On Friday afternoon, Florida State Seminoles football got a nice recruiting surprise when 4-star wide receiver Malik McClain from IMG Academy signed to Mike Norvell and staff. Offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham has led the charge for McClain and secured the signature.
McClain should factor in as an X-type receiver for the Seminoles. McClain, a big bodied athlete, fits the mold of receiver that Norvell and Dillingham like out wide, so should line up there and on the line of scrimmage.
Let’s dive into the tape, breakdown his game and highlight his on-field traits and tendencies.
Time and again McClain gets a defensive back on his hip and pulls away for a big gain. At 6’4, McClain has long legs and is a long strider which creates deceptive long speed. Not only does he create deception down the field but he gets on the defensive backs toes quickly which gives him a two way go to create separation (post or go). See the following clip and watch how quickly he gets the DB on his heels.
Once McClain has a DB on his hip he’s pulling away and making a big play.
This is simple and doesn’t take much football knowledge to “catch” (pun intended). McClain is 6’4 and can elevate to get the ball at its highest point. I believe the kids these days refer to this as “mossing” somebody. This type of range in the red zone is useful when windows get smaller. This also takes body control and high level hand/eye coordination. Taller WRs can be clumsy but McClain does not show that on tape.
It is one thing to run a go route and run by defenders but the true test of a WR is when they are running crossing routes or option routes. McClain shows the ability to throttle down against zone coverage and find open windows. This is encouraging that he’s not a one trick pony and can be active in other parts of the passing game. Getting open is an art form and McClain keeps his head up and feels his way through his routes to find voids.
Watching McClain I’m reminded of a former Seminole WR from the Fisher era. McClain reminds me so much of Rodney Smith, a tall lanky WR who could get down the field and separate.