KNOXVILLE — Tennessee and new football coach Butch Jones didn't have to wait until national signing day to receive word on one of their important remaining recruiting targets.
The Volunteers landed one of the nation's top receivers on Wednesday night when MarQuez North announced via Twitter he will sign with Tennessee.
Shortly after Inside Carolina, the North Carolina Scout affiliate, reported North had eliminated the Tar Heels, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound wideout from Charlotte tweeted, "I will be going to Tennessee in the fall."
Rivals rates North as the nation's second-best receiver and No. 37 overall player, while 247sports rates North as the nation's No 155 overall prospect in the 2013 class. He had scholarship offers from SEC programs like Florida, Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Miami were among North's other offers.
Running backs coach and North Carolina native Jay Graham kept Tennessee in the mix for North through the Vols' coaching change. Though he took his official visit to Knoxville during the season for Tennessee's game against Alabama, North made an unofficial trip to Tennessee the weekend of Jan. 13. He officially visited North Carolina the following week.
Tennessee's receiver class that includes two other four-star prospects in Paul Harris, who's already enrolled and working out with the Vols, and Ryan Jenkins. Josh Smith, who had a prolific career at Christian Academy of Knoxville, gives the Vols a solid incoming receiving corps. Tennessee lost its top three receivers -- Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and Zach Rogers -- from the 2012 season.
In a December interview, Jones pointed his preference of having 12 receivers on the roster and Tennessee's shortage at the position.
Tennessee returns Vincent Dallas and Jacob Carter along with Alton "Pig" Howard, Cody Blanc, Jason Croom and Drae Bowles, three players that signed last year.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...