February 27, 2011

O'Brien again finds comfort at UT

Seeing Neyland Stadium Saturday afternoon was old hat for Flint, Mich., defensive tackle Danny O'Brien, but for the 6-3, 278-pound senior-to-be it never gets old.

"It went real well," O'Brien said of his junior day visit. "They impressed me a lot. It was good to get back down here for the third time. They just keep impressing me and blowing me away each time I come down here."

The biggest thing about Tennessee that has O'Brien's attention is not the size of the stadium. It's the honesty he feels while on campus.

"Just how real they are," O'Brien offered of what stood out. "It's more than just a 5-year deal. They have you 40 to 50 years after football. That's what they keep telling you. They have a great program and they are on the rise. I think they are going to be the top team in the SEC East in a couple of years when they get all their recruits in here."

In addition to seeing the stadium and touring other facilities, O'Brien got some one on one time with the head coach. O'Brien said he felt little pressure in talking to Derek Dooley.

"I went into his office and we talked. He asked me what I was looking for in a school and stuff like that," O'Brien recalled. "He didn't put any pressure on me or anything like that. I am going to wait it out to either the summer or after football season.

"I want to get out to Oregon and I want to get down to Alabama."

With possible trips to Oregon and Alabama this summer, O'Brien expects to make his fourth trip to Knoxville once he finishes his junior year of high school.

"I will probably back in the summer for a camp to workout with the staff to see how they coach."

O'Brien admits that he's surprised that Tennessee is perched at the top of his list and creates his experience in Neyland Stadium last October as a big reason why.

"I was always a Big 10 guy. It's the SEC. The intensity with the Alabama game really opened my eyes," he said. "It was a great experience.

"Going into the Big House they might have eight more thousand fans, but at Tennessee it feels like they have 80,000 more."

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