Published Feb. 1, 2012
Defensive tackle, 6-3, 300
Flint, Mich. (Flint Powers Catholic)
Committed: Oct. 6, 2011
247Sports Rating: 92 (No. 23 defensive tackle, No. 6 prospect in Michigan)
The skinny: Given the circumstances, O’Brien had every reason to de-commit from the Vols during the past two months. His lead recruiter, former linebackers coach Peter Sirmon, left for Washington to months after he committed. His future position coach, Lance Thompson, left for Alabama one month later. Yet O’Brien not only remained committed to UT, but he was clearly one of the class’ top recruiters. He made the lengthy trip from Michigan for an unofficial visit last month to help woo prospects on the Vols’ biggest recruiting weekend of the year. On the field, O’Brien has the size to compete immediately. Feasibly, he’d be in the small group of players vying for a spot at nose tackle in Sunseri’s 3-4 setup.