LSU fans rejoiced when Justin Maclin of Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway committed to the Tigers on June 6.
LSU had just landed the nation’s 13th ranked outside linebacker and Scout.com’s No. 194 player overall in the Scout300. The fact that LSU was able to go into the Volunteer State and nab the state’s third ranked player overall, who recorded 92 tackles and 19 sacks as a junior, gave Tiger fans a sense of entitlement after Lane Kiffin and Co. ventured into Louisiana and pulled one of the state’s top prospects for 2011 in Anthony Johnson.
There never seemed to be much doubt as to the direction that Maclin was leaning throughout the recruiting process. But those same fans, who were once on cloud nine, began to worry when Maclin made the trip out to Los Angeles for the USC Rising Stars Camp last week.
Was there any reason for them to be concerned?
TigerSportsDigest.com spoke with Maclin’s father, James, on Monday to get an update on the trip to California, and it should ease some nervous minds that are out there.
“He shined and did his thing,” said James of their experience at the USC camp. “He got a chance to see a different type of competition and he showed up and showed he could play. That was the one thing we wanted to do this summer, but we’re still LSU bound.
“Let’s go ahead get that out of the way. If you need to hear that from him he’ll tell you the same thing,” James said with a laugh.
James had purchased non-refundable flight tickets well before Justin committed and the LSU staff knew that when the four-star prospect announced his intentions in early June. LSU running backs coach Larry Porter, who was a teammate of James at what was formerly Memphis State and is now Memphis, was still glad to hear what he heard when James and Justin made their way home.
“We went to the camp and called Larry after we got through working out on Thursday and told him the situation,” James said. “We told him we enjoyed it but we were headed back to Memphis. They knew what the deal was and know how we feel about them.”
James and Porter’s relationship was a big reason that Justin pulled the trigger so early in the process. James was an offensive lineman for the Tigers and blocked for Porter who was a standout running back.
The relationship between the Maclin’s and LSU runs even deeper, though, because James’ position coach in college was LSU tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Don Yanowsky.
“Both of them are good guys, but me and Larry are close like you would imagine college classmates would be,” said James. “All around, I think just the people at LSU are really just – we feel really good about them – to where they’re just kind of heads and tails above everybody else, just from the general feel of it.”
The trip out west was not Justin’s final visit of the summer, but it is the last trip to any place outside of LSU, before he settles in for his senior season.
In fact, there will likely be several more visits to Baton Rouge over the months leading up to National Signing Day.
“I know that he and his mom are trying to work something out where they’ll come down in July to just kind of hang out and spend some time with the players and that kind of stuff,” James said. “But we’re focusing on the season now that we got all that other stuff behind us. We’ll probably go down a couple of times before we start football in late July and make it to a couple of games.”
Along with taking an official visit to LSU, there is the possibility that Justin will take some official visits, with USC being a possible destination.
If that happens is there anything for LSU fans to worry about?
“I’m probably going to take some visits to see some places and to see some games, but LSU doesn’t have anything to worry about,” said Justin. “And the fans don’t have anything to worry about either because I’m going to LSU.”