Vols are Finalists for Speedy Athlete Target

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    (Photo via West Orange Times)

    RTI recruiting contributor Landon Steffy is the author of this article 

    As we inch closer to the start of Tennessee’s 2019 season, UT’s coaching staff is hard at work recruiting. The Vols have added several commits over the last couple weeks, and now a speedy athlete has included Tennessee in his list of finalists.

    Per his Twitter account, Tennessee is one of five finalists for Marcus Clarke, a three-star athlete out of Winter Park, Florida who plays for Winter Park High School. Other schools making his top five are Florida State, Georgia, Miami, and West Virginia.

    The 5-foot-11, 175-pound athlete is the No. 776 overall player and No. 134 wide receiver in the 2020 class according to 247Sports. He’s the No. 982 overall prospect according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

    But don’t let his lower rankings fool you.

    As his list of top teams would suggest, Clarke is viewed as better than his rankings by the coaches recruiting him. Not only does he have the likes of Georgia, Florida State, and Miami in his finalists, but he also has offers from 10 other Power Five programs and has an offer from UCF as well.

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    At a regional camp for Nike’s The Opening back in February, Clarke was timed running the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds and ran the shuttle drill in 4.38 seconds. He also recorded a 33.5-inch vertical leap.

    Clarke is a solid route runner as a wide receiver and easily separates with his speed. He has a very good catch radius and knows how to time his jumps to high point the ball at the right time. He’s very agile on his feet and is able to juke defenders easily and doesn’t go down at first contact as he fights for extra yardage. As a defensive back, he does a good job in press coverage. When playing as a safety, he has elite closing speed to the ball. He’s also a dynamic returner on special teams.

    As a junior for Winter Park, Clarke played both wide receiver and defensive back. As a wide receiver, he hauled in 59 receptions for 1,004 yards and 21 touchdowns in 12 games according to MaxPreps. On defense, he intercepted three passes and returned two of them for scores. He also returned two punts for touchdowns, giving him a total of 25 touchdowns in 12 games as a junior.

    Clarke hasn’t taken a ton of visits in 2019 as of yet, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Vols push for him to come to campus during the season.