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K’Rojhn Calbert woke up smiling Thursday morning.
An ear-to-ear grin had never left his face from the night before.
After a seemingly endless wait, the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Warren County offensive tackle finally got the special news he’d long hoped to hear: We want you to be a Tennessee Volunteer.
UT coach Butch Jones personally called the 2017 offensive lineman late Wednesday evening, delivering an official scholarship offer.
“My emotions went from calm to jumping off the wall,” Calbert told me.
“I’m very thrilled. I can’t stop smiling.”
For those who may not know — or remember — Calbert’s story, I wrote about how the in-state product was among the satellite camp success stories this summer. A brief snippet …
So who is K’Rojhn Calbert?
Five months ago, Calbert was a prospect with zero offers.
He wasn’t just off the radar. He was anonymous.
Calbert tore his ACL during his sophomore season and then needed another surgery just to repair the injury after “something wasn’t done right.”
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound tackle missed his entire junior season. Afterward, he wasn’t even sure he still wanted to focus on football or basketball.
But a coach convinced Calbert to continue giving football a chance, and the super athletic lineman is suddenly a hot commodity.
The 3-star prospect now holds nine offers, as Calbert quickly became a satellite camp success story this summer. His stock literally soared overnight.
Today, Calbert holds more than a dozen offers — including the one he’s long desired.
Ironically, Calbert and I talked Wednesday night roughly 30 minutes before his phone call with Jones. I didn’t know the offer was coming … and neither did he.
“My offer list is growing. Hopefully it continues to grow,” Calbert told me Wednesday.
“I think somehow, someway (a Tennessee offer) will happen. I don’t know how soon. I don’t know how 100 percent that is, but I think if they can get me in there, (the offer) will come. I just don’t know when. But it’ll come.”
He was right.
When Jones made the call, he told the offensive lineman that Tennessee “wants me to be a part of the team.”
“We love you,” Calbert recalled Jones saying.
“I love you and you’re really special. We want you here.”
Tennessee has been evaluating Calbert for months, watching him in person at camps multiple times this summer and studying his senior tape. He’s visited Knoxville three times this fall, too, developing real relationships with the entire coaching staff.
As the Volunteers offensive line board continue to shift in recent weeks, Calbert’s raw, but supreme athleticism ultimately proved too much to ignore.
The senior has displayed steady improvement this fall — all while admitting he’s still adapting to the nuances of the position.
“It’s still kind of new to me,” said Calbert on playing offensive tackle.
“I’ve kind of settled myself in, learning how to be more physical. Learning to stay on blocks, pass protection. Picking things up (in film) study. I’m just trying to build on each week. Learning the offense even the more, continuing to improve every week. It’s a hard position to learn, but with more repetition you can just continue to get better and better.”
The Volunteers were already near the top of Calbert’s list, and the offer may have officially made Tennessee the team to beat.
Still, Calbert isn’t in any hurry to make a commitment.
He could take the decision all the way until National Signing Day, he said.
In addition to a trip back to Tennessee for the Tennessee Tech game on Nov. 5, he has several official visits planned (Memphis and Louisville), starting with a visit to South Carolina this weekend for its showdown against Tennessee.
Calbert, who visited USC unofficially for the Texas A&M game in early October, said the Gamecocks have been recruiting him the hardest in recent weeks.
“Them, along with Missouri and Kentucky,” he explained.
“I just want to see how they’ve improved. (Coach Will) Muschamp has done a great job with South Carolina. They’ve improved a lot since he’s been there. I just want to see how much improvement there was from even just (a few) weeks ago. I will be evaluating both teams while I’m there, but more-so South Carolina. I want to see if South Carolina can hold their own, which I’m sure they will be able to. It’ll be a good game. We’ll see how it works out.”
Asked who he’ll root for Saturday, Calbert chuckled, and said, “I do like South Carolina quite a bit. But I would say they’re probably just under Tennessee right now.”