The Florida Gators may not currently have a head coach (beyond interim coach Greg Knox), but that didn’t stop them from landing four star defensive lineman Chris McClellan. Talk about committing to a school and not a coach.
McClellan, a Class of 2022 recruit from Owasso, Oklahoma, isn’t just any recruit, either. He’s a monster- literally and figuratively.
Boasting offers from Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, Georgia, FSU, Auburn, LSU, Oregon, Texas A&M and more, McClellan chose Florida over all of them on Tuesday afternoon. And there’s a reason for all those offers. (You can watch his highlight tape here.)
The first thing that jumps off the highlight tape of Chris McClellan is his size. He’s listed as 6’3, 295 lbs. but he just looks bigger than that. He’s not just big, though; he knows how to use that large frame to bully opposing offensive linemen.
He’s also sneakily athletic, displaying some above-average footwork and agility in getting out of his stance and into the backfield. He’s not the fastest interior defensive lineman out there, but he shows some nice closing speed and is fast enough to get where he needs to be to fulfill his assignment more often than not.
Long story short, scouts who evaluate him beyond just the clips he selects for his highlight reel do point out that this is a project for whoever takes over as Florida’s defensive line coach next season (or if David Turner is retained, then for David Turner). The project will include increasing some of his fundamentals on tackles and improving his pad level. But it’s a project that boasts enormous upside, as if he can adjust to the college level he can step in and thrive right away as a freshman.
It’s always a little strange to see schools that just fired their head coach land a recruit, particularly one of this caliber. But given Florida’s struggles on the recruiting trail under previous head coach Dan Mullen, nobody’s complaining.