"I thought then that if we had two or three more like him running around the school that we just might be alright."
McLaurin has spent time at quarterback, receiver and defensive back during his high school career.
That team first attitude is just one of his attributes according to his head coach.
"We have moved him around some," said Earnest. "He's always been willing to do whatever he needed to do to help the team.
"He's always been a hard worker and he is such a great leader on and off the field.
"Mark has been a tremendous example for the other kids in our program.
"In the three years that I have been here, he's never been called to the principal's office.
"He's always working hard in the classroom, in the weight room and at practice.
"We just couldn't have asked for better leadership than he's given."
Coach Earnest credits the McLaurin family for the person Mark has turned out to be.
"They have done a tremendous job raising him to be the young man he is," said Earnest. "I just can't say enough about what a great family they are.
"They support him in every thing that he does and they have always stressed the important of academics and doing the right things.
"He's just a model citizen and I know all of the teachers here admire and respect him."
McLaurin committed to Mississippi State a few weeks ago and it appears that decision has effectively ended the recruiting process.
"I believe he's solid in his commitment," said Earnest. "We all sat down the day he committed and we just went over everything.
"He just felt the most comfortable with Mississippi State.
"I think one of the things that stood out the most was that Mississippi State had a great plan for his future.
"They didn't just talk about football, but they talked about getting his education and his degree and becoming a man.
"They showed him and his family that they cared about him as a person and not just as a football player.
"In the end, I just think Mississippi State was the best fit for him and that's why he committed to them."