Oct 21, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mallard Creek Mavericks Marquez North (8) scores a touchdown during the second quarter against the West Charlotte Lions. The Mavericks defeated the Lions 42-0. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Excitement on Rocky Top

New Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones has excited the fan base in his first two months on the job. He gave Tennessee fans even more to be happy about late Wednesday night.  Twitter blew up as Charlotte native Marquez North announced on the social media platform that he would be attending Tennessee in the fall.  North, 6’3″ 205 lbs, is rated by many recruiting outlets as the number two wide receiver in the country and the number one player in the state of  North Carolina.  Earlier in the evening North had informed the coaching staff at the University of North Carolina that he was no longer considering attending school there.  Most Volunteer fans believed North committing to Tennessee was just a formality at this point, North had previously said he was down to UNC and Tennessee. Fans didn’t have to wait long as he tweeted his commitment shortly thereafter.  There was no film crew, no hats to choose from, no trickery, just a plain tweet that told his intentions.  If this is a reflection of Marquez North as a person then you have to believe he will fit right in with Butch Jones and the attitude he’s bringing to Tennessee, with his hard work attitude and belief that you let your work on the field speak for itself.

Losing juniors Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson to the NFL draft was a damaging blow to the dynamic passing game the Vols showed last season.  Tennessee will be returning Pig Howard and Vincent Dallas, two receivers that seemingly fit perfect into Jones’ uptempo, no huddle offense.  Jones has showed to favor smaller quicker wide receivers which has concerned many Tennessee fans.  I don’t think this is a cause for concern because Jones has been quoted as saying he likes small quick guys in the slot and tall physical receivers on the outside.  North seems to fit the latter description and he instantly becomes Butch Jones’ signature commit in his first recruiting class.

Butch Jones may not be done.

Many believe that Tennessee has closed in on Georgia native and five star safety Von Bell, as well as former Auburn commit, five star defensive end Carl Lawson.  Bell has his choices down to Tennessee, Ohio State and Alabama.  He’s the number 2 safety in the country and would arguably fill the Volunteer’s biggest need, a play-making defensive back.  Tennessee struggled in defending the pass last season and the lack of a high caliber safety was beyond obvious.  The Vols have already picked up junior college transfer Riyahd Jones to bolster their secondary, but Bell would add instant credibility. Bell may be a little more realistic but Carl Lawson is certainly a possibility. The Alpharetta, Georgia native had been committed to the Auburn Tigers since May, 2012 but opened his recruitment back up after the shakeups with the Auburn coaching staff. Lawson is rated as the top weakside defensive end in the nation.  Lawson would also add instantly credibility to a Tennessee defense that many called “soft” under former defensive coordinator Sal Sunserri.  Lawson is believed to be considering Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.

Both Bell and Lawson are expected to announce their decisions on national signing day coming up on February 6th.
Marquez North may have just been the commitment Butch Jones needed to get the ball rolling on some of these other guys.  We’ll have continued coverage on Tennessee recruiting leading up to national signing day.  There truly is excitement on Rocky Top.  

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