Justin Maclin, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound four-star outside linebacker from Ridgeway High School in Memphis, Tenn., has 10 scholarship offers and now says two schools stand out above the rest – Alabama and LSU.
“LSU was my team as a kid,” Maclin said. “My dad knows some of the coaches and I’ve always been connected to them.”
Maclin’s dad played college ball for Memphis and was an offensive guard. “He just says to have fun and not get arrogant or anything,” he said. “He doesn’t have a favorite school.”
The Tigers were the first school to offer Maclin last summer and he says they are still recruiting him the hardest. “I think that LSU is gonna be real good this season,” he said. “Plus, after this year they are gonna be losing a lot of linebackers and I think I’d be able to play early.”
Tied with LSU for the lead is Alabama. “I like their defensive style,” he said. “They system they run is great and I really like coach Nick Saban a lot.”
Maclin, ranked as the No. 11 outside linebacker in the country by Scout.com, attended the Tide Junior Day and got to meet with coach Saban. “He’s real and doesn’t tell you things you want to hear,” he said. “Coach Saban doesn’t take no crap at all. That’s what makes you better. You gotta go hard all the time with him.”
Trailing Alabama and LSU are Florida, Tennessee and USC and all but the Trojans have offered. Maclin also has offers from Syracuse, Illinois, Ole Miss, Memphis, Texas Tech and North Carolina.
“My dad has talked to the coaches at USC and they’ve been sending me mail,” he said. “I may go out to their Rising Stars camp. I’m not sure yet.”
“I’d definitely like it if USC offered,” he said. “They win all the time and they always get guys to play at the next level. Even guys who sit on the bench still get drafted from USC. Plus, California is like a dream place to be.”
While he isn’t sure about attending the USC camp, Maclin does plan on attending camps at Tennessee and LSU. “I really like the new coaches at Tennessee,” he said.
“I think they are gonna be real good,” Maclin said. “Tennessee is getting a lot of great recruits and (defensive coordinator) coach Monte Kiffin is already a Hall of Famer. You know they are at least gonna have great defense with him.”
He says the Vols like him at both linebacker and defensive end. “They said they’d probably use me at D-end on third downs,” he said.
Although it won’t be for a camp, Maclin says he’d also like to visit Florida this summer. “I really like watching Florida play,” he said. “They’ve won the national championship and are a proven winner.
“Plus, it seems like a pretty good place overall,” he said. “The weather there is great and it seems like a good place to live.”
Maclin also attended the Illinois Junior Day, but doesn’t mention the Illini among his top five.
“I want to make sure I’m comfortable with the living environment,” he said. “I’m used to the big city, but I wouldn’t mind being in a college town like Tuscaloosa or something.”
He says he’ll try and make his decision before the start of his senior season. “But if I don’t, I may just wait until signing day,” he said. “I don’t want it being a distraction during the season.”
Maclin finished his junior season with 92 tackles and 19 sacks. He benches 335-pounds, squats 335 and claims a 35-inch vertical jump.
“I can get to the quarterback,” he said. “I have good strength and come off the edge well. I play fast and intense.”
But one thing he says he wants to improve on is his lateral movement. “I need to move better left to right,” he said. “I want my sideline-to-sideline speed to be better and I’m working on my hips too.”
Maclin reports a 3.0 core GPA and a 17 ACT, which he plans on retaking.