Tennessee’s recruiting hot streak appeared to have been extinguished, but the late-night addition of Kaemen Marley adds more fuel to the fire. As the clock approached 10:00 pm Wednesday, a vast majority of Vol fans were preparing for bed. To the surprise of many, the night quickly heated up as Tennessee added the No. 2 ATH in the country.
The 4-Star ATH made his announcement via Twitter at 9:56 pm Wednesday. The Vols edged out North Carolina for the No. 2 ATH in the country, according to Rivals.com. Tennessee also had to fend off the likes of NC State and Kentucky for the verbal pledge of Marley.
The Ramseur, NC native also held offers from numerous Power 5 institutions, including Ohio State, Florida, Penn State, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech, just to name a few. The Eastern Randolph High School product’s commitment is credited to North Carolina native Jay Graham.
Marley is rated the No. 146 player in the country and the No. 5 overall athlete by 247Sports.com.
On the contrary, Rivals.com rates Marley the No. 90 player in the country and the No. 2 overall athlete. Regardless of the differences in the sites, Marley is the 5th or 6th highest-ranked commitment for the 2021 Tennessee recruiting class, according to both 247 and Rivals, respectively.
You don’t get the title of the No. 2 ATH in the country without having an unreal highlight tape. In watching this ridiculous film, it is evident that Marley is so much more physically gifted than his opponents. Despite this, you can see how Marley’s game could translate to Saturdays in Neyland Stadium.
Marley is a very physical wide receiver. He also doesn’t shy away from contact, as you can see when he is on the defensive side of the ball. This brand of hard-nose football is exactly the type of play Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt, and staff are looking for.
Additionally, over the last few recruiting cycles, the Vols have recruited a plethora of talented wide receivers. Still, almost all of them are speedy finesse style pass catchers (except Dee Beckwith).
As seen on his highlight tape, Marley could not be farther from that. The 6’2 206lb prospect loves to use his physicality to soar for jump balls. Another obvious talent Marley possesses is ability to break tackles and rack up yards after the catch. Marley’s tape also showcases his ability to run the ball. His punishing style of running the ball along with his speed could translate well to an SEC backfield even if it’s only for a specialty package.
First things first, I believe this commitment is long from over. Mack Brown and North Carolina will still be very much in the mix until the National Signing Day.
If Tennessee can gain the services of Marley, I could see him fitting into the Jeremy Pruitt defense quite nicely. His current attributes would point to a safety position in Tennessee’s 3-4 scheme, but I could also see him bulking up to slide into a hybrid linebacker role.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kaemen Marley could add a great brand of physicality to the wide receiver room, much like Jauan Jennings, and Marquez Calloway did this past year. Also, don’t be surprised is the No. 2 ATH ends up in the running back room with his lead recruiter Jay Graham. Any way you slice it, I think Marley will be a great asset to the Vols no matter which side of the ball he is placed on.
Former Vol Comparison: RB Jalen Hurd
I know this is not necessarily the best person to be compared to, but the connections are undeniable when you watch Jalen Hurd’s high school highlight tape. Both players have a very similar punishing running style, along with an innate ability to elevate for jump balls.
NFL Comparison: Jacksonville Jaguar OLB Myles Jack
Marley and Myles Jack have very similar 247Sports recruiting profiles with similar high school builds. I decided on Myles Jack due to his versatility that he brought to UCLA and brings to the Jags today. I feel Kaemen Marley can also bring this same type of elite versatility to Tennessee.