Jonathan McLaughlin talks Wake Forest

Jonathan McLaughlin, who currently lists Wake Forest among his top three schools, was on campus Saturday to watch the Deacons take on ACC rival Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound left tackle, from Mauldin High School in South Carolina, made the trip to Winston-Salem with his parents.


"It actually went really well," Jonathan McLaughlin said of the visit. "I'm liking Wake Forest a lot. It felt like home being there. I had some really good conversations with all of the coaches and some of the players.

"I was with Justin (Bridges-Thompson), a junior from my area. Kevin Sousa, a freshman from Florida, was showing us around. Big No. 71, Hunter Goodwin, was telling us a lot about Wake Forest and what it was like there."

Wake Forest got out to a fast 10-0 start, but saw the Hokies come back with 28 unanswered points to take the game 38-17. Despite the loss, McLaughlin saw a lot of things that impressed him with the direction of the football team.

"The offensive line really played well together as a unit," McLaughlin said. "Joe Looney at left guard was on point the whole game. They got down, but they never gave up and put up a good fight until the end."

McLaughlin also lists East Carolina and Marshall in his top three, but has been hearing a lot from North Carolina and North Carolina State. He has paid a visit to East Carolina when they faced the Hokies earlier in the season, but has yet to visit Marshall.

"When I take all of my visits I think I'll be closer to deciding," said McLaughlin. "Right now there's not really any time-frame. The things I'm looking at to decide are education level, the team and how my relationship is with both the coaches and players, and the atmosphere.

"Location isn't a factor because all of the schools are close to Virginia. That's where I'm originally from. I still have both of my grandmothers and lots of cousins back there."

About nine years ago McLaughlin moved to Mauldin, in the Greenville area. He began varsity play as a sophomore and has been the team's starter at left tackle the past two seasons.

"This season's been pretty good," said McLaughlin. "We've been losing the past four games, so we need to go out Friday night and change that. I think I've gotten better all-around with pass blocking, run blocking, and with my pulls. I've also stepped into more of a leadership role as a senior."

McLaughlin recently received an invitation to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, the annual All-Star game features top seniors from North and South Carolina. The game is played in Spartanburg, close to his hometown. As he closes out his season with the Mauldin, he plans on staying in close contact with Wake Forest coaches.

"My parents and I really liked all the coaches," said McLaughlin. "Coach (Keith) Henry is the recruiting coach in my area, but I also talk a lot with Coach Lobo. Having a good relationship with the staff and players is going to be key for me because I'm going to be around them for the next four, possibly five, years of my life."

McLaughlin plans on conditioning after the season and keeping fit by throwing the discus and shot put for his track team. This week the Mauldin Mavericks will try to get back on track, but must face one of the top teams in South Carolina in Greenwood on the road.
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