KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UTSports.com)-- The Volunteers' youth was on display last year. Fourteen freshmen saw action in 2013, but none made more of an impact than freshmen All-Americans Marquez North and Cameron Sutton.
As Tennessee wound up their second day of spring practice, the two standouts both said their roles have dramatically changed from newcomers to experienced teachers.
North welcomes a crew of star potential players into his position. Junior college transfer Von Pearson and freshmen Josh Malone are getting their first look at offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian's offense and North feels he can help shorten the learning curve.
"I really enjoy that because like I said I'm trying to emerge as a leader so that's a part of it," said North.
Last season North tallied 38 receptions for 496 yards receiving. He plans on improving those numbers this year, which were among the top 10 for freshman in the nation.
"I'm just a hard worker," he said. "I was really proud of the freshmen All-American accomplishment but I still have high goals for myself and I'm just ready to achieve them."
Many probably recognize North for his one-handed grab that set up the game winning field goal to beat then No. 11 South Carolina. He also made waves when a photograph of his diving touchdown snag against Georgia circulated around social media outlets.
Not one for the publicity, North says he's still just focused on honing his craft.
"I really just want to immerse myself completely, just go hard every time and get better overall," he said.
Sutton, like North, made numerous big plays in his first season in Knoxville. Sutton along with Justin Coleman has a talented class of defensive backs to prepare for SEC football including early enrollee freshmen D'Andre Payne and Emmanuel Moseley.
"Just to have that one year of experience under my belt helps me to push the younger guys and know what to expect," said Sutton. "I'm still young as well, so I'm using that to just motivate and push myself as well."
The sophomore from Jonesboro, Ga. Played exceptionally well as a freshmen. He had two interceptions and seven pass breakups in 2013 but last year's successes won't satisfy him either.
"Last year was just a stepping stone, I had a couple of great games last year but I know it doesn't stop there," he said. "I have to keep building on where I am now and continue to play.
"I was not satisfied with my year. I knew I could have made a lot more plays than I did, but that comes as a learning tool. Now that I have that one year of experience under my belt, I'll be ready.