Opinion: North’s abilities crucial against Gamecocks

UT has to win three out of its next four games in order to reach a bowl game, something no player on this team has done. In order to keep their goal alive, they will most likely try to take advantage of one matchup in particular: Marquez North and any South Carolina cornerback unlucky enough to get in his way.

Photo by Ryan McGill.

The Vols have prepared all week for a game against South Carolina that could have huge impacts on this team and the future of Butch Jones.

UT has to win three out of its next four games in order to reach a bowl game, something no player on this team has done. In order to keep their goal alive, they will most likely try to take advantage of one matchup in particular: Marquez North and any South Carolina cornerback unlucky enough to get in his way.

It was the game against South Carolina last year when North displayed his staggering abilities and established himself as the number one wide receiver. He showed off with a spectacular one-handed catch in the closing minutes that allowed the Vols to complete the comeback win against the then 11th ranked Gamecocks. He finished the game with only three catches but had a career high 102 yards.

All of the cornerbacks listed on South Carolina’s depth chart are 5’11” or shorter, and there is only one player older than a sophomore. North stands an almost half foot taller at 6’4” and is always hard to bring down because of his very muscular 220 pound frame. South Carolina is 73rd in the country in pass defense, allowing 230 yards per game, according to ESPN.com. That is right on par with the Big Orange offense, who averages 228 per game through the air despite playing much more stout defenses.

Depending on who gets the start at quarterback, North may have a bigger role. If the redshirt sophomore Josh Dobbs starts, fans can expect more designed runs and a better arm. However, if senior Justin Worley is able to return from injury, the Vols will use North much more often in the intermediate range. Whichever QB is out there, expect him to be looking North’s way early and often.

Edited by Will Lomas