Will McBride didn’t need a plethora of camps, junior days and unofficial visits to see Tennessee as a place the quarterback wanted to call home.
The Clear Springs (Texas) High School senior joined the Vols’ commitment list Tuesday night less than 38 hours after flying toward home from Knoxville with his parents.
“It truly is a great place,” McBride told InsideTennessee. “It’s almost one of those things where it’s like, ‘How can you pass this up?’ The coaches, the players, the facilities, just the whole experience in Knoxville, I mean it seems great. It really is just kind of like, ‘How can you pass this up?’”
McBride gives Tennessee 25 commitments, replacing a void left by defensive end Tre Lawson's decommitment earlier Tuesday. McBride is one of 18 Scout three-star prospects on the pledge list in a Vols class that ranks No. 8 nationally.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder and one-time Southern Methodist verbal commit changed his pledge to Memphis in the summer. However, the chance to compete for a job early at Tennessee and the option of playing in the Southeastern Conference were too great.
“I was talking to (Tennessee quality control) coach (Nick) Sheridan (Sunday) and we were just talking about how to prepare yourself for the next level, you’re going to have to go against top competition and the SEC — bar none — has the best defense in college football. You know you’re going to be going against corners and safeties and linebackers that are going to be first- and second- and third-round draft picks every week. The competition level is just insane. It really pushes you to see how great you can be as a player and as a person.”
Quinten Dormady, Jarrett Guarantano and Sheriron Jones are quarterbacks all scheduled to return to Tennessee’s roster for 2017. They aren’t the only ones salivating to compete for the starting job vacated by the graduation of Joshua Dobbs. McBride fully well plans to hit the ground running from the moment he steps foot on Rocky Top as an official Tennessee student-athlete in January.
“They let me know they really want me, and that I have a chance to be a QB here,” McBride said. “Obviously wherever you go, there’s going to be competition. It’s SEC football, so nothing is just given, it’s always earned. But they did say that I’d have a good opportunity and obviously being at a program like Tennessee, it can lead you to places like the NFL and obviously lead you to success after college. It really is a special place. The opportunity here is great.”
With Dobbs departing, Butch Jones and his staff knew they had to find a skilled signal-caller this recruiting cycle. McBride's ability paired with his enrolling in January made him a point of focus.
"They do like a mobile quarterback, a guy who can make plays whenever stuff breaks down," said McBride, who's laser-timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.59 seconds. "Obviously the No. 1 thing is you have to be able to throw the football. I believe in myself, and I can throw the football. I've got to improve, and I know I've got to get better if I want to be an elite SEC QB.
"Their biggest thing was just kind of knowing I can make the throws I need to make and when plays break down, I can make stuff happen."