Tigers Lead For Defensive End

This junior college defensive end says after his visit this weekend Auburn is a strong leader for his services.

Coffeyville, Kan.—Defensive end Tony McClain from Coffeyville Community College was once one of the top kick returners in Texas when he came out of B.F. Terry High in Rosenberg two years ago. Now a 6-3, 250 speedster off the corner with 18 sacks this season, he's one of the most sought-after players in the junior college ranks and he took a visit to Auburn this weekend to see the Tigers take on the Georgia Bulldogs and he came away very impressed.

"I liked the atmosphere," McClain said. "The crowd and the fans and the people, Auburn is just a great place to be. They support the team a lot. That's what I've been looking for. If they give me a chance hopefully I can help those guys win the SEC easily next year. It's a great place."

Tony McClain

Saying that he still plans to visit Kansas this weekend and Nebraska, South Carolina and Indiana in the coming weeks, it is clear that this weekend made a big impression on McClain who is scheduled to be an early graduate in December. While he didn't commit this weekend, he notes that the Tiger Walk is something that really made an impact on his stay and may be the deciding straw when the time comes.

"That was wonderful," McClain tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I've never been through anything like that in my life. Those people were great. I really like the way they support their team. That makes me want to play just that much harder. If they give me the chance I would be proud to be an Auburn Tiger.

"I pretty much have my mind made up. I just want to see what these other people have to offer. I doubt that it will top that because that was something I really, really enjoyed."

Playing the position Auburn covets the most in this recruiting season, McClain is a top priority for the Tigers as they look for immediate help at a position with just three players currently playing end as their true position on this year's team. In meeting with position Coach Terry Price McClain notes that he really felt wanted by this staff. As a player who says his best 40-yard dash time is 4.57 seconds, it's no wonder he's being recruited by schools from around the country.

"Coach Price really shot it with me straight," McClain says. "He was going over the scheme and the depth chart and he was telling me how he was looking forward to me coming right on in and playing because he could use a guy like me. He said he really admired the way I played coming out of junior college.

"I think if I can get in with those guys and get their trust and get them to help me out as soon as I get in there...if they guide me a little bit I really think I can come in there and help those guys a lot. I like that aggressive running to the ball style (on defense). All those guys work hard, offense and defense, I like that."

While the weekend didn't turn out as well as he would have liked with Auburn falling to the Bulldogs on a late-minute touchdown pass, McClain says he learned a lot about the program watching the team after the game. As a player that has three years remaining because of a redshirt year as a freshman at Coffeyville, he says what he saw in defeat was very important to him.

"It was great being around the coaches and being around the players," McClain said. "They are a great group of guys and I like the way they play. They play as a team. They went on the field and even though it was a hard loss they lost as a team. No one was complaining as to who did this or who did that, instead of doing that they were picking each other up."

McClain wasn't alone on his visit this weekend as verbal commitment Brandon Jacobs made the trip as well. Teammates at Coffeyville, McClain notes that playing with Jacobs at Auburn would be a perfect fit for both of them after the friendship they've forged in junior college.

"Playing together with him that would be great, it would be real fun," McClain says. "We're coming from juco together going on to the next level. Hopefully, one day we'll have our own cup of tea."

Tiger Ticket Extra: McClain was one of four official visitors to the Auburn campus joining Jacobs and defensive ends Tranell Morant and Quentin Groves.

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