This summer has been an extremely busy one for offensive lineman Marcus Tatum (6-6, 254, Daytona Beach, FL Mainland) as he started his summer with a visit to see the Florida Gators and wound up visiting four other schools as well.
“I visited Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State and South Carolina this summer,” Tatum said. “They were all really good visits, I enjoyed them all. I really enjoyed the Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama visits.”
Tatum released his top-eight schools in June that consisted of the Auburn Tigers, the Arkansas Razorbacks, Alabama Crimson Tide, Tennessee Volunteers, North Carolina State Wolfpack, the Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes and the South Carolina Gamecocks and he says that he’s still looking at all schools.
“I don’t have really have a leader right now,” he said. “I’ve just focusing on my top eight schools right now and I was planning on making a decision this summer but now I’m not sure when I’m going to decide. I have no idea when I’ll make it.”
While Florida was once Tatum’s leader, the Gators should still feel good about their chances because the lineman says he plans to be on campus this fall for some games.
“I plan to take some visits this fall, some officials and some unofficial visits,” Tatum said. “I know I want to take officials to Tennessee and Arkansas during the season and I can take unofficial visits to Florida during the season because it’s only an hour and a half away. I will probably take an official to Florida after the season is over.”
Tatum has always been a main target for the Gators and now that other schools are recruiting him, the Gators have turned the heat up on him as well.
“Florida is still recruiting me hard,” he said. “I talk to Coach [Jim] McElwain, Coach [Kerry] Dixon, Coach [Mike] Summers and to Coach [Chris] Rumph. They are all great guys to talk to and I enjoy talking to them.”
Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has been leading the charge in Tatum’s recruitment but the conversations are rarely about football Tatum says.
“I’m just enjoying talking to him and we don’t even hardly talk about football,” Tatum said of his talks with McElwain. “The football talk has been over for awhile now so we are just trying to get to know each other better and he’s talking to me about the program and the future of the program.”
While McElwain doesn’t talk football with Tatum, offensive line coach Mike Summers does, and he is always reminding Tatum of how big of a target he is for the Gators.
“Coach Summers tells me about the need for linemen every once in awhile but he just stresses that I’m needed regardless,” he said. “I know that just because they are low on linemen that I’m still going to have to go in and work hard because it’s SEC football and you have to compete against the best.”
INSIDERS TAKE: Tennessee has made up some ground on Florida this summer but I still feel as if the Gators are the favorite to land Tatum. Now it seems like a decision won’t come until after his season is over. Whenever the decision does come, though, expect Florida to still be a finalist.