KIRKWOOD, Mo. – Despite having a famous last name in the Missouri and professional football ranks, Class of 2020 wide receiver Jay Maclin said he never felt any pressure from his family in choosing where he’d suit up on Saturdays.
Yet, a little more than a decade after his first cousin Jeremy Maclin helped the Tigers to plenty of success in 2007 and 2008, the younger Maclin will take the same collegiate path.
Jay Maclin announced his commitment to Missouri in front of family, friends and teammates Thursday afternoon at Kirkwood High School.
Maclin, a three-star prospect according to the 247 Sports composite, chose the Tigers over Arizona State and Indiana. Maclin also received offers from Iowa State, Kentucky and others, but those schools didn’t make his top-three choices.
Ultimately, Maclin said narrowing the field down to one school wasn’t hard.
“It was pretty easy. I love Mizzou, that’s my home,” said the 5-foot-11 Maclin, who caught 45 passes for 762 yards and scored nine touchdowns for the Pioneers last fall.
Maclin is Missouri’s third Class of 2020 commit, with the other two also coming from the St. Louis area. He joins Francis Howell offensive lineman Drake Heismeyer and Chaminade quarterback Brady Cook in the Tigers’ recruiting class.
“It shows what Mizzou has done in coming under coach (Barry) Odom and really securing the borders and recruiting in-state kids that are going to play their hearts out for the University of Missouri,” Kirkwood head football coach Farrell Shelton said. “Coach (Gary) Pinkel – they did that for years. If you look at the top schools, the Clemsons, Alabamas, they get the homegrown talent first.”
Maclin said that when Missouri offered him last June, he was confident he’d become a Tiger but wanted to take things slow. After his last junior day visit a few months ago, Maclin was all-in about spending college in Columbia.
Maclin will join Pioneer teammate Maurice Massey, an incoming Tiger freshman, at Missouri after one more season at Kirkwood.
“That’s my boy,” Maclin said about Massey. “I’ll stay in contact with him, most definitely.”
Maclin said announcing his commitment was like a weight off of his shoulders.
When he announced his college destination, Maclin first reached for the Arizona State hat placed in the middle of his trio of choices.
His fingers came within a few inches of the Sun Devils cap, but he quickly stopped and confidently grabbed Missouri’s hat to his right.
Maclin’s decision to pick Missouri also came after considering if it was a fit academically and its distance to home. He wants to see his younger siblings and the rest of his family as much as possible.
And not feeling badgered by his family about this decision, Maclin believes what’s best for him is about 90 minutes west down Interstate 70.
“I’m just trying to do me, do what I got to do to help the team,” Maclin said. “So I got to put all that to the side (and) play ball.”
Maclin knows the name on the back of his jersey will bring expectations, but that’s nothing he’s uncomfortable with.
“It’s a gift and a curse, but it’s real nice to have that name,” Maclin said. “As long as I keep working hard and get to where I need to be, I’m good. ... I can bring back the Maclin name.”
Shelton said Missouri is getting a team-first player, as one piece of evidence saw Maclin step in at offensive guard for a little while last summer during drills.
“He’s not going to be the guy that’s been outworked,” Shelton said about Maclin. “If you beat him, you’re just better than him or it was your day. I think (he’s) one of those players at least for our level and as he gets into his junior, senior year at Missouri that will be like a cornerstone of your character and a young man instilling the right things.”