Jay-Jay McCargo has received offers from several schools, but none was more special than Tennessee. The junior prospect had the Vols on his radar before receiving an offer in November, which he called a “huge rush.”
“I’ve watched Tennessee since I was little,” McCargo told InsideTennessee. “When they offered, it was something I was kind of hoping for. We actually used to vacation to Gatlinburg and the nearby area, so we’ve been familiar with it. I’ve been to Knoxville a few times, including a camp in July, but haven’t been able to evaluate everything.
“But I was impressed, especially the facilities. The campus was beautiful. From what I gathered, it’s definitely a place that I could see myself, but I want to learn more about the other things like academics. Also, my parents didn’t go with me and I want them to see it. But I feel like it’s a special place.”
“My top 4 is pretty much even,” McCargo said. “I’m going back down for an unofficial to Tennessee during my Spring Break, so I’m not really sure how it’s going to shake out yet. But I’m expecting big things from there.”
McCargo’s relationship with Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney has also played a major role in his recruitment. The two have kept in contact throughout the Scout three-star’s recruitment, which has the Vols as a serious option to land the junior.
“The coaching staff has played a big factor in keeping my interest, especially coach Mahoney,” McCargo said. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well and we’ve talked a lot since camp, at least a few times every week. He’s really kept Tennessee in the front of my mind and my family has been really impressed with it, too. He’s talked to my dad several times and that’s really kept the Vols in the race.”
|TENNESSEE OFFENSIVE LINE COACH DON MAHONEY|
Tennessee second-year coach Butch Jones visited McCargo at Bishop O’Connell High School on Jan. 15. Jones made a positive impression on the Arlington, Virginia, native, who expects continued success for the Vols coaching staff.
“We discussed where they see me playing on the offensive line,” McCargo said. “He said I’m probably an inside guy, but maybe an outside guy and that the team was very interested in me. I felt good about meeting with him. I know my dad really wants to talk to him and we’re expecting great things from coach Jones.”
McCargo hopes to wear either No. 70 in honor of his father Jay, who wore the same number in high school, or 72, his current number. Despite Tennessee’s need for an offensive lineman, early playing time isn’t a top priority for the junior, who hopes to hone his skills before earning a starting role.
“It’s pretty important to be completely honest,” McCargo said. “But I definitely want to redshirt to get another year in the weight room under my belt and understand the game more. When I get out there, I really want to contribute, maybe as a redshirt sophomore or even a freshman. Early playing time is important, but I really want to contribute if I play early.”