Close to home

CLEMSON - Alabama native Antoine McClain is very familiar with the environment at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The former four-star considered Auburn among his favorites before signing with Clemson in February of 2010.

"They were my second school to offer me, so they pretty heavily recruited me," McClain said.

Auburn's right around the corner from his hometown of Anniston. During his recruitment, McClain saw four Auburn home games.

"It's close to home, so I got to see a lot of games there," he said. "I remember meeting a lot of my friends there. A lot of people that play at Auburn, I'm pretty good friends with—in my class."

But it was the recruiting effort from Dabo Swinney paid off in the end for Clemson.

"I never was big on Clemson until I came and visited. Coach Swinney was very consistent in how he recruited me," McClain said.

Through his first two-plus seasons at Clemson, McClain is a 16-game starter at right guard. He's yet to miss any of the 29 games during his career. Earlier this spring McClain received the Strength Training Award for Clemson offensive linemen.

He's also focused on improving several aspects of his game. Most of it, he said, has been technical work.

"Hat speed, hand placement, head placement, footwork," McClain said.

In his opinion, McClain's best quality on the line comes as a run blocker.

"Coaches say that's one of the assets I contribute to the team," he said.

With such a big game looming on the third weekend of the schedule, getting through the first two games on the schedule had the potential to be mentally taxing at times. McClain insisted that his approach allowed him to resist the temptation of looking ahead to Auburn.

"I always grew up taking it one game at a time," he said. "You can get distracted while thinking of another game."

McClain had no problem admitting he's been thinking of this game for a long time. In the spring he began bartering with teammates for tickets to be assured that he'd have enough for the horde of 22 friends and family that will be in the stands at Jordan-Hare this weekend.

"It's close to home and it's a big game," McClain said. Top Stories