Sometimes the relationship between a coach and a recruit is so strong that any kind of coaching change can alter the recruit’s signature come February.
Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway product Justin Maclin (6-4, 225, 4.6) has been committed to LSU since early June and part of his early commitment was due to his relationship with former LSU running backs coach Larry Porter.
Maclin claimed his love for the Tigers is ultimately what sealed the deal, but Porter’s ties running through the Maclin family made the decision a whole lot easier. Maclin offered TigerSportsDigest.com his opinion on the recent news regarding Porter’s new head coaching position at Memphis.
“I’m happy for him,” Maclin stated. “I know he wanted that job bad. He was one of the main people to get me to LSU and even though he is now gone, I am still committed.
“Coach Porter wasn’t the main reason I picked LSU. LSU has been the only school I really wanted to go to ever since I got the chance to go there on a visit (during his sophomore year).”
The ties that Porter has to the Maclin family are strongest with Justin’s father, James Maclin, who was an offensive lineman at Memphis and not only a teammate of Porter’s but also a close friend. Their connection with Porter is strong but so is the connection that Justin feels with LSU.
“Everybody is happy for Coach Porter, but we’re also still very excited about LSU,” said James, who is also a coach at Ridgeway High School. “Early on I talked to Justin about not making a decision based on a coach because there are so many coaching changes at this level. He picked LSU because of the program. LSU has been a childhood favorite of his and we’re excited for our son. He’s locked in to LSU.”
Porter and Justin had been in touch with one another as late as last week and Porter let it be known that he would continue to recruit Justin should he land his new gig.
“He said if he would end up getting the job he was still going to recruit me, but it would be for Memphis,” Justin explained. “He said he would have to because it would be a part of his job. I think he understands that I’m still committed to LSU and it’s up to me where I go and he knows my heart is with LSU. Actually, I was supposed to talk to coach Porter this week about planning my official visit to LSU, but now I’m not sure who I have to talk to.”
That person will be LSU tight ends coach Don Yanowsky, who has a strong bond with the Maclin family as well, as he was James’ position coach at Memphis and has had a hand in his son’s recruitment. In fact, Yanowsky was at Ridgeway High School on Tuesday meeting with Justin and his coaches.
Maclin – a four-star prospect and No. 10 outside linebacker in the country – only has to worry about recruiting now as his high school season came to an end with a first round playoff loss to Hardin County, 21-20.
“I think I could have done better, but I was dealing with a couple of injuries,” Maclin said of his senior season. “I think I ended up with like 15 sacks on the season though. Now I kind of don’t have much to do with football except to keep preparing myself for football at LSU.
“I am ready to take my game to another level. I can’t wait to play for LSU. I’m going to continue to work hard so hopefully I can be out there playing next season. I want to show people what I can do. I just can’t wait to get there.”
Note: James Maclin said he was not aware if Ridgeway High School was one of the schools that Porter visited on Monday or Tuesday morning.