They say history tends to repeat itself.
Nearly three years ago, 247Sports’ Chris Hammer wrote the story of how five-star runner Zach Evans’ crazy run finally came to an end.
Steve Wiltfong, director of recruiting for 247Sports, called a circus set in which Evans never publicly agreed to the school “all the time” after the hyped ballman walked out of LOI with Georgia to eventually only sign up for TCU, the school , with whom he has never been so strongly associated in the past (Evans moved to Ole Miss two years later and is now up for the 2023 NFL Draft).
And while Evans may have set the precedent for what to expect from high-profile 17- and 18-year-olds who are tasked with making life-changing decisions, the five-star cornerback Kormani McClain did his best to get ahead of the future pro on Thursday.
After McClain didn’t sign with Miami, a school he’s been attending since late October, McClain told 247Sports Thursday night he’s on his way to Colorado to play for Deion Sanders.
Shock? Maybe for some random people, but not for those who have closely followed the standout player in Lakeland, Florida and his whereabouts over the past months. As soon as it was revealed at the 247Sports Signing Day Show that McClain hadn’t made contact with the Hurricanes on the first day of the early signing period, rumors quickly swirled about what could happen next.
Some people (including this writer) suggested that Nick Saban was up to his old antics, but it didn’t take long for us to get to the bottom of what was really going on as Wiltfong was quick to report that he was number one nationally. The quarterback was talking to Coach Prime.
Will it be Travis Hunter 2.0? That’s what everyone assumed. After all, Sanders teased that he would be doing an encore after he stole the headlines on Signing Day 2021, when he performed a Shock of All Shockers and flipped Hunter — the No. 1 rookie in the class of 2022 — from Florida State to Jackson State. buzzer.
But as the 72-hour early signing period drew to a close, McClain had not yet been declared a signatory by Colorado (or Miami). This has led to a lot of speculation about what’s next for the holidays and the New Year.
Below, we’ll take you through everything we know and have reported during McClane’s recruitment. From the moment we first discovered him to his announcement on Thursday night. Buckle up because it’s full of twists and turns.
McClain arriving at the scene (February 11, 2021)
It was a week or so after Signing Day and I was in Orlando visiting family but decided to switch to a local 7v7 one day tournament. I can’t even remember who I was there to interview or see. but the coach took me aside and said that I needed to meet the child.
That guy was Kormani. I didn’t know anything about Kormani, but after one 20-minute game, I could tell that he had a chance to be special due to his length and ball technique. After chatting with Kormani for about five minutes, I learned that he finished his second season with a school-record nine interceptions. Impressive, but I was even more intrigued when I learned that he played defense for less than a year, and this was forced after a string of injuries to teammates.
“He’s going to be five-star,” then-Lake Gibson head coach Robert Paxia said.
Paxia was not mistaken.
After taking a head shot and exchanging numbers, I asked Kormani about his hiring, as he had already reported over a dozen oral scholarship offers.
“I love Florida,” said a shy McClain.
McClain Names His First Top 5 (August 5, 2021)
More and more tenders pour in for McClain during the spring evaluation period, and he ends up touring Florida, Florida State, UCF and BYU (to get to them later) during the summer months.
Ahead of his junior season, he releases his first group of leaders: Florida, Florida State, Miami, Alabama, and Ohio State.
“These five, these coaches, just really stand out from day one,” McClain said. “These are the schools I like.”
McClain stock continues to rise (August 28, 2021)
McClain is now firmly in the Top247 following the class of 2023 audit. I drove 3.5 hours down I-95 for his Lake Mary season opener to get our first real live score. McClain didn’t disappoint, passing in a shocking 15-14 loss to Lake Gibson.
Blue chip players must play. So it was nice to see McClane doing something under the lights. But he quickly informs me that he also had three interceptions the week before. At this point, I start to wonder why do quarterbacks even look in his direction?
When it comes to hiring, McClain says he has no scheduled visits and is still in the top five.
“What I really like about Bam is how they put people in the league,” McClain said. Florida, I just have good communication with them and it’s a great coaching staff. I really look up to Jeff Okuda. FSU, I want to experience this again. It’s the same with Miami.”
Wait, BYU? (September 7, 2021)
After playing games in Florida and Miami, McClain sneaks out to Provo to watch BYU play. Back home, he updates his leaderboard and places the Cougars, who were 10-3 midway through the season, in his top five.
Marvelous? Yes, to put it mildly.
McClain claims he has no leaders now (January 3, 2022)
McClain ends his junior season breaking the school single-season record he set as a sophomore with 10 steals. At the moment, the 247Sports Crystal Ball is split between two schools (Florida and the former Soviet Union) and has five stars next to his name.
When he was asked about plans for his upcoming visit after training for the Under Armor All-America Game, which he attended as a guest, he replied that he had slowed down when applying for a job.
“I really opened up a bit,” McClain admitted. “I no longer have a top five. I think last year I was pretty young and just doing whatever. Now I’m more focused on my career… In January I want to visit a lot of schools – Michigan, Ohio, Ohio State, Florida, Miami and Bama.
He adds that he is seriously considering BYU.
“It’s a different vibe,” McClain said of the Provo scene. “Great people. I was very loved there. And I really like the coaching staff.”
McClain shares frustration over coach change (February 12, 2022)
After visiting a revitalized Miami and meeting with Mario Cristobal on the weekend of January 22, McClain visited fresh-out college football league playoff Georgia the following weekend, right before the NCAA calendar went into a month-long dead period. . The noise at UGA starts to grow for McClain, but it quickly dies down after Cristobal appoints Bulldog assistant Jamil Addae as his next defensive coach.
McClain takes to social media to share his disappointment.
“It’s hard to make a decision when [a] different coaching staff every other day and you have to reconnect with another person for the school you want to attend,” McClain wrote on Twitter.
Alabama smoke begins to rise to the surface (March 9, 2022)
February in the rearview mirror and recruits now allowed back on the road, McClain attends Juniors Day in Alabama. This leads to Crimson Tide’s selection to the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
“Oh, it was great,” McClain told 247Sports correspondent Chris Trevino of his time in Tuscaloosa when he was in Los Angeles for the 7v7 tournament. “It was a great visit. I met a couple of new trainers [Nick Saban] and things. I really like it there”.
He adds that a key figure in his camp is feeling the Crimson Tide.
“My mom really likes it,” he said. “She thinks Bama is perfect for me.”
Turning the Tide for Billy Napier and the Gators (April 14, 2022)
Saban can push all the right buttons with his mom, but Polk County (which is where McClain lives) has traditionally been considered a Florida stronghold, and the Gators have a unique connection to McClain since Lake Gibson head coach Keith Barfield (who replaced Paxia) used to work for Billy. Napier as an analyst in Louisiana.
Barfield told 247Sports in a sit-down interview that he’s not trying to send his athletes anywhere, but after McClain visits Gainesville in March and returns for a UF spring game a month later, the 247Sports Crystal Ball starts to read orange and blue.
McClain translates high schools; makes several official visits (June 11, 2022)
McClain isn’t visiting in May, but reports say he…