July 19, 2012

McLean discusses commitment to Army

Andrew McLean can never be accused of not doing his homework when it came to making his college decision on Wednesday.

"Oh yeah {on being excited}, I went there two times this summer, I've talked to past cadets because my brother is an officer in the Army, although he didn't go there (West Point)," says McLean, who the Black Knights' 2nd commitment for the 2013 recruiting class and now will indirectly follow in his brother's footsteps. "He's been stationed with guys that did go there and did play football. So, I've got good insight and I've talked to a lot of people in the Army that didn't go to West Point, where I was also able to get the career point of view. Then of course, getting the school and football point of view, where I really feel I've made the right decision. I honestly feel that if I could do the whole thing over again, I would select West Point again."

At the height of his recruiting, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound defense end had narrowed his college choices down to Army and Air Force, but was forthright in why he will be wearing the Black & Gold when 2013 rolls around.

"The deciding factor for me was ... well, I'm kind of a history nut," shares McLean as he laughs at his own self-label. "The fact that West Point had so much history and when I was on the campus I felt so different at West Point then when I was at Air Force. I got the feeling when I was at West Point that this was the right place."

And it was that feeling, along with other factors that lead McLean to reach out to Army's receiver coach, Andy Guyader to extend his pledge to become a Black Knight.

"I called them yesterday at 10:45 in the morning and I spoke to Coach Guyader who is my recruiter," adds McLean. "We just had small talk and I was telling him how our camp is going, because we just starting our practice this week. He also talked about how they (Army) are starting pretty soon. Then I just said that I thought long and hard about it and that I am ready to verbally commit. He was thrilled and he said that they were so lucky to have me and I was so lucky to be going there ... and he was right, because I've been told that by so many different people. He said he was going to let Coach Ellerson know immediately and the defensive end coach right after we got off the phone."

The Recruiting Process

For some prospects, reaching this stage of the recruiting cycle where the player may have multiple offers that leads to constant calls/meetings with recruiters to head coaches to campus visits to interviews from various publications ... whereby it can reach the point of exhaustion. While initially the aforementioned levels of interaction can be exciting, it can cause a prospect to slow the process down and get off the roller-coaster ride.

However, for McLean, his mindset has been just the opposite, although he readily admitted that now that he has committed, he can now focus on summer practice and his 2012 senior season.

"I've never looked at the recruiting as being overwhelming, but I've looked at it as me just being pretty excited just to have these opportunities from five different schools ... to be offered by each," he shared. "I have always kind of known who the top two (Army & Air Force), so it wasn't really stressful for me and yes, it was pretty easy to make a choice."

"But now it is nice that I can focus on my own season, but it was never really a problem," says McLean, who still has at least one person on his 'to-know' list that he has to get the word out to. "I still have not told my brother yet, but I am going to tell him today, because he was busy doing stuff yesterday."

Of course, one person who is aware of the defensive end's decision is Louisville (Colo.) Broomfield High School Head Coach Gary Davies, who offered this assessment of McLean's talents and what Army program is getting.

"He was our junior captain, where we have in our program one captain as a junior and the rest are seniors ... he is a leader," shared Davies, who stated that the junior captain is elected by the seniors.

"As a football player, I think he has a real upside because he's kind of young to the game of football. He was a hockey player, where he played in Canada and lived away from home until he's 7th or 8th grade year. He decided that he didn't want to do that anymore and then he started playing football and baseball, as well as track. He was a tight-end kind of guy and even ran with the ball when he first started to play ... he was a very fast kid. But he got big and kept growing. But when I say upside, it's because he's so young to the game and still has a ton to learn. Even with that, he was the Defensive Player of the Year in our league as junior and was 1st Team All-State 4A as well. He's a dominant player right now and his biggest attribute is his motor. He goes 100% all the time and he's a difference maker.

McLean agreed with his coach's assessment and offer his thoughts on the subject.

"I played hockey for 10 years and I played at the highest level in hockey," confirmed McLean. "Even back then I knew I was one of the best in Colorado, but there's always more stuff to learn. I'm definitely taking that to football. We just got a new D-line coach and even after going to all these different camps this summer and learning new pass rushing moves and stuff ... I'm still learning new technique. It's always great to have the most tools in your tool box when you are trying to get that quarterback."

It is most likely that McLean will reach out to the coaching staffs of those other schools that offered to inform them of his college decision. "I haven't talked to any of the other coaches from the schools that offered me," says the defensive end. Needless to say, McLean knows that such eventual conversations will provide those same schools to make a final pledge for his talent, but he made it clear that he is 100% Army bound.

"My verbal commitment is very solid. I'm treating my verbal commitment as basically signing because I thought about it so much," confirms McLean, who is already engaged in pre-season workout with his teammates. "We just finished lifting today and we have one more week of our team camp where we lift in the morning and have practice at night," he adds. "Then next Friday we scrimmage Bolder in Littleton (Colo.)."

McLean, who as a stand-in for teammates this track season, ran the 4x100m and for player his size, has impressive athletic ability. "My best 40 time this year was 4.8 that I ran at Air Force... that was the best that I had at all the camps," shares the USMAPS bound commit.

Needless to say, getting McLean onboard is just another feather in Army's recruiting hat and Colorado native is happy to be the Black Knights' newest commit. "I've been following Army's recruiting and I know about us also getting Patrick Joseph out of Arizona who committed a few weeks ago ... so it feels good."

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