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Over the weekend, Tennessee hosted top 2018 targets Justin Fields, Camron Johnson and Jalil Irvin (more on him below), as well as number of commits who attended the win over Ohio.
But quietly, another intriguing prospect was on campus, too.
2017 offensive tackle K’Rojhn Calbert from McMinnville made his first trip to Neyland Stadium, telling me the game “was awesome.”
“The visit went great,” he said.
“I loved watching the game.”
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.
The Warren County product attended multiple camps, including Tennessee’s satellite session in Nashville.
“I wasn’t going to go, but I decided to go and I’m glad I did,” he told me.
“As soon as I get there I have all these coaches coming up to me asking me questions. ‘Where are you from? What’s your name? I tell them and then I get in there and show what I have to show and by the end of the day I had three or so offers.”
The next day, Calbert tripped to Tennessee for another camp and more evaluation. With spots tight, the Volunteers have yet to offer Calbert, but one could come. Possibly soon.
As Tennessee continues to monitor Calbert’s progress, coaches are asking the offensive tackle to be patient.
“They want to wait and see some game film from me because I have played much at all, so they wanted to see some game film,” Calbert said.
“See how well I move, my hips. See how athletic I was, and I guess they started to realize that. They still want to be patient and see me progress a little bit more. They just want me to go out there and keep on working hard.”
Calbert said Memphis, Missouri and Kentucky have “been recruiting me really hard.” He’s not anywhere near ready to make a decision though — especially with the UT carrot still out there.
“I’m still just going through the process and just praying about making the right decision when i make my decision.”
Calbert didn’t exactly grow up a Volunteers fan, but he’s found himself rooting for the instate school in recent years.
“My eighth grade year I played on Tennessee Future Stars team and after a game I got interviewed by a newspaper and he asked me and one quote I said, ‘I feel like a Tennessee Volunteer.’ I think right there kind of sparked me wanting to play for them.”
During Saturday’s visit, Calbert spent time with several coaches and got to know 2018 5-star offensive tackle commit Cade Mays. He had a good time catching up with 2017 4-star safety Maleik Gray, too, saying, “I know Maleik. I went up and talked to him and he was just glad to see me. He told me, ‘Come on. Be a Volunteer.’ And I was like, ‘I ain’t got an offer yet!’ So we’ll see.”
Calbert will be back on campus this weekend to catch the Florida game.
“It’s going to be a very, very interesting game,” he said.
Irvin checks out Tennessee
Former Michigan commit Jalil Irvin visited Tennessee over the weekend for the Ohio game, and the 2018 4-star offensive lineman from Stone Mountain, Ga., said the trip “was definitely better than I thought it would be.”
After decommitting from the Wolverines in late August, Irvin, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound tackle at Stephenson High, picked up a scholarship offer from Tennessee.
The junior is actually cousins with Volunteers senior tight end Jason Croom, but the two aren’t super close.
Still, Irvin, originally a Detroit native, knew a little about UT from Croom and wanted to see firsthand what the school had to offer.
“It was good,” he told me.
“The facilities are really nice. The coaches showed me a lot of love. I talked to every offensive coach. Before the game, Butch Jones called me into his office. I talked to him. I talked to coach (Robert) Gillespie, coach (Don) Mahoney. I talked to everyone.”
Gillespie is Irvin’s main recruiter and the coach texts the offensive lineman daily.
Right now, Irvin said Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, LSU and Mississippi State are recruiting him the hardest. He hasn’t ruled out Michigan, either, saying he still hears from UM assistants.
“I’m going to take my time (picking a school),” he said.
“I’m going to commit again probably late in my senior year. I decommitted because of lack of communication. And a lot of other schools started to look at me, so I just want to fall back and see what else was out there and who would take a chance on me.”
Irvin, who holds eight offers, will visit North Carolina on Oct. 8, and hopes to see games at UF, FSU and LSU later this season. He will return to Tennessee for the Alabama game on Oct. 15.