Tennessee hosted six official visitors this weekend, two of whom were committed to other programs. The Vols gave Miami linebacker Lerentee McCray plenty to think about in regards to his recruitment this weekend, but can the same be said for another linebacker, Zach Brown, from Hargrave Military Academy?
Brown (6-foot-1, 210 pounds, 4.39 40-yard dash) gave Maryland a verbal commitment after an unofficial visit with the Terps over the Thanksgiving weekend, but after seeing Knoxville and the Tennessee program, is that commitment still intact?
"I would say that I'm still committed to Maryland, but Tennessee definitely gave me some things to think about," Brown said. "It was a really good visit. I had a great time there. Everything was really nice."
The Vols turned Brown's head, and apparently won't have to wait long to decide if they've turned it enough to make a real difference.
"I'm going back to Maryland this weekend for my official visit there, and after that I'm going to sit down with my family and look at everything," Brown said. "Tennessee's a great school, they're right there now with Maryland. I'm thinking about both of them and will probably decide something for sure next week. I told coach Chavis I would let them know next week one way or the other."
Brown had a chance to see Tennessee first hand back in the fall when Hargrave played the Vols' J.V. squad in a Thursday night game in October. That was essentially an unofficial visit for Brown and every other player on the Hargrave squad, and that's where the recruitment between he and Tennessee began in earnest.
"I hadn't heard a lot from them before we played down there, but since then they've been recruiting me pretty hard," Brown said. "After I saw the campus when we were down there I knew I wanted to come back for an official."
Brown noted that his first trip to Knoxville gave him a general feel for the program, but he got a much clearer picture of things this weekend.
"I already knew it was a good place, but I learned a lot more about them on my visit," he said. "The stadium, the facilities, all that stuff is great, but the best part was just hanging out with the players and getting to spend time with the coaches. Everybody is real tight. That kind of jumps out at you."
Brown turned a lot of heads last week when Hargrave hosted their annual December combine for college coaches. The linebacker was clocked at 4.39 in the 40-yard dash, a time that got a lot of people's attention, but didn't impress the player himself that much.
"I wasn't surprised, I used to be a track guy. I was expecting to break 4.4," he laughed. "It was hand-timed, so I was clocked at 4.28 and they actually added a .10 to it."
In addition to his speed, Brown is also a big-hitter and a sure-tackler, something he says his history of competitive wrestling helped him with. He was a state champion in Maryland at 215 pounds, and the lessons he learned on the mat help him on the football field.
"I think it helps me with my tackling more than anything," he said of his wresting background. "I always have my head up and my eyes open when I'm making a tackle, and all of that, plus leverage and stuff is important in wrestling."
Rivals.com rates Brown as a three-star prospect and the No. 25 overall prep school player in the nation this year.