The Gaithersburg, Md., Quince Orchard four-star defensive tackle did not grow up desiring to be a Nittany Lion. In fact, he hadn't even pondered ending his recruitment when he left for University Park Saturday morning.
It didn't matter. By 11 a.m. that day, McLean was standing in Penn State head coach James Franklin's Lasch Building office. He slipped out once to call his parents and get the OK to offer his word, and then returned. By 11:39 a.m., he was the 12th member of the Lions' Class of 2015.
"He tackled me," McLean said when asked about Franklin's reaction. "Then he called the coaches in, and they tackled me. Then the players came in, and they tackled me."
If all goes as planned, the 6-foot-2, 280-pound junior will do most of the tackling once he arrives. He's destined to play the 3-technique, a spot he believes fits his style well. Knowing it was a part of defensive line coach Sean Spencer's plans for him played a role in his decision, McLean said. But so, too, did the people.
At one point Saturday, McLean could be seen posing for a photo with a family he's never met and likely never will again. Look again, and he was signing autographs. Later, he was being congratulated by anyone and everyone that passed him by.
"[Franklin] was telling me some really good stuff, and at that point, I knew this is where I want to be," McLean said. "This is home. The fans, and the people, that's the biggest thing.
"I felt like a celebrity. It's so beautiful. I loved it."
He loves Spencer, too, who has quickly formed a bond with the Maryland native.
"He's a great coach and great guy," McLean said. "He's funny and serious; everything you want. You want a serious defensive line coach, but you want one that is able to have fun and joke around and stuff. That's what he brings."
McLean's recruitment is over, but his pursuit to grow Penn State's Class of 2015 has already begun. He picked out Pennsylvania tackle Sterling Jenkins, New Jersey quarterback Brandon Wimbush and Maryland defensive end Darius Fullwood as targets he would begin trying to persuade to join the fold.
Regardless of where they end up, if nothing else, the tackle says he knows he has found his home.
"Having the weight off my shoulders and a place I can call home is what I'm looking forward to," he said. "I'm looking forward to being around all those people on game day. Everyone loves you and knows who you are. They want to be a part of you, and you want to be a part of them."