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4-star athlete Kaemen Marley commits to Tennessee

Tennessee continues to pull top talent out of neighboring states.

NCAA Football: Gator Bowl-Indiana vs Tennessee Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Reset the “days since last Tennessee football commitment” counter to zero. 4-star athlete Kaemen Marley announced his commitment to the Volunteers on Twitter Wednesday night.

Marley is ranked as the 146th player overall and the 5th best athlete, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. In a loaded North Carolina high school class, he’s a top-10 player, coming in at No. 8 in the state.

Of all the recent commits to Tennessee, Marley’s is arguably the most surprising. Largely because Marley has never visited campus and was not discussed beforehand as one of those expected to announce anything soon. The staff sold him completely through messages and conversation. It’s completely out of left field.

To add on, Marley as a player is a bit of an oddity. He does just about everything for his high school team, which includes receiver, running back, punter, safety, etc. He has played virtually every position on the field besides lineman. Part of the reason for this is Marley’s school. Eastern Randolph is a smaller high school in the North Carolina ranks, and his tape makes it evident that he has an overwhelming athletic advantage. Marley isn’t much of a football player right now—he’s an athlete (as indicated by his grouping). That’s not disparaging him as a player, it’s just being honest about why the staff wanted his commitment. He has all the tools necessary to compete at the highest level, he just doesn’t have the competition to really refine those tools.

Marley will likely end up on the defensive side of the ball for Tennessee. Largely because the receivers on the roster and those already committed in the 2021 class are further along in their development than he is. Considering the need at cornerback, I’d put some money on Marley playing there at some point in his Tennessee career. Assuming he signs with the Volunteers, of course. Getting him to visit campus and stick with his commitment will be crucial when the process reopens.

Tennessee’s class remains at No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in the SEC. The Volunteers have 23 commits.