K’Rojhn Calbert doesn’t simply smile when he speaks about Tennessee. Seeing a future on the brink of unfolding and a dream come true hover in the glassy eyes of a hulk of a figure loaded with potential.
The Scout three-star prospect from Warrant County (Tenn.) High School took another step toward seeing a dream become a reality, declaring his intention to suit up for the Volunteers in college.
“It’s been crazy,” Calbert told InsideTennessee. “Pretty much everybody at that school is a UT fan. Mainly it’s UT. Man, that whole county is behind me. I love Warren County. I’m glad where I came from. It’s heartwarming when everyone is behind you and wants you to do well and succeed.”
The Scout No. 64-ranked offensive tackle in the 2017 class chose Tennessee over offers from schools like Florida, Louisville, Memphis, Mississippi State, Missouri and South Carolina.
From Tennessee’s Butch Jones to offensive line coach Don Mahoney to quality control coach Walt Wells, it’s been a team effort to build an orange bond with Calbert.
“They talk to me on a daily basis,” Calbert said. “Coach Walt Wells, he’s the one that’s been recruiting me since satellite camps. Him and I, we’ve gained a great relationship over the last 4-5 months that’s been passed. (Tennessee coordinator of high school relations Patrick) Abernathy, when I go up there, he’s always excited about me. Coach Mahoney is always excited about me. Coach Jones, he’s ecstatic about me. That just means a lot as a player.”
Calbert took a blue-collar approach to get the scholarship offer from Tennessee, going out and earning it. Not much film of Calbert on the gridiron existed as knee injuries slowed his time with football. He used the spring and summer to camp in front of Tennessee coaches on several occasions and extended tremendous interest in the Big Orange by tripping almost 6 hours roundtrip on a few occasions to visit unofficially on gamedays this fall.
News of the offer came from Jones himself after Calbert placed a call to the fourth-year Tennessee coach.
“We’d just gotten off the phone the night before, so I was like, ‘What does he want?’” Calbert said. “He said, ‘Well, it’s been a long time coming but K’Rojhn we want you here, we need you here, we love you, I love you and you now have an offer to the University of Tennessee.’ My face just lit up, and I was in shock. I was stuck for a minute. I didn’t know what to think. I was so happy.
http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1725166-senior-clips-vols-o...“Man, God made it happen for me. He just gave me the strength to go out there every single Friday night, every practice. Sometimes you might not want to practice, but He gave me that extra strength to go out there and just play and compete and play hard.”
It’s been a whirlwind for the in-state talent but college coaches fell in love with his quick grasp of the sport, his bevy of athleticism and his immense size at 6-feet-5, 285 pounds.
“I’ll tell ya, I didn’t know nothin’ coming on…well I knew a little bit of the basics,” said Calbert, who Scout ranks as the No. 4 offensive tackle in the Volunteer State. “I didn’t know much about offensive line when I started playing. As I got through the season on and on, the college coaches have been hitting me up and telling me, ‘Hey man, I like what you’re doing. You’re getting it. You may not got it all the way, but you’re getting it.’ So, that’s how I know. Plus, I’m putting guys on the ground — I believe that’s what I do best.”
Calbert took an official visit to South Carolina when the Gamecocks hosted Tennessee. On his way back home, he stopped by Tennessee’s campus to speak with Vols coaches. He then took another unofficial visit to see the Volunteers defeat Tennessee Tech 55-0 on Nov. 5. Last weekend, Calbert checked out Florida.
Warren County fell in the first round of the TSSAA Class 6A state playoffs, losing at Hardin Valley Academy 35-14 on Nov. 4.
“We battled hard all year and even when the odds were against us, we never quit,” Calbert said. “We could have played a more complete game, but I felt like we didn’t quit. There was no quit whatsoever. I love my brothers for that. It’s been a grind this season.”
That marked the end of Calbert’s final prep football season.
“I thought I did really well (against Hardin Valley),” he said. “I handled my own. I was beat up a little during the season (lower back).
“I was just dealing with that (back) throughout the whole game, but I thought I played well.”
Mahoney used one of Tennessee’s evaluation days to go see Calbert in that playoff contest in Knoxville.
“Meant a lot,” Calbert said. “He takes time out from his family to come see me play. It just shows that he cares, you know? It took me awhile to get the offer but in return to come to a game, I appreciate that a lot.”
Calbert’s focus is now on Warren County basketball.
“I plan on playing this year. Those are my guys. Been with them since eighth grade. That’s my family, so I don’t want to stop playing basketball,” he said.