Though the Vols are struggling this year in the football department, the assistance of versatile players like sophomore jack-of-all-trades, Marsalis Teague, brings hope to the Vols for the future.
Even though Teague played quarterback in high school, he started his freshman year with the Vols as a wide receiver and in his sophomore season is now being utilized on the defensive side of the ball as a cornerback. The transfer from one coach to another and from one position to another was difficult for him, but the experience has been good for him as a player.
Senior middle linebacker Nick Reveiz said that Teague has proven himself capable of anything that is asked of him.
“He’d been practicing all spring and all summer as a receiver, and he was a successful receiver, and he gets moved over the day before, so that just tells you he goes out and works hard, and that helps him play well in the games,” Reveiz said. “He’s a good player. I feel like he’s made big time strides.”
Teague holds a presence on the field that works well with the team. His determination, athletic ability and work ethic bring a lot to the table.
“Marsalis is a young guy, but I think (he brings) maturity to the team,” Reveiz said. “He’s a mature guy for being 19 or 20 years old. I feel like he brings a way to work too.”
One of the things that his teammates respect most about him is the way he was willing to switch positions and put in the effort and work that the switch would require. Junior quarterback Matt Simms felt that this showed a lot about Teague as a person and how he feels about the Vols.
“Marsalis is extremely athletic, and he’s very versatile,” Simms said. “Just this spring he was playing receiver for us, and now he’s playing defensive back for us, and that just shows you how much he loves being here and being a Vol and involved with the team. He doesn’t let coaching changes like that affect his ability to get on the field and play for us.”
Teague’s freshman year was a challenge for him because of these changes, but he said it was a good experience for him, and he learned a lot through it. With a little help and some hard work, the change proved to be a good thing, and Teague had an opportunity to prove his versatility to the team.
“I had a lot of help from the older guys along the way, and it turned out to be alright,” Teague said.
After playing quarterback in high school, Teague said that adjusting to playing wide receiver at the collegiate level was kind of tough. Now, as a cornerback, Teague is facing a much greater change in terms of where the ball is.
“I think I like it a little bit more,” Teague said of playing cornerback. “I can go out there, and I can kind of react and just play ball. I’ve always kind of thought of myself as a defensive-line and tackle guy, but at the same time, I love to have the ball in my hands so much I didn’t want to turn down playing receiver. It’s all the same though; the football is just on the other side of the line now.”
The switch in coaches from his freshman to sophomore year affected Teague, but he felt that the energy of both coaches made the transition easier. Though it took both him and his teammates a little time to get used to the shift, he said Dooley inspired confidence during their first team meeting.
“He told us (on) day one that he’s all Vols and all that stuff,” Teague said. “So it was kind of a pleasant surprise for us, and he turned out to be a pretty good coach for us.”
When he is not playing football, Teague can be found either hanging out with his teammates or working on his degree in sports management. Although he is unsure what he wants to do with that at this point, he knows that it will have something to do with his major.
“I’m kind of leaning toward sport management right now, but I’m still kind of sprinkling the idea,” Teague said. “I know I want to do something in that field, but I haven’t narrowed down the choices of what I want to do in that field yet.”
With that as a back-up plan, Teague’s main goal is to eventually play in the NFL. He is aware that this is something that many players aspire to, and he is ready for the possibility of that not taking place, but he is still hopeful.
“Any college player can tell you that they want to make it to the NFL to play and have this glorious career and all that stuff,” Teague said. “You really just try to enjoy life and just keep playing ball as long as I can, and I hope that I do make it to the NFL. That would be a blessing above all.”