On Friday morning, teammates of Liberty County High School linebacker Raekwon McMillan will have their one day off a week from summer pride workouts.
No such time off for McMillan, however, as he will be boarding a plane to go to Oregon to be part of the 2013 Nike: The Opening Combine. The event, set at Nike’s corporate headquarters in Beaverton, features the 150 best high school players in the United States participating in 7-on-7 passing tournaments, lineman challenge and coaching from NFL players.
And that comes on the heels of McMillan, one of the most sought-after recruits in the country, making his second visit to the University of Florida in as many weekends, according to gatorsports.com.
However, McMillan is quick to defer all of the personal accolades to his teammates.
“I have received a lot of attention, but I am even more proud of how hard the younger players are working during the summer,” he said. “We expect to make a playoff run this year, but this is also my last year along with some of the other seniors and we want these younger players to be able to step up and keep Liberty County a strong program.”
McMillan is No. 15 on the ESPN Top 150 prospects for the class of 2014 and is weighing scholarship offers from Division I college-football programs across the country. Representatives from many of those schools have come to see him since January.
“Players that have can’t-miss athletic ability usually miss because they don’t have that same drive off the field or in the classroom, that is certainly not the case with Raekwon McMillan,” said ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill, who heads up the ESPN 150 list.
“Obviously, we start looking at players going back to the sophomore year, putting a lot of emphasis on the development and increase of numbers between their sophomore and junior seasons,” Luginbill said.
Throughout the year, Luginbill looks at evaluations and analysis from camps and how a prospect ranks within his class, position and overall.
“When we started to break down and examine the interrelated factors, we knew that Raekwon McMillan was definitely in the top 20 of the class,” Luginbill said.
McMillan’s measurables and versatility are impressive enough, but it’s the intangible things that can’t be coached that set McMillan apart, according to Luginbill.
“Besides the fact that he has strong character and academics, he is an inside linebacker that is 250 pounds and being that big still runs (4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash),” he said. “Raekwon is not limited to a specific system. He can play inside or outside linebacker and be able to be quick enough to give an effective pass rush.”
McMillan is a hot commodity in the recruiting blogosphere, especially in Birmingham, Ala., and Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State and Alabama remain high on McMillan’s list.
“He’s getting plenty of buzz, but I think most are presuming he’s going to Ohio State,” said Mike Hearndon, who covers Alabama football for the Birmingham News. “Bama’s got two (linebackers) committed already, but everyone still hopes that Alabama has a chance.”
McMillan doesn’t plan to slow down on the recruiting trail this summer. Next month, he will attend Dawg Night, the annual recruiting showcase at the University of Georgia.
McMillan does not plan to make a decision until December.
Until then, he continues training, as he will be running the ball more for the Panthers this fall.