Aaron McLaughlin is entering eighth grade in a few months but college football programs are already recruiting the quarterback.
A Class of 2021 prospect from Georgia, McLaughlin received his first scholarship offer, from Georgia State, on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, he received his first Southeastern Conference offer from Missouri.
“It’s really great,” McLaughlin told BlackAndGoldIllustrated.com. “I feel awesome but I just want to remain humble.”
McLaughlin, who already measures between 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5 — “I kind of like 6-5 a little better,” he said — and weighs 200 pounds, said he was noticed by Missouri assistant coach Joey Halzle at a recent football camp at Georgia State in Atlanta.
“At the Trent Miles Football Camp, I guess it was a satellite camp, he watched me a lot,” McLaughlin said. “Then today I got on the phone with him and the offensive coordinator, Coach (Josh) Heupel, and that’s when I got the offer.”
What did they say they liked about him?
“How I throw the ball,” McLaughlin said. “I’m really tall and young, so how I’m athletic and I can stay with my drops and good footwork. Stuff like that.”
McLaughlin is no stranger to college football and recruiting and has already seen some heavyweight programs up close.
“I’ve had a visit at Georgia, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC,” he said.
McLaughlin likens his game to that of a pretty successful NFL QB.
Asked who his favorite quarterback is, the youngster first points to some more traditional drop-back passers.
“I like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, obviously, Peyton Manning — those type of guys,” he said. “But I really like Cam Newton. I feel like I have a similar playing style to him — big, can run, can throw, can do everything. So that’s what I hope I’ll be able to do.”
Even though he is a year away from enrolling in high school, McLaughlin said he will attend North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga.
It is a program that already attracts plenty of interest from college coaches and will continue to, especially with a young D-1 prospect at quarterback like McLaughlin.
“We’re really good at North Gwinnett,” he said. “We have a bunch of talented athletes. There’s another rising ninth grader there that’s got an offer and then there will be a lot coming. I probably have the best receiving corps in the country.”
As for getting a way-too-early read on his recruitment, McLaughlin said he didn’t have a favorite team growing up — sweet music to the dozens of schools who will be vying for his services.
“I’ve never really had a team,” he said. “I like to watch whatever good game is on.”
McLaughlin definitely wants to take a look at Missouri when he can.
“I know they have a great program,” he said. “I know some of the coaches now. I’m going to hopefully be able to go out there for a visit, for a game. I’ll definitely do that. I’m really excited about going out there and seeing more, but from what I’ve seen so far the coaches are great, really nice, and that’s about it.”
SCOUT.COM SCOUTING REPORT:
"Freakish talent who will have every offer in the country by the time he's a junior,” national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said. “Already extremely polished as a pocket passer, solid mechanically, live, accurate arm but can run and shows surprising mobility for a player his size.”