"I had already decided to go to Alabama myself," McLain told BamaMag.com. "But I told my family last night.
Although there was some controversy earlier in the recruiting season when McLain said he was committed to Bama, then said that Alabama had withdrawn its scholarship offer, Tide Head Coach Dennis Franchione calmed everyone by saying that Alabama would have a scholarship for McLain, but that Bama would not have it until January, 2003.
Perhaps predictably, the Auburn coaches then immediately intensified their efforts to recruit McLain, who grew up a Tide fan. The early word this week was that McLain was scheduled to visit Auburn before he made his final decision. And the pride of Lineville certainly wouldn't have been the first prospect to take advantage of the recruiting process by enjoying an extra mini-vacation or two.
But McLain's lifelong allegiance to Alabama wouldn't let him make even that slight compromise. "I don't see any need in taking a visit to Auburn," he stated. "I'm happy with my decision."
A four-year starter for his high school team, McLain helped lead Lineville to a 13-1 record this past year. Carrying a solid ‘A' average, he is a top student expected to graduate in the top five of his class. McLain is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Various athletes list different reasons when explaining their decision to commit to a given school. The factors commonly include early playing time, lack of depth at their position, luxurious facilities--even pretty girls.
But McLain simply decided to follow his heart. "It's always been a dream of mine to play for Alabama," he said. "I wanted to be happy with my decision 10 years from now, and Alabama has a great tradition."
Known as "Moose" by almost everyone that knows him in Lineville, McLain has agreed to sign with Alabama but delay his entry into college until January of 2003. That will allow him to take part in winter workouts and also spring practice, but Alabama will not have to count his scholarship until next season. If for some reason one of Alabama's 17 commitments this year is not able to report in the fall, McLain would enter school next September.
At 6-3, 240 pounds, McLain could project at several positions for the Tide. He is a versatile athlete who has played everything from tight end to defensive end to fullback, and is willing to play wherever he fits in best at the college level. At one time or another during the recruiting process, the Lineville native has been listed at tight end, fullback, linebacker and defensive end.
"Coach Fran told me I could play on either side of the ball," McLain said. "I'm in-between tight end and linebacker in size, and the tight ends coach, linebacker coach and running back coach all said I could play for them."
McLain was named to the Alabama 2A All-State team in 2001. On defense this season he was credited with four sacks, three caused fumbles and one fumble recovery to go along with 82 tackles. On offense, McLain played fullback, rushing for 876 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also caught 12 passes for 314 yards and two scores.