Originally recruited to play tight end, Clemson University guard Eric Mac Lain isn’t your prototypical offensive lineman. A 2011 high school graduate from North Carolina, the 6’5″, 245-pound prospect was the 6th-ranked tight end in the country and a top-60 national recruit, per Rivals. He redshirted as a freshman at Clemson, but played 38 snaps at tight end and 10 snaps at tight end in 2012. By the time 2015 rolled around, Mac Lain had started just one game for the Tigers.
That lack of experience didn’t prevent Mac Lain from becoming a leader for the Tigers, though. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney praised the left guard for his leadership, on an off the field:
“Eric has been an unbelievable leader. He took Mitch Hyatt under his wing, a true freshman left tackle, getting Guillermo back, Ryan Norton battling through injuries, Joe Gore, Maverick stepping in, Crowder, all those guys, they’ve been incredible. It doesn’t matter who we’ve played, they have been incredibly consistent,” Swinney said, per the Clemson Insider.
After making the full-time switch to left guard, Mac Lain anchored a unit that helped the Tigers rush for more than 3,000 yards this season. In the National Championship Game, the offense racked up over 500 yards against one of the country’s best defenses. Mac Lain’s proven he can make a position switch at college football’s highest level, which should make him an intriguing prospect in the middle-to-late rounds of the 2016 NFL Draft.