McBride Pride

He's not as big, not as highly ranked and he plays in the last line of defense instead of down in the trenches, but Atco N.J., native Tyrone McBride has the same Grade A gridiron DNA that made his cousin Turk McBride a Big Orange fan favorite.

But the McBride story doesn't end there, as 2007 high school All-American safety Antwine Perez and Jamil Tyson, a former West Virginia player, are also Tyrone's cousins. Plus his head coach at Winslow Township High School is none other than his uncle Michael McBride, who is also Turk's uncle and was his former head coach at Woodrow Wilson High School in Camden, N.J.

Turk was ranked the nation's No. 3 defensive end when he signed with Tennessee in 2003 and was a prominent performer at both tackle and end for the Vols. He projects as a possible first day pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Now the Vols would like to add another member of the McBride pride, and the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Tyrone McBride has the makings of an enforcer at strong safety or a ball hawk at free safety. He could develop into an athletic outside linebacker with laudable 4.6 speed. He said he patterns his play after NFL stalwarts Ed Reed, of the Baltimore Ravens, and Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins.

"I think I'm a pretty good downhill player in terms of run support and blitzing, but I can definitely cover well too," he explained. "I think I'm a free safety at the next level." Tennessee has been interested in the younger McBride for some time and were the first school to offer him a scholarship. UConn has since extended an offer and he is also hearing from Pittsburgh, Penn State, Rutgers and Virginia.

"My uncle really handles all of my recruiting, but I know I have written offers from Tennessee and Connecticut right now," McBride explained. "He just tries to keep me focused on the task at hand rather then let me get caught up in the recruiting stuff."

McBride is also a standout in baseball and basketball but his future appears to be on the football field. He attended the Orange and White game in 2006 and liked what he witnessed and experienced.

"I went to Tennessee last year for their spring game and loved it there," McBride told "The coaches, players and fans all made me feel right at home and I really got into the atmosphere that surrounds Volunteer football."

In fact, he was so comfortable with the spring game atmosphere that surrounded Neyland Stadium he decided to join in the Big Orange mania.

"I was actually down with the fans singing and dancing on the sidelines," he said. "I didn't even know the words to (Rocky Top), but I was trying my best to sing it because everyone was just so excited."

Naturally, that excitement doesn't compare to the electric atmosphere of a major SEC contest on Rocky Top, however it does provide a point of reference and the incentive for McBride ot make an official visit this fall. Even though the Vols have an early jump on the competition, he doesn't seem likely to make a quick decision.

"I talked to Turk about everything and he just told me to make sure I do what makes me happy," he said. "So I'm trying not to get too attached to one school this early."

That doesn't mean he won't end up at Tennessee. After all, Turk didn't announce his decision until he signed his scholarship.

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