While it seems like a journey and one he's made already, O'Brien made it a point to return to Tennessee for this week's camp. He drove off with his mother Irma O'Brien with even more knowledge of Volunteer football.
"Just as far as keeping in touch with the staff and getting to know some of the players on the team. I worked out with (Tennessee defensive line) coach Thompson and learned his style and scheme. It was a great time," said Danny O'Brien, who was en route to Tuscaloosa to see Alabama before making the drive back to Michigan.
O'Brien told InsideTennessee.com that he participated in some drills at Tennessee's camp and worked out earlier this morning with Thompson.
"Not everybody teaches the same thing," O'Brien said. "So, he was just kind of showing me the way he teaches the defensive line and the way he coaches them."
Thompson is teaming up with linebackers coach Peter Sirmon in the recruitment of the four-star defensive tackle.
He had positive things to say about those two: "It's great. I talk to coach Sirmon on Facebook and on the phone. Coach Thompson, I talk to him on the phone too. Coach Sirmon, I really have a great relationship with him and some other coaches."
|Tennessee linebackers coach Peter Sirmon is drawing praise from many recruits.|
Ranking in at No. 98 nationally in the Scout 300 and the No. 13 defensive tackle, O'Brien is getting invites to participate in a wide variety of venues. Prior to his trip to Knoxville, he enjoyed himself at Nike's "The Opening" in Beaverton, Ore. It's a summer that high school football players all across the country would thoroughly enjoy.
"It's going great," O'Brien said. "I'm getting a lot of great opportunities as a kid in high school. Some of the places I've been like to Nike up in Oregon and being able to see all these other schools is an opportunity not many of people get. So, it's a great to have. I've learned a lot of new things and seen a bunch of places I thought I wouldn't see."
The road trips haven't been all fun and games. O'Brien has learned a lot from his experiences and expects to be a better football player this fall given all that he's learned.
"I'm more in tune with my position," he said. "I've learned a lot of techniques and different moves. I've watched more film and stuff like that. Watching yourself on film has helped me. I've learned new ways to get to the ball. Just pretty much doing everything. You can never stop learning different ways to get to the quarterback or to get through a lineman and tackle a running back. I just like picking up things from coaches that are at camp. You just kind of mold that all together and maybe it turns out a good product."
The 6-foot-3, 302-pounder injured his wrist back in the spring and hasn't been able to work his upper body much. However, he has done some other exercises to stay in shape and to prepare for his senior season under coach Bob Buckel at Luke M. Powers Catholic High School, estimating that his squat is in the 560-pound range.
O'Brien is releasing a top six finalists next week with a final decision coming during the season. With offers on the table from the likes of Alabama, Florida and Michigan, will the Vols make the cut?
"Tennessee will be in the top six, guaranteed," he said.
O'Brien plans to enroll in college in January. He currently carries a 3.0 GPA with an ACT score of 20.