4* LB Zakoby McClain’s recruitment has been a bit of a wild ride. The talented backer was a frequent member of Auburn’s visitor lists this summer. He was also a frequent no show. There was a moment it looked like he was going to commit to LSU having never visited but in the end, nothing happened. Benjamin Wolk of SECCountry did a really good job summarizing McClain’s confusing recruitment in his article yesterday.
There were points in the summer when I thought he was destined to choose Auburn, but he’d hesitate. He would consider another program, or back out of a visit to the Plains. At one point this fall, it seemed like he was moments from taking a visit to LSU and committing there. That visit — and commitment, obviously — never happened. That’s when West Virginia picked up a visit and got in it.
But nothing came of his flirtation with West Virginia either. For about a month or so not much news came out on McClain or his recruitment.
However, that changed Saturday when Auburn was finally able to get the Valdosta, GA native on campus. It appears the visit went outstanding for both sides leading to his announcement tonight on Twitter that he’s committing to the Auburn Tigers.
I would like to thank my coaches, family and all the college coaches that recruited me. I will be committing to ....— $avage7 (@ZAKOBYMCCLAIN) November 29, 2017
R.I.PGMA &SED ❤️ @ChadSimmons_ @RivalsWoody @vhswildcats @AuburnFootball pic.twitter.com/NWsecjpgYW
McClain has always been a guy that Travis Williams REALLY likes. All the way back in April, Michael Harris let slip this little nugget to Keith Niebuhr.
“Coach Williams tells me every time I talk to him, I’m his guy,” Harris said. “I’m his No. 1. He wants me and Zakoby (McClain) from Valdosta in the middle. That’s his two main guys in the middle.”
Well he got them. Another big win for T-WILL.
When you see 6’0” 205 lbs you probably think safety, not an SEC linebacker. But throw on McClain’s tape and any concerns about his size evaporate. McClain is not only one of the fastest linebackers you will see in this class, he’s also one of the most violent. He hits more like he’s 6’4” 250 lbs. McClain will probably end up at Auburn’s strongside linebacker spot currently manned by Darrell Williams and Montavius Atkinson. I wouldn’t be surprised to see McClain emerge as a special teams star next season before joining the rotation in 2019 after Williams and Atkinson graduate.
It just seems right that an undersized backer like McClain should be coached by one of the best undersized linebackers in SEC history in Travis Williams.
Auburn isn’t necessarily done at linebacker with McClain’s commitment. The Tigers are still hard after 4* Channing Tindall and 4* Quay Walker. Tindall took an official visit this past weekend for the Iron Bowl and there’s a feeling Auburn might be making a push. Unfortunately, Walker was unable to make the trip but AU remains a threat in his recruitment as well. The good news is neither of those guys are now must signs. Auburn has three really talented players they really wanted, all who project at different positions. Richard Jibunor will most likely end up at the Buck spot, Michael Harris at the middle linebacker position and McClain at the SAM. Not all that different than last year’s class where Tadarian Moultry ended up being moved to the Buck, Kenney Britt to the MIKE and Chandler Wooten to the SAM. Wouldn’t be surprised if Williams’s linebacker classes all have that similar look in the coming years.
Numbers are getting tight now with 18 commits. I plan on diving into this deeper later in the week but with Auburn’s strong ending to the season and the chaotic coaching carousel, a lot of talented prospects might wanna jump on board in the coming weeks. The Auburn coaching staff might have to make some really tough decisions. That’s a really good place to be in when you are worried about too many good players wanting to join. Amazing what winning does.
War Eagle Zakoby!