plays heady defense and has the hands and big-play ability to also play wide receiver on the next level. A versatile athlete he runs the Andrews' varsity basketball team at the point and competes in the relays and long jump in track. He broke the 21-foot barrier for the first time this week.

Gilchrist is a major college basketball prospect and is still deciding which sport to accept a scholarship. There is a chance he will try to play both sports in college, and there's plenty of colleges willing to let him try. He has shown an early interest in Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

"He has a strong backpedal and plays smart football," said his head football coach Derek Anderson in an interview with Byrant Carson of Pack Pride. "He doesn't get caught out of position.

"He led us in all-purpose yards and was our leading scorer. He played a bunch of roles for us, and he's a threat all the time, especially when we had him at the return positions. We just try and find as many ways as we can to get him touches. He's just one of those exceptional athletes."

So what did this exceptional athlete think of his visit to UT's campus?

"I like their campus," he said. "They have a nice facility there. I liked their coaches, they're very intense and into practice and stuff. It's just a great environment to be around."

Marcus Gilchrist watched the Vols scrimmage Saturday and closely identified with the schemes and coverages.

"Actually my defensive coordinator he gets most of his defense stuff from Coach (Larry) Slade from the defensive back aspects," Gilchrist said. "Him and my head coach a couple of years back helped work the camp at Tennessee when Chris Leak was a senior."

Gilchrist met with Coach Slade Saturday and toured the Vols impressive football plant.

"When we first got there we got to meet with our position coach and then we went into the weight room and met their strength trainer," Gilchrist stated. "He was talking to us about how they go about training, supplements to take and things like that. He said a lot of guys think they have to be big to go to college. He explained that's not what it's all about. He wants us to do a good job on the field and they'll get us big and do it the right way."

Although he won't commit to a return visit at this point, he does rate the Vols as a serious contender.

"I'm just weighing my options right now," he said, "but Tennessee is definitely under consideration."


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