Wednesday, March 6, 2013
FSU DE commit sees big transformation
By Corey Dowlar
Blake McClain's (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) physical transformation has come a long way in less than a year's time.
He was always a bigger kid, of course. But not like he is now. Before this season, he showed his athletic prowess with finesse and quickness. Now he has added a power element.
At 6-foot-3, 250, Blake McClain has kept much his athleticism while adding power to his game.
That all started when he returned to Sandalwood last June after being at Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla.
"He's a great athlete, man," Sandalwood coach Adam Geis said. "I think he is a diamond in the rough. He came back to Sandalwood in June and he was about 240. He bought into our weight program real hard and now he is up to about 265. He is an outstanding athlete. He averaged a double-double this year in basketball. He has great feet and long arms and kind of finally grew into that body."
At first glance, it might be hard to perceive McClain's true measurables. Though he has added significant size and strength, he's not overwhelmingly big and still has a lean appearance from his time in basketball.
But his frame will allow him to add weight and keep his athleticism.
"I say he is a steal just because of where he was last year with his size," Geis said. "He blew up. He is so quick, has such great footwork out there on the edge from playing basketball all his life. He is a prototypical Florida State defensive ends from the '90s."
McClain should fit right in with recent Seminoles defensive ends who have been big and powerful off the edge.
"If you walked in the room right now, you'd probably tell me that he weighs 230, 235," Geis said. "He is in great shape. His freshman year, he will probably line up at 275, 280."
McClain's commitment is the second Sandalwood player to commit to the Seminoles since the beginning of 2013, joining DeMarcus Walker, who flipped to FSU from Alabama in January.
Before that, Class of 1987 running back Chris Parker was the last player out of Sandalwood to sign with the Seminoles.
New Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is a big reason for the recent success at Sandalwood.
"We haven't really had a real tie with Florida State," Geis said. "I think we have had 29 (players get scholarships) since I have been here and they have all gone random places. Had one go to Florida, one go to Miami. But ever since I met Jeremy Pruitt about two-and-a-half years ago -- he is just a great dude.
"He is obviously a great football coach. Coached under Nick Saban at Alabama for a long time, so that speaks for itself. I've known him for a while now and he has never not come through for me. I know can trust him if that kid needs some help and it makes it easier now that he is in state."
Florida State will hope that continues with McClain's teammate, Kain Daub, an ESPN Watch List inside linebacker.