He has friends that play football in the Southeastern Conference and they all told Florida high school cornerback Blake McClain the same thing.
“They all say it is the best conference to play football in, so I wanted to be part of that,” said McClain, who gave his verbal commitment to UK¿last week. “I don’t have any friends playing at Kentucky, but all my friends in the SEC say every SEC school is good and that’s the place to play.”
“I just thought it was where I wanted to play.¿I liked the coaching staff, the city and the school,” McClain said. “It was a family-oriented feeling that I really liked. I want to know if I¿have any problems, people will be there that care about me and that’s the feeling I got at Kentucky. You are there to play football, but you are also there to live your life for four or five years.”
The 6-1, 190-pound McClain said he had “quite a few offers” from schools like Illinois, Pittsburgh and South Florida before Kentucky extended a scholarship offer on his visit.
“I think there have been like 10 schools that had offered me and a lot more recruiting me,” McClain, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, said.
McClain, who mainly was recruited by UK assistant coach Greg Nord, liked the facilities at Kentucky.
“Their indoor stadium is huge. I really liked that,” he said. “The weight room was really good. The stadium was nice, too. The facilities are fine based on other places I have been.”
He admits he didn’t know a lot about Kentucky football before his recruitment. However, he says the reaction from family and friends has “been crazy” since his commitment.
“Kentucky is a growing program,” McClain, who plays at Winter Park High School in the Orlando area, said. “The coaching staff is trying to make it where Kentucky can go for a SEC¿championship. I liked (secondary) coach (Mike) Cassity. He’s a real good guy, very down to earth and straight forward. I liked hearing what he will demand from me.
“I am an aggressive, ballhawking player with good cover skills. I can play special teams if needed. I’m not afraid to be challenged or to try and make plays.”
The athletic McClain also plays basketball — “I am pretty good in basketball, too” — and grew up playing other sports before concentrating on football and basketball in high school. He also says he is “squared away” academically to be eligible at Kentucky. “Basically, I am done with that (academics). I am good to go,” he said.
He feels making an early decision about his college choice will help him.
“I can just be me now,” McClain, who is rated as a three-star prospect, said. “I can have fun. It kind of feels good to know the college pressure is off. I wanted to make my decision early so I could enjoy my senior season and just be more normal again.”