2020 Memphis OL calls Tennessee 'the best visit I've been on'
Marcus Henderson III has visited Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Memphis and Missouri early in his recruitment, but the rising 2020 offensive tackle from Memphis University School called his two-day trip to Tennessee over the weekend “the best visit I’d been on before.”
The 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman had his own mini-faux official visit with the Vols, getting a ton of intimate time with Tennessee’s staff all day Saturday.
“The coaches devoted the whole day to me and my family. I spent some time with the players, mainly Drew Richmond. I got to hang out with him and he got to show me what college life is like and how things go at Tennessee,” said Henderson, whose offer list already includes UT, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss and LSU.
“They took all that time out just to make it a real 1-on-1 visit for me. It was a great.”
Henderson enjoyed bonding with Richmond, a fellow former standout at MUS. The rising junior said Tennessee’s left tackle delivered some brotherly advice about new head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
“Drew told me that he really likes the new staff, that coach Pruitt is really straightforward,” Henderson recalled.
“He’s completely honest with you. If he said if coach thinks that you suck, he’s going to tell you suck and that just means how much harder you have to work. Nothing is going to be given to you there.”
Henderson enjoyed the traditional affair of touring Tennessee’s facilities and taking pictures in the uniforms, but his conversations with the staff left the biggest impact on him and his family. Henderson made “a good connection” with OL coach Will Friend, adding, “My parents really liked him.”
He had fun bowling with David Johnson and Chris Weinke, who he called a ringer, too.
Pruitt was “very straightforward and honest,” Henderson said, adding, “He told us straight up that Tennessee is not good right now, but that’s why he’s here to change the culture and turn it back into the winning team that it once was. He wasn’t trying to sell me or my family that Tennessee is going to be some best team next year.”
Under the new staff, the Vols are aiming to build a Memphis-to-Rocky Top pipeline. Tennessee signed Jerome Carvin and Jeremy Banks from the area for the 2018 class, and Henderson is a among a slew of top targets — OL Chris Morris, OL/DL Omari Thomas, WR Darin Turner — from Memphis in 2020.
“They definitely brought that up,” Henderson said.
“They compared us to that (2014) class after Tennessee started to get good again and they just brought in a whole bunch of recruits from in-state. Pruitt said 2019 is alright, but our class is going to be the one that changes Tennessee football’s history.”
Henderson will certainly be back at Tennessee again sometime in the near future, but he also has upcoming visits planned for Ohio State, Indiana and Louisville as well as late summer trips to South Carolina, Alabama and Auburn.