Former Michigan Wolverines football linebacker’s Cameron McGrone career was one that started with a bang and then seemingly plateaued … and then it was over. An injury to position-mate Josh Ross in a Sept. 21 loss at Wisconsin in 2019 opened the door for McGrone to step into the rotation as a redshirt freshman, and he started Michigan’s final 10 games that season.
He put together an impressive stat line in 2019 (66 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks), and expectations were sky high as a result heading into 2020. Those high hopes didn’t exactly come to fruition though, as McGrone and the Michigan defense struggled through a miserable season that saw the unit finish 84th overall in the national rankings.
RELATED: Wolverine TV: Seven Of Michigan’s Pro Prospects Talk Draft Process, More
RELATED: ITF EXTRA: Several Michigan Spring Football Tidbits
McGrone was injured in just the second game of the year against Michigan State, before eventually tearing his ACL in a Nov. 21 win at Rutgers and missing the Wolverines’ season finale the following week against Penn State.
“I am a little bit past three months out [on my recovery],” McGrone revealed to the media yesterday while previewing U-M’s Pro Day. “NFL teams just ask me how I’m doing and if I’m alright.”
McGrone is heavily expected to be chosen in next month’s NFL Draft, though he isn’t expected to hear his name called until the middle rounds (or later). His early departure (he was a redshirt sophomore last season) at season’s end came as a surprise to some, especially when considering the way his campaign had ended with the ACL tear.
The Indianapolis native revealed yesterday, however, the early departure was all predetermined.
“It was thought preseason,” he revealed. “Me and [former defensive coordinator] Coach [Don] Brown had a few meetings and he was confident in my 2019 season, and if I had a decent 2020 season, I knew I’d have a chance to come out.
“The season didn’t go how any of us wanted it to, but I was ready to become a professional and thought ‘What better chance than now?’ I already had my mind made up I was going to have it  be my last season, so the injury wasn’t a factor either.
“Coach Brown leaving [for Arizona] didn’t factor much either — I had made the decision before he was let go. Seeing him let go was sad though because he was my guy.”
McGrone admitted the ACL tear did cause him to ponder his situation for a moment, revealing “he was thinking about coming back” at that time due to the way he didn’t “get to finish the season with his teammates.”
“It was just a thought, but I was confident in my ability and was ready to make this dream a reality,” he added. “I feel like I’m an all-around linebacker who can play outside or inside. It’s wherever a team wants me because I can adapt to any position.”
McGrone was known for his blazing speed and bone-crunching hits when he burst onto the scene during the 2019 campaign, though those attributes were absent all too often last season.
He was asked yesterday what he views as his primary qualities and intangibles he can bring to an NFL organization, and right away pointed to his “winning mentality.”
“At every level, we all just want to win and get a championship,” he exclaimed. “I’ll be a student of the game [in the NFL] and learn from the veterans around me. That will only propel me in my knowledge and will help me work with everyone else better.”
• Players oftentimes have a favorite individual moment or game that resonates with them while reflecting on their collegiate careers, and McGrone had a precise answer for that question when asked about it yesterday.
“Definitely that 2019 monsoon game against Notre Dame,” he recalled, which resulted in a 45-14 Michigan beatdown. “I’ll remember that night forever. I felt like it was one of the best games we played as a team.
“It was like a movie and was so much fun for all 60 minutes.”