Ngakoue and Gray on the road

Two friends from Washington (D.C.) Friendship are making the recruiting rounds.

Linebacker Yannick Ngakoue and offensive lineman Derwin Gray took trips to Tennessee and Penn State last week. Both were impressed by the schools.

“It was good,” Ngakoue said. “The campuses were great. I liked the atmospheres there.”

Ngakoue said he was particularly impressed with the Vols' new 3-4 defense.

“The way their scheme is,” Ngakoue said when asked what he liked. “The way they were running the defense.”

Ngakoue said he also thought the Tennessee coaches were “good people” and was particularly impressed with his recruiter, linebacker coach Sal Sunseri.

“He's a real funny dude,” Ngakoue said. “I could see myself being coached by him.”

Ngakoue and Gray both said they liked the facilities in Knoxville, which are currently being expanded and renovated. Gray said he liked the plans for a new weight room and an improved player lounge.

“I think Tennessee was a great place with all the renovations they've got going on,” Gray said. “I'm really high on Tennessee right now.”

Gray said he also liked the chance to play in the SEC and ability to play early for the Vols. UT's offensive line is mostly made up of upperclassmen.

As for Penn State, Ngakoue was wowed by the tradition.

“It's a linebacker university,” he said. “When I saw the linebackers' scheme, they were good in coverage.”

Ngakoue, who is being recruited by assistant coach Larry Johnson, said that his specialty is dropping back in pass coverage, meaning he could be a good fit there. He also said he believed he could get early playing time in Happy Valley.

As for Gray, he said he was impressed by the Nittany Lions' spring game, particularly how hard the players played.

“I thought it was a great spring game,” he said. “...They made a lot of explosive plays. I liked the fans. They showed me love. They really acknowledged me.”

Gray said he will eventually visit Southern California, Florida State, Auburn and Michigan.

Both Gray and Ngakoue will visit Rutgers for its spring game this weekend.