Terrell McClain: Making Gains, Part 1

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Terrell McClain will check in with STACK each week, giving exclusive updates on his training, mental preparation and overall state of mind leading up to the NFL Draft.

Defensive tackle may not be the premier position in the league, but it's one of the hottest commodities in the NFL Draft. This year is no different, with several interior players currently projected as first-round selections. One of them is Terrell McClain, a fast-rising defensive tackle prospect with first-round aspirations.

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Terrell McClain will check in with STACK each week, giving exclusive updates on his training, mental preparation and overall state of mind leading up to the NFL Draft.

Defensive tackle may not be the premier position in the league, but it's one of the hottest commodities in the NFL Draft. This year is no different, with several interior players currently projected as first-round selections. One of them is Terrell McClain, a fast-rising defensive tackle prospect with first-round aspirations.

A four-year player from the University of South Florida, McClain is currently outside the first round looking in. But each all-star game, one-on-one interview and private workout gives him a chance to increase his draft stock—which is exactly what he has set out to accomplish. McClain is one of the fastest risers among his position group.

It's been said that big players make big plays in big games, and McClain is a big man who certainly showed up in the East-West Shrine Game, the first of three all-star games of the draft season.

NFL personnel flock to these games, which pit top college players against each other for a week full of practices leading up to the game. And not your in-season walk-through practices, either. "You're going up against another fourth or fifth-year senior who has just as much experience as you," McClain says. "There's little room for mistake. All you can do is keep coming at him with the best moves you've got."

That's just what he did, and the big man's skills and work ethic drew rave reviews from both team scouts and draft experts. Todd McShay of Scouts, Inc. rated McClain as the number-two NFL prospect playing in the game, based on his performance.

McClain returned to his combine training grounds, the Athletes' Compound in Wesley Chapel, Fla., following the East-West Game. He hadn't even unpacked when another opportunity came calling: a late invitation to that week's Senior Bowl Game.

It was a bold move following a full week of intense practice sessions at the East-West Shrine Game. Nonetheless, he accepted the invite and took off for Mobile, Ala., intent on building off the momentum created the week before.

"I was flying under the radar before that," McClain says, "so I let it all out in practice. I've been getting good feedback since then."

With the all-star games behind him, McClain is focused on the next, and perhaps biggest, opportunity to break into first-round company: the NFL Combine.

Photo:  J. Meric/University of South Florida


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | BIG MAN | SOUTH FLORIDA