Auburn's Stock Rising for North Carolina TE

Talented tight end Eric MacLain talks in depth about his two-day visit to the Auburn campus.

Fayetteville, N.C.--Eric MacLain's spring break road trip to Auburn on Wednesday and Thursday was time well spent, according to the talented tight end from Jack Britt High School.

In fact, he says that he had such a good time that he plans to return and adds that Auburn is now a major player in his recruitment.

"It was an awesome visit getting a chance to see all of the coaches, tour the campus and see all that Auburn has to offer," he tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. "I had a really good time."

MacLain spent much of his childhood in Knoxville and originally committed very early to the University of Tennessee, but decided to reconsider that decision after two coaching staff changes in Knoxville and consider other options.

Auburn now appears to be a very serious option for the six-foot-five-inch tight end. His father Michael has a masters degree from Auburn and his mother Michelle earned her nursing degree at AUM.

The Auburn coaching staff also has a connection with MacLain. "I talked to Trooper Taylor, who I actually met when I was in the sixth grade," the tight end notes. "It was good that we remembered each other.

"I talked to him (Taylor) a lot and then we had lunch with Christian LeMay and the coaches and talked to them a lot more," MacLain says. "Christian and I played against each other in the state championship game last season. He is a pretty good guy."

Eric McLain has excellent hands and size as a tight end.

The MacLains rolled into Auburn after visiting Virginia Tech and Tennessee earlier this week. Their final stopping before heading home will be in South Carolina to meet with Clemson's coaching staff.

Commenting on his list of favorites, he says Tennessee is at the top of the list followed closely by Auburn. Virginia Tech is third and Duke is fourth. He says that Auburn and Tennessee are virtually even now because he loves the "family atmosphere" at Auburn.

MacLain notes that he grew up a Tennessee fan following former coach Phillip Fulmer's program when he lived in Knoxville for 10 years. "Phillip Fulmer was like a father figure for me for the year I was committed to him," he says. MacLain notes that he stayed committed to the Vols when Lane Kiffin was there, but adds there was a lack of communication with Derek Dooley's staff that caused him to begin looking at other options.

MacLain says the on-campus visits have been very helpful in allowing him to get an understanding of different colleges. "It helps to overall get the feeling for these campuses before I make an official visit. I don't want my first visit to be an official visit."

Academics will play a major role in his college choice. A strong student who makes straight A's in honors courses, he is interested in studying engineering or biomedical engineering in college. In addition to the colleges he has mentioned as his favorites, every Ivy League school has contacted him about attending their universities.

After touring the Auburn campus on Wednesday, MacLain and his parents and younger brother Sean, a ninth grader who will likely be a prospect, too, they spent the night in Auburn and then came back to see more of the campus and spend additional time with the coaches, including head man Gene Chizik who MacLain met with on Thursday morning.

"That was a great time talking to him (Chizik)," he says. "We talked about the opportunities for playing time at Auburn and about bettering yourself as a man and about the plan and how he is not going to change anything. He thinks we are going to be rolling real soon."

"I looked at the depth chart and there is a great opportunity at Auburn for a tight end to come in and contribute," he says. "I like the way they use their tight ends," he adds, noting they also get to line up at wingback, wide as receivers and at times at fullback.

MacLain was born in Montgomery when his dad was on his first tour of duty with the Air Force. His dad re-enlisted in the Air Force after the 911 attack and the family has lived in Ohio and North Carolina since then.

MacLain, who also plays forward on his school's basketball team, earned all-conference, all-region and second team All-State honors as a junior.

"I am planning to come back to Auburn," he notes. "I am hoping to be able to come to that Big Cat Weekend, but we have a family reunion. Hopefully I can swing by because I am only going to be two hours away. I heard about the Big Cat thing last year and heard it was a lot of fun."

Commenting on why Auburn has moved up his list of schools of interest, he says, "I can tell the way the program is going that there is a good thing going on at Auburn. I really like the family feel to the program. That is a hugemongous thing to me."

Combine Video, April 2010

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