Signee profile: Marsalis Teague

Though rated a four-star cornerback prospect by, one Tennessee football signee appears destined to open his college career on offense.

"The coaches said they weren't sure earlier, but during the spring the talk has been all offense," Marsalis Teague said by phone from his family home in Paris, Tenn. "My guess is that I'll be getting a shot at wide receiver."

That might require a brief adjustment period. As the starting quarterback for Henry County High School the past two years, Teague ran the football (for 2,800 yards) and passed the football (for 2,671 yards) but rarely CAUGHT the football.

He is such a quality athlete, however, that he projects to make a quick transition to wide receiver.

"Marsalis Teague is an offensive-minded player and has the opportunity to star for the Volunteers," recruiting analyst Andrew Bone says. "He has played quarterback throughout high school, but expect Teague to line up in the slot when he arrives in Knoxville."

"A couple of Teague's assests include his vision and quickness. His knowledge of the game has also helped him read defenses very well. He can use work in the weight room upon his arrival.

"There's a chance he could end up on the defensive side of the ball, but Teague will get a first look as a playmaker on the offensive side."

Originally committed to the University of Florida, Teague eventually was turned by Vol head man Lane Kiffin and assistant head coach Ed Orgeron.

"It was the whole coaching staff all together – Coach Orgeron and Coach Kiffin mainly," Teague said. "Coach Orgeron really had me sold on Tennessee and the direction they were going. I felt like I wanted to be part of it and help out my home state."

For a guy who originally intended to be a Gator, Teague is 100 percent Vol now. Instead of spending his spring break in Florida checking out beach bunnies, he spent it in Knoxville checking out his new teammates.

"I spent a whole week up there at spring break, so I could watch practice," Teague said. "It looks like there's going to be some fun times."

To ensure he'll be a major part of those "fun times," Teague has been working to improve his strength and speed this spring.

"I've been running track," he said. "My track coach has been trying to get me to run for the past couple of years. Since there's no spring football for me to be involved in this year, I decided to give it a try. I've also been lifting weights."

Asked if the offseason regimen has made him any bigger, stronger or faster, Teague replied: "Most definitely. I picked up about 10 pounds off the weight program. I'm up to 183 now. I think I'm a little quicker, too."

Apparently so. He had a big spring for Henry County's track team, posting personal bests of 10.72 seconds in the 100 meters and 21.3 in the 200 meters.

"I qualified for regionals in track," he noted, "but I didn't go because the state championships are this weekend, and it's also our graduation weekend."

In addition to increases in weight and quickness, Teague has seen a dramatic increase in his popularity since he signed with the Vols last February.

"I've had a number of people in Ohio, Massachusetts and places like that sending me letters, asking me to sign them and send them back," he said. "And a lot of people have been coming up and telling me they're proud of me and things like that."

Teague has made the homefolks proud with his academic achievements, as well as his athletic achievements. He reports a 4.0 grade-point average and a 21 on the ACT. He'll get a head start on college life by reporting to UT May 31 and beginning the first session of summer school on June 1.

Naturally, he's eager for preseason drills to commence in August. He believes he can provide a dimension the Vols need.

"I pride myself on being a playmaker – whether it's offense, defense or special teams," he said. "You can never have too many playmakers on the field, and I pride myself on that."

Because he is so talented in so many areas, Teague may get the chance to play some nickel back and return some kicks, in addition to running pass routes. Nothing would make him happier.

"My goal is just to help the team any way I can," he said. "I hope we can get back to competing on the national level. It might take some time but we'll be out there trying to win every time we take the field."

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