Marquez North is the most talented wide receiver on Tennessee’s roster. With great talent comes great responsibilities and, entering the season, North was looked upon to be the Vols’ top pass catcher.

The sophomore was present on several All-SEC lists, including being named to the All-SEC Coaches First-Team. As a freshman, North recorded 496 yards and a touchdown on 38 receptions, providing several highlight reel catches.

Many expected a spike in North’s numbers during his second season, but the 6-foot-4, 221-pound wide receiver recorded less yards (320) and catches (30) in 2014. North added three touchdowns, but saw a dip in every statistical category, including yards per game (32), receptions per game (3.0) and yards per catch (10.7).

Instead, junior Alton “Pig” Howard led the Vols with 589 yards and 52 catches. Despite leading in touchdown catches, North’s season was a disappointment considering the hype surrounding him entering Week 1.

Granted, the No. 1 target faced double coverage in the absence of injured wide receiver Von Pearson, along with missing the team’s final two games with a season-ending injury. But North still fell short of preseason expectations and saw a decline in year two. The Charlotte, N.C. native has the tools to produce, but needs more targets in his third season.

With a makeshift offensive line, Tennessee quarterbacks opted for short passes rather than throwing the ball downfield while facing a collapsing pocket. Howard and the Vols tight ends benefited from these plays, while the deep-threat North saw less targets than expected.

North has the size and ability to be a playmaker in the SEC and should continue his development heading into his junior season. If the Vols can improve in the trenches and call more deep passing plays, North has the potential to be a top receiver in the SEC.

The biggest obstacle will be recovering from a shoulder injury. North’s production was limited in his final three games before sitting out for the remainder of the season, which also played a factor in his lack of production. The junior needs to spend the offseason rehabbing, while staying in shape to prepare for a breakout season in 2015.