Memphis, Tenn. has long been a hotbed for basketball talent, containing elite athleticism that often grew up with hoop dreams. These days, much more Memphis talent is beginning to recognize the opportunities on the gridiron rather than the hardwood. One youngster that is making a splash between the hashes is Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway outside linebacker Justin Maclin.
At 6-foot-3, 220-pounder, Maclin is a very undersized post player. However that size makes him a monster of an outside linebacker.
"Basketball is the first sport I really just liked playing and played and I think that's how I got so athletic by jumping around and running around so much," Maclin said. "I stopped growing. I was playing big man and stuff and I had to learn how to dribble and shoot."
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Football has since become the first love of Maclin and his athleticism has turned some college coaches' heads. This summer Maclin attended two summer camps, LSU and Memphis. Not coincidently, both LSU and Memphis have extended Maclin his first verbal offers.
"I did real good this summer," he said. "LSU and Memphis offered me scholarships this summer. I went to both of their camps. My daddy drove me to LSU and did great. I just worked real hard. I did real good on my vertical and my 40 time and all of that."
Maclin blew the coaches at both camps away with a 37.5 inch vertical and a 4.47 40 yard dash all while measuring in at 75 inches (6-foot-3) and 220 pounds. With Memphis being his hometown team and LSU being his childhood favorite, the start to his recruitment couldn't be better.
"I was real happy about that LSU offer because that's the school I always wanted to go to LSU," he said. "I always liked Louisiana because I've been going down there some to see games. My cousin and my daddy took me down there some. That's always been the team I've cheered for."
Along with the Tigers of Memphis and LSU, Maclin received some other initial interest during the spring.
"I've had Marshall, Louisville and Penn State come to my school and talk to me," he said. "I would like to hear from probably Georgia or somewhere down South."
Friday night, Maclin opens up his senior season with a jamboree scrimmage against Memphis power Melrose High School. Along with Maclin, there will be a lot of firepower on both sides of the ball. Melrose boasts one of the best defenders in the state in linebacker Greg King, and Ridgeway has more than just Maclin.
"I'm ready," he said. "We've been doing real good in the scrimmages on our defense. Everybody's got a motor. We can hit. That's what we do all day long."