Bryce McClain, out of perennial NJ powerhouse Phillipsburg, is a very interesting case study in recruiting. Why? Well, Phillipsburg is on the Delaware River separating New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Until around twenty years ago, P'burg (as they like to call it) played mostly a Pennsylvania schedule against the likes of Easton HS, Allentown Allen HS, and Bethlehem Liberty and Catholic high schools amongst other PA powers.
Yes…Eastern Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley. In fact, they were a member of the Lehigh Valley League for decades…separated, as it were, from New Jersey by history as well as ‘heart'. Things, though, do have a way of changing. And young men such as Andres Morales, from Bethlehem Liberty, and Caleb Ruch, from Quakertown, may have begun something of a sea change when it comes to Eastern Pennsylvania and where the hearts of these young men may lie when it comes to their futures. After all, it has always been Penn State. Go to the local newspapers of the area and check the sports section after all. There are whole sections devoted to Penn State football. Yes, nary a mention of good ‘ol Rutgers.
In some ways this "sea change" has yet to have an effect in this area however, in spite of the fact that the NJ HS sports powers that be forced Phillipsburg to ‘come back' to New Jersey, join a NJ conference, and compete against mostly NJ schools. Still, Phillipsburg remains the power they have always been, and, in other sports besides football as well, especially in wrestling.
So, for the immediate future, we, SOR, will be following the recruitment of this 6' 2" Defensive End who just so happens to be one of, if not the top prospect out of one of the top NJ HS football programs.
Here is Bryce McClain in his own words:
SOR: How did the combine go this weekend? How did you do?
McClain: The combine on Sunday went very well. I know I did pretty well after already working on my speed and quickness at school. I felt like when we were doing the warm up I was really quick and explosive.
SOR: There are times when one just doesn't "have it" and one needs to get a ‘pick me up' sort of speak…something to drive them. So, is there anything in particular that you do to prepare yourself for big games and/or events?
McClain: The way I prep for games os thinking of the games we lost my junior year: a 21-7 loss to Easton on national TV and a championship loss to Elizabeth 14-9 which went right down to the wire. I also think of my lost family members and the lots of people I have counting on me to do the best in everything. Then I think of a lot of stuff that has made me mad in the past and use that towards my non-stop motor and aggression.
SOR: Exactly how big are you, and, are you still growing?
McClain: Yes I am still growing. I am 6-2 220lbs and i have a size 18 shoe. So hopefully I'm growing to fill out my feet.
SOR: How about your offers so far?
McClain: I have an offer from Temple and soon, hopefully, more offer's start coming. I have also gotten letters from Maryland, Illinois, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Iowa, Clemson, and Connecticut. Those are also the schools that are recruiting me.
SOR: What are your plans for this summer?
McClain: My summer plans are to attend more camps. I will be attending a Rutgers overnight camp, a camp at Temple and maybe a camp at Maryland...On the last day of school on June 15th I will be going to Penn State for a camp. And I will be working and getting ready for September 8th, 7pm, at Giants Stadium: the rematch Phillipsburg vs. Bergen Catholic.
We will have more from McClain, and his Uncle (who is helping him with recruiting) , John Thurmond (a NJ State Trooper) in the very near future, as Bryce has promised to keep us informed on the whole recruiting process from a young prospects point of view. So, stay tuned...