Blake McClain is a talented 2014 4-star defensive end recruit from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and he has put together an extremely impressive and competitive top five.
McClain is ranked as the No. 19 strong-side defensive end in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite.
And he's a big recruit from the state of Florida.
He checks in at a very impressive 6'4'', 257 pounds, and he has the ability to play either defensive end or defensive tackle at the college level—especially if he puts on a bit more mass.
According to a report by Hunter Paniagua of Scout.com, McClain just recently picked up a big offer from the LSU Tigers. Although Paniagua's report states that McClain doesn't know much about the Tigers' program in general, LSU's prestige alone put the Tigers in his top five right away:
The little that McClain does know has put LSU in a good position early for this big defensive end.
“They’re definitely in the top five out of Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Auburn," he said.
McClain also talked a bit about the schools that he's interested in (Paniagua):
Florida: “The atmosphere there. I went to one game and the atmosphere of their games, with all the fans, is incredible.”
Florida State: “The coaches, they accept me as part of their family, which is really good because when you go to college, you’re away from your family and you’ll start missing it. When you have people there that are treating you just like your family, it makes the transition process easier."
He went on to say that he doesn't know much about Alabama, but they are in his top five. He also just received an offer from Auburn and doesn't know much about that program either, per Paniagua's report.
It was also reported that he does want to try to visit LSU.
Of these five big-time schools, which program holds the early edge for the 4-star defensive end?
Frankly, it's probably too soon to tell for sure, but we can do a little deciphering to come up with an educated guess.
Alabama and Auburn appear to be big-name draws with McClain, and for now we can put LSU in that same category. All three schools will naturally attract big time SEC-level recruits, but until he actually takes a visit and gets an in-depth knowledge of each program, I can't assume much more than a basic interest a big program.
Looking at his quotes, they would lead one to believe that both Florida schools should be on top of the top five list, with Florida State taking that edge in the early going.
At the end of Paniagua's article, he quoted McClain as saying that the "family factor" will play a deciding role in his decision—meaning he wants to feel like a part of a family wherever he ends up.
In his quotes regarding Florida State, he very clearly stated that he felt that way with the Seminoles coaches. So, it seems like Florida State may very well have the early edge here.
There's still plenty of times for things to change, and no recruiting lead is safe with the likes of Florida, Alabama, Auburn and LSU also in the running.
However, when looking at the facts presented, it would seem as if Florida State has the early edge for McClain.
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