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Florida Football Recruiting

New contenders emerge as defensive tackle's offer list explodes

April 14, 2021

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When Owasso (Ok.) defensive tackle Chris McClellan‍ first became known to the Gator Nation, the 6-foot-3, 290-pounder was a little-known three-star out of the heartland who was flying under-the-radar.

Since that mid-March update, McClellan has won the Defensive Line MVP Award at a Rivals Camp while also receiving offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M.

“I did feel like I had something to prove camping there,” replied McClellan when asked about his Rivals’ Camp MVP winning performance. “It was a respect factor for me because I had some offers and people knew my name, but I don't feel like I was getting the respect I think I deserve. I went out there hungry to compete and won the award and just showed them what I am capable of doing.”

Up next for McClellan is a trip to the Five-Star Challenge later this summer.

While Florida, California, and Texas are seen as college football recruiting hotbeds, he plans on showing the country that Oklahoma is a state that shouldn't be overlooked

“I feel like I'm going to put on for my city and state,” explained McClellan. “Me going out there and beating guys from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi or wherever they're from, I feel like it really puts Oklahoma on the map and lets everyone know, 'Hey, we've got some guys out here too.'”

Speaking of Oklahoma, you would think that it would be safe to assume that the offer from the Sooners was a recruiting game-changer for McClellan.

However, you would be wrong.

“No, not really,” replied McClellan when asked if the Oklahoma offer vaulted the Sooners to the top of his board. “They are definitely one of my top schools, but it's not like, 'Hey, now I'm going to go there.' Of course with me being an Oklahoma guy, I'm going to consider my home state school and if it is Oklahoma [where I commit], then it is, but at the end of the day I'm going to do what's best for me and my family.”

According to McClellan, he is a fan of the 'other' in-state program.

“Actually, I grew up an OSU fan.”

As was the case before, McClellan said that he still isn't ready to formulate any sort of leaderboard – not for the public, nor in his own head.

“I'm still enjoying the recruiting process, holding off to wait to see what offers come in,” explained McClellan. “I can see myself doing something in about two months – maybe start with a top 12 and then cut to a top-eight and then a top-five before I make my commitment. I'm an early graduate so I can't wait until February like some other guys, I'll probably do it (commit) in November.”

Before he gets to that point though he has official visits lined up in June to Florida and Southern Cal.

Keep in mind though, he isn't going to visit these places as a tourist looking at palm trees and sandy beaches.

“It's Florida and California, I know they are great locations, but really, I want to see what the atmosphere is like and how I connect with the coaches,” said McClellan. “Everything sounds good over the phone and looks great on Zoom, but if someone is off in person from the vibe you get over the phone or online then there's something wrong. My best chance to get a feel for everything is in person on the visits.”

With official visits already set to see the Gators (6/4) and Trojans (6/18), McClellan is starting to formulate a plan for the remaining three allotted official visits.

“I would really like to use my official visits to go to places that are further away and more expensive to get to so they're and not as accessible to me and my family. I would like to go see Ohio State and either LSU or Auburn or whoever else comes along. I haven't run through it with my family, but I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go see.”

Between now and getting him on campus in June Florida defensive line coach David Turner continues to build a relationship with McClellan.

“We have a great relationship where we probably talk about three times a week,” said McClellan. “My family loves him, he talks to my dad, my mom, and my little brother.”

In the March update referenced at the top, though he didn't have a leaderboard at that time either, McClellan stated that Florida had secured a place among his finalists.

One month later, that is still the case.

“I can tell you right now Ohio State, Florida, LSU, USC, just to name a few,” replied McClellan when asked if any programs were guaranteed to be among his list of finalists. “Ohio State for sure, and Florida.”

McClellan, who is currently the No. 676 ranked prospect in the nation according to the 247 Sports Composite, is one of those kids whose ranking hasn't yet caught up to where it will be by the end of the cycle, when he will clearly at the very least be a four-star, Top-300 type of prospect.

The Inside Scoop: He isn't ready to name leaders just yet – but it is still clear that Florida will be a finalist. However, while I thought Oklahoma would be the team to beat here after the Sooners’ offered, instead watch out for Ohio State.

New contenders emerge as defensive tackle's offer list explodes

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