The string of commitments for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff continued Monday, as four-star linebacker Cameron McGrone announced his intention to play for the Wolverines.
McGrone is the 14th ranked outside linebacker in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He becomes the 12th commit in Michigan’s 2018 class thus far, in what is widely expected to be a smaller class, given the larger classes the Wolverines took in 2016 and 2017. 247Sports, however, actually ranks McGrone as the 40th best player in country in their own (non-composite) rankings, far and away his highest ranking among any of the major outlets.
McGrone held offers from a plethora of other Big Ten schools in addition to other high-majors, including Notre Dame and Tennessee, before ultimately choosing Michigan.
He is known as a speedy, athletic linebacker who should fit well into defensive coordinator Don Brown’s blitz-heavy scheme. Brown appears to have been a major factor in McGrone’s decision.
“Coach Brown, his knowledge of the game is so great,” McGrone told Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports. “When I got the offer, I sat down and watched film with him and he showed me exactly how I was going to play in the defense and I was able to visualize myself at the MIKE position.”
In six games in his junior season, McGrone totaled 52 total tackles including 15.5 tackles for loss. Last season, the Wolverines’ defense finished second in the nation with 121 total tackles for loss.
His commitment comes over ten months after McGrone tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his team’s regular season finale, though he has worked out in several events since then and attended the Michigan football barbeque at the Big House this past week. His rebound appears to be proceeding on schedule. At the Oakland Opening invitation in May, Barton Simmons of 247Sports named McGrone one of the five most impressive defensive players at the camp.
“Making the trip all the way from Indianapolis, McGrone made it count in our eyes,” Simmons wrote. “He was maybe the most impressive linebacker in terms of closing speed in the cat and mouse drills with the linebackers.”
McGrone becomes the second 2018 commit from Indiana, continuing a trend under Harbaugh to expand well beyond the confines of Michigan — the 12 commits in the class span five different states, with just three players from the state of Michigan thus far. The staff has shown a desire to build recruiting pipelines outside the state, with Indiana and Georgia emerging as two potential hotbeds.
The commitment also continues a trend (perhaps related to Brown’s scheme) of seeking out fast, rangy linebackers. Sophomore Devin Bush and freshmen Jordan Anthony and Drew Singleton, among others, are comparable players who fit the mold of athletic linebacker recruits under Harbaugh and Brown.
McGrone is the second outside linebacker in the class, joining Otis Reese of Lee County High School in Georgia.