Photo: Cormani McClain; Credit: Zach Goodall
LAKELAND, Fla. -- When Cormani McClain made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback as a sophomore, things came easily to him. And by things, we mean passes, which he intercepted 19 of over his last two seasons with the Lake Gibson (Fla.) Braves.
He didn't have the opportunity to pick off passes during Lake Gibson's Thursday night spring game against Apopka (Fla.), however — McClain wasn't targeted in coverage as the Blue Darters relied heavily on their rushing attack to beat the Braves by a score of 21-7.
That being said, McClain still put up a solid performance, tallying a couple of tackles and displaying good coverage technique in front of several college coaches — including Florida cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, as well as Alabama corners coach Travaris Robinson.
“Oh, most def. Had a lot of success with it," McClain explained to AllGators, sharing that he used tips Raymond offered him on spring visits for the game. "Started working on it probably like three weeks ago, [Raymond] hit me up with a couple of tips, DB tips, drills and stuff. I think I’ve gotten better.”
McClain has had a relationship with Raymond for some time, as the two connected in March 2021 when Raymond was on the LSU coaching staff and the Tigers sent McClain an offer.
But now, Raymond is recruiting McClain to the orange and blue as a member of the new Gators coaching staff led by head coach Billy Napier. And much like when Dan Mullen was in charge at UF, McClain remains atop the Gators' recruiting big board in the class of 2023.
“Coach Raymond, he's a cool dude. He's not like other coaches," McClain said about Raymond. "Other coaches [are] like grown men, coach Raymond is a cool dude to, like, play around and stuff like that. He's laid back, keeps it a buck .
"He's developed great [defensive backs] and I think his coaching for DBs is up there.”
The most coveted non-quarterback in the nation this cycle, McClain hasn't publicly updated his top schools since February since reshaping the list from five to eight programs.
That being said, even though McClain now intends to make his college commitment at the end of his senior season after originally planning on a summertime decision, a group of finalists appears to be forming with plans for official visits on his mind.
McClain intends to officially visit Florida in June, the date is to be determined but the weekend trip is expected to take place in the early part of the month. He'll follow up with an O.V. to Georgia from June 24-26 and has his eyes set on an Alabama Crimson Tide O.V. not long before or after.
Miami is also a factor in McClain's recruitment, although he doesn't have plans to officially visit the Hurricanes as of now. McClain is considering further unofficial visits to schools in the fall.
McClain credits Florida and Alabama's coaches, specifically, for remaining in steady contact with him as the process has lingered on.
"Coach T-Rob [Robinson], he’s like coach Raymond. He’s cool," McClain remarked. "Both of them [are] the same and develop great DBs.”
McClain, 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, is considered the No. 1 cornerback and No. 3 overall prospect in the class of 2023 by the On3Sports Consensus Rankings.
In addition to his near-two dozen intereptions from 2020-21, McClain tallied 58 tackles and 17 defended passes, also catching 54 passes for 915 yards and 11 touchdowns in that span while remaining a part of the Braves offense.
Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and AllGators.com on FanNation-Sports Illustrated on Facebook.