Freshman early enrollee Marquill Osborne may only be 19 years old, but he isn’t wasting any time getting to work for the 2016 season. As a four-star recruit from Cornelius, NC, Osborne was expected to compete immediately for playing time, and he has not disappointed thus far.
Osborne, who primarily played cornerback in high school, has been practicing primarily at the nickel position, which even he admits is an exciting challenge for him.
“It’s new,” he said. “You gotta be more of a leader. You gotta know everything on the field. At corner, I think it’s a lot more easy than the nickel spot. You’re blitzing too. I just starting blitzing this year. It’s definitely fun though. I love the physicality of it.”
The speedy Osborne is a proud member of the team’s “21 mile per hour club” and says he likes playing nickel, but would feel comfortable playing several positions.
“It fits me well. I mean, I’m a physical guy so it doesn’t matter where you play me. I’m very versatile. In my recruiting process everybody said I was a very versatile player so it doesn’t matter where you put me on the field.”
Osborne’s abilities and work ethic haven’t gone unnoticed, either. Senior cornerback Cam Sutton has been impressed by the young freshman and sees a lot of potential in him. From the field to the film room, Sutton says Osborne is everything you want in a young player.
“(He’s) hungry. Willing to learn. Willing to take critique. Stays in his playbook. Always watching film, always asking questions. He’s able to come out here and make plays and be successful. He’s one of the first couple guys in the meeting room each and every time…those are the type of guys you need in the program.”
Although he has only been on campus for a few months, Osborne is making the most of his first spring as a Vol. And receiving praise from team leaders like Sutton goes a long way for a freshman looking for guidance in his young career.
And considering Sutton almost left for the NFL, Osborne is making sure to take advantage of his leadership while he can.
“I’m definitely looking at his example. I’m glad he stayed. He’s a huge influence to me – a huge leader. I want to be just like him.”