Some refer to Indianapolis as the Railroad City.
If Tennessee coaches have their way, they’d be quite pleased to see a trainload of talent continue to make its way south to Rocky Top.
Starting linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. hails from the Hoosier State’s capital city and Lawrence Central High School. Cameron McGrone could potentially be the next for the Volunteers, and he made his way to Knoxville on Saturday to learn more.
“Darrin Kirkland, he’s up here now, and he’s an LC grad and I thought I’d come up here and see what Tennessee is all about,” said McGrone, who’s also visited campuses such as Notre Dame and Ohio State. “Of course me and him talked a little bit on why he came to Tennessee and like what he likes about it.
“It was amazing. It was unlike any other college I’ve been to so far just with the whole aspect of academics and plus sports, like it’s just totally different than everything else.
“Of course it’s SEC so I know that their facilities are going to be top-notch here and pretty much everything is going to be at the top. So like I knew it was going to be like that, but like coming here and seeing it for myself it was great to see that.”
Suffice it to say that Tennessee has put its best foot forward with the Indianapolis-based tackler, who ranks by Scout as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the Midwest.
“It’s really how they’re recruiting me and being able to talk to Darrin and see what he really thought about it from his experience alone,” McGrone said. “It really put that on me pretty thick because I’ve known him for awhile. To hear him say that, it’s true. I know what Tennessee is all about.”
Kirkland, who was a one-time commitment to the Michigan Wolverines, is a few years older than McGrone but the pair have a relationship that’s aided by social media.
“He was a senior when I was a freshman,” McGrone said, “so we aren’t that close, but during football season and during school we talked and we still — on Twitter — from now and then just talk about football and what’s going on with us.
“It’s definitely reassuring to know exactly what they do here and what I can be. Like me and Darrin play the same position. I see him and him telling just me like what he’s been through and see where he’s gotten, I know I can possibly get to that place for sure.”
Tennessee assistant coaches Derek Day, Brady Hoke and Tommy Thigpen are tagging up to reel in the Scout four-star prospect.
“They showed that they really cared about me, that was special,” McGrone said.
‘When they said they watched my film, they say I look just like Darrin on my film. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s awesome!’ That’s pretty much all they said about me and the way I play. They can see me play like overhang, linebacker, just all around. Not MIKE, mostly outside.”
The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder has developed a gameplan for his recruitment in how he’ll decide on a collegiate home.
“Just the way the coaches treat me and of course the academic portion,” said McGrone, who’s leaning toward a Physical Therapy major. “Like me and my parents, for a long time we’ve been talking about football is going to end at some point, so I want to know if the coaches are going to make sure that I get my degree and get a future, get a career. Football is not going to last forever. So I just want to make sure that if the football thing doesn’t work out, then I have something to fall back on with academics and my degree.”
McGrone doesn’t speak like he will commit anytime soon.
“I’m kind of hoping kind of like toward the end of senior season,” he said. “Just make sure that I have all the offers that I might want to get or just make sure that every college gets the chance to see me before I start my senior season. It’s going to be nice to watch.”
A return trip to Knoxville is in the works for the Scout No. 1-ranked outside linebacker in the Hoosier State.
“I’m hoping to come down for a game, so I can see what the atmosphere is like inside the stadium,” McGrone said. “So I’m hoping to come back.”
InsideTennessee’s Gabriella Santa contributed to this report.
Tennessee linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr.