I posted earlier about fellow Viking Kenneth Bynum’s commitment so it’s fitting that the two are talked about in the same day. The two play high school together (McClain is #40, Bynum #11), will play together at Cincinnati, and will, essentially, be analyzed together. They have of course been a package deal since almost the entirety of their commitment. Of the two, McClain is slightly more highly rated coming in as the 23rd best inside linebacker in the 2012 class according to Rivals. No matter what recruiting service you use, McClain is a very solid linebacker in the class.
McClain is a thickly built linebacker that specializes in stuffing the run. He’s also weighs upwards of 225 lbs and is a large guy for a kid who will only be a freshman next year. For these two reasons he plays inside linebacker for Raines high school. Another good thing about his size is that he is tough to block on blitzes as he’s 15-20 lbs heavier than most other high school linebackers. Don’t let that size fool you, McClain is plenty fast for a middle linebacker. He lines up on kickoffs and has the ability to be first or second guy to get to the return man. He also has pretty good lateral speed to cover from sideline-to-sideline. In a nutshell, for a guy his size he carries it well and it doesn’t inhibit him from getting to the ball carrier quickly.
Like his Raines high school teammate, McClain is going to force this coaching staff to burn his redshirt. He has the necessary bulk for the college linebacker position and can contribute on special teams (as you saw from his highlight video). That’s where he’ll earn his money his freshman year. When he cracks the regular defense in the two-deep, it will be on the inside just as in high school. There are a lot of factors to consider here, but in 2013 after a year on special teams, the MIKE position will consist of Solomon Tentman, Dwight Jackson, Clemente Cassius, and Lester Liston Jr. and John Law (both in the same class as McClain). There is real opportunity there for McClain to at least share the backup MLB spot.