Irish hope in-state linebacker returns

Notre Dame got four-star linebacker Cam McGrone to South Bend during spring ball. Now the Irish are working to get the in-state product back this summer. McGrone said there’s a good chance that happens.

When Cameron McGrone @cam m tore the ACL in his right knee last October he knew his recruitment would change.

At that point the 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete out of Lawrence Central in Indianapolis already had some in-state interest and a handful of offers. The day after the injury he even visited Notre Dame for the night game against Stanford. The four-star athlete wanted to push ahead with his recruitment, even if he knew the knee injury could make that difficult.

“They were a little bit surprised I was there,” McGrone said. “Around that time they were talking to me a little bit and then probably a week or two after that there was no contact until last month.

“Last month was the first time I’d been contacted in a while. I called coach (Mike) Elston and he said the defensive staff watched my film and was really impressed and they wanted me to come up for a practice and talk to them.”

McGrone attended Notre Dame’s scrimmage on April 9, checking out how the linebackers worked in defensive coordinator Mike Elko’s scheme. Senior Nyles Morgan got a particular look from the in-state prospect.

Linebackers coach Clark Lea sat McGrone down afterward.

“I definitely liked the way the linebackers played during practice, how they were quick off the ball and pretty smart dudes,” McGrone said. “I saw it in their meeting room too. They had the answers with speed and seemed to know what they’re talking about. With Nyles, he was the most talkative one in the meeting room. If another guy was struggling to answer a question, he’d answer it right. Always. And then on the field, he was super aggressive.”

Lea’s approach made an impression too.

“He seemed laid back, but also all about business,” McGrone said. “He wasn’t into all sorts of yelling or cussing at players. He’s kind of like my linebackers coach now. You can tell when he’s serious. You can see he makes it easy for guys to learn.”

Notre Dame didn’t offer during the visit and probably won’t until McGrone returns to full strength from last season’s knee injury. The Irish are already talking about an Irish Invasion (June 10) return to South Bend and McGrone is open to that.

Even with offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, McGrone understands he’ll probably have to prove himself to earn more.

Lea told McGrone that he likes him at the Buck position.

“They’re really interested but want to make sure where I’m at before I got injured,” McGrone said. “I can respect that. I want them to see that I’m back and I’m better.”

McGrone, who’s participating in Lawrence Central’s off-season workouts, said he expects full medical clearance by early May. He hopes to attend The Opening Regional in Oakland on May 21. He also visited Michigan for its spring game this weekend.

“I remember when I first got injured I thought my recruiting was going to go to zero, stop totally,” McGrone said. “This is something that I can get through. When colleges see me in camp, see my times, see my first games, it will be like I was never hurt. That’s what I tell colleges, to have trust in me.”

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