Sometimes, it just hits you.
Middletown (Md.) offensive lineman Will McClain had hinted at various points this offseason that that one day he'd get that "gut feeling" and just commit to a school. The 6-foot-5.5, 290-pounder had long been high on Maryland and West Virginia, and on June 24, for no other reason than he "just felt like it was time," he became the Terps' 15th class of 2015 pledge.
"It just hit me that I wanted to represent the state of Maryland," said McClain, who held offers from UMD, WVU, Temple and Rutgers. "It just felt like the right thing to do -- stay home and represent my home state. I was just kind of chilling here, hanging out at my house, and I decided to give Coach [Randy] Edsall a call and let him know."
That phone call will undoubtedly be etched in McClain's memory. In fact, the big Middletown lineman couldn't stop laughing when describing the conversation he had with Maryland's surprised headman and his recruiter, Greg Studrawa.
"Coach Edsall, he was all fired up and excited. He was like, 'Will, this is probably the best decision you've made in your life until this point,'" McClain said. "Then he handed the phone to Coach Stud, and it was really funny because I could hear him in the background before he even took the phone. Like he was yelling and screaming coming down the hall (laughs). Then he took the phone and was shouting, 'Will, I heard the news. Welcome aboard.' He was more excited than Coach Edsall (laughs)."
Those two coaches, in particular, are why McClain is heading to College Park, Md., instead of Morgantown, W.Va. He said he has contact with either Edsall or Studrawa at least once a week and was immensely impressed with what each stood for.
"All the coaches there are great, but Coach Edsall, he creates such a great atmosphere down there," McClain said. "He's a really good guy, and I like how you can joke with him but he's also very serious about the program and taking Maryland to another level. He's all about education and doing what's best for his players.
"And Coach Stud, man I love that guy. I didn't get a chance to work with him yet, but when I was there for a visit I really liked how what he was showing the linemen and how he coaches. Then he just has a great personality on top of that."
McClain also harped on the "overall atmosphere" surrounding Maryland at the moment. He mentioned the Big Ten move, the new facility plans, the campus feel, the current players, and also the momentum the Terps have had thus far in the 2015 class ("they've got some real nice guys coming in; it's great to be part of that," McClain said).
"Maryland really has everything I could want in a school. It's great academics, great coaches, great atmosphere," said McClain, who is thinking of majoring in criminal justice or sports medicine. "And it's close to home. Now my family, friends and teammates can all see me play every home game, and if I do need to go home it's only an hour away."
Soon after committing, McClain dialed his coach, Kevin Lynott. Lynott and his Knights' squad played host to Maryland for a camp last year, and he's repeatedly had positive comments about the Terps.
"I think Coach Lynott is happy I'm going to Maryland, but he's more happy it's over with and he doesn't have to get a call every day from Coach Edsall and Coach Stud," McClain said, chuckling. "And my family, they're real happy I made my decision and it's a big stress off all of us."
The Middletown lineman did just venture over to Morgantown for the second time two weeks ago. He had nothing negative to say about the Mountaineers, but said he just felt more comfortable in College Park.
"I really did like WVU, but Maryland is a chance to be even closer to home and to represent my home state," said McClain, who noted that his parents would've supported him no matter what school he chose. "It's a chance to play in the Big Ten and for some great coaches like Coach Edsall and Coach Stud."
Landing McClain is significant for Maryland considering the Terps missed on two Middletown recruits last year in Justin Falcinelli (Clemson) and Ricky Leonard (FSU). McClain at one point seemed to be tending towards WVU, but a May visit and subsequent conversations with the two aforementioned coaches secured UMD's position.
"This [Frederick County] area has some talent, some big linemen, and it's important for Maryland to be up here. And they are -- they got the big guy over at Linganore too, E.J. Donahue," McClain said. "Guys up here should want to go to Maryland. It's a great school, a great program they have down there."
McClain is primarily a run blocker who operates in an offense that passes the ball maybe 15 percent of the time. He considers himself a mauler, but also someone who is athletic enough to block in space. He said he's slotted to play tackle at UMD.
"Just talking to Coach Stud and Coach Edsall, they want me at tackle," said McClain, who has only been playing football since eighth grade. "That's real exciting for me -- that's the second highest paid position in the NFL (laughs). But right now I just want to get stronger, faster and work on my all-around game, and then get ready for Maryland.
"I'm jumping on the bandwagon."
Local OL McClain Jumps On UMD Bandwagon
TerrapinTimes Top Stories
Durkin, Terps Ready For B1G PlayCOLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin addressed the media Sept. 27 ahead of the Terps' Oct. 1 game against Purdue.
A Look at Terps Through 3 Games: The DefenseA look at the Terps' defensive three games into the 2016 campaign.
TerrapinTimesYesterday at 11:19 PM
Updated Scout 300 Trend Meter For 2017The updated Scout 300 Trend Meter for the 2017 class takes a look at which schools are trending for each uncommitted member in the Scout 300.
Scout FootballYesterday at 11:15 AM
Jones Rehabbing, Ready For UMDCAPITOL HEIGHTS, Md. -- Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.) traveled to Fairmont Heights (Capitol Heights, Md.) Sept. 24 for a Prince George’s County matchup. Terrapin Times was on hand to…
TerrapinTimesYesterday at 8:06 AM