April 16, 2009

Coveted DE talks third UT visit

With a third visit to Knoxville now wrapped up, Zack McCray is getting increasingly more familiar with the University of Tennessee campus.

But during this week's trip to the UT campus and the Vols' spring practice, the four-star defensive end from Lynchburg's (Va.) Brookville High School saw even more of the campus than ever before -- and got better acquainted with the new coaching staff.

"Yeah, I got a full campus tour. They took me to the academics center, the business school. They showed me the stadium, we ate and then we came back and watched practice," McCray said. "It was a little bit of everything."

It also was a much more in-depth look with more time around the coaches, something missing when McCray twice visited last year.

"The last two visits, I came for the Alabama game, and I really didn't get to talk to the coaches any except for coach (Jason) Michael," McCray said. "The first time I came to the spring game and went straight to the stadium.

"They're getting things done over there. The new stadium (additions) are real impressive and will be even more impressive with the new renovations. The new business school and academics stuff also is very nice. I think it will help a lot with student athletes in the future."

What's helping the Vols right now with McCray is the energetic new coaching staff, which impressed the Rivals.com Top 100 resident with their energy and pro experience.

"I think that they're doing a good job, they jumped on the ball really quick, especially in recruiting and caught up with all the other recruiting classes," said the articulate, 6-foot-5, 236-pounder. "I think they have a lot of experience, especially at the pro level with Monte Kiffin and coach (Ed) O (Orgeron) on the defensive line. That's a lot NFL experience."

McCray, who enjoyed a family side trip this week to the Gatlinburg-area and delayed an unofficial visit to LSU, knows academics will factor heavily into his decision.

"It's definitely important. When I come out of college, I want to have a degree that is going to say something about me as a hard worker and that I can accomplish more than football," he said.

So, was the third time a charm for keeping the Vols in the mix with McCray?

"I'm interested," said McCray, who indicated he's still pretty wide open but would like to reach a decision before the end of his senior season. "With the new staff with all the experience they have, I wanted to come back and check it out and see for myself. …

"It's a possibility (McCray will return for an official visit). I haven't sat down and laid out every trip. If I had to choose off this weekend, I would say probably (for an official visit). But, I've got a lot more visits to make."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!