Eight months ago, Jaylen McCollough was unrated by every major recruiting outlet save Scout.com, who gave the then-sophomore a 4-star evaluation. Today, McCollough is considered one of the top three safety prospects in the nation by most credible sources.
The Hillgrove High (Powder Springs, Ga.) junior’s character has played into his rise just as much as his on-field abilities. “I would love to be remembered as a great person and a great player who was respectful and gave his all,” McCollough told Armchair. “I want the class after me to look up and say, ‘I want to be like him.'”
With 16 offers from programs including Florida State, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and Georgia, McCollough may be living up to his own expectations. Over the summer he made trips to Tallahassee and Tuscaloosa, and he began his in-season visits last weekend at South Carolina.
“Coach [Charles] Kelly at FSU is like family to me so he is always fun to be around,” McCollough told Armchair. “Coach [Brent] Key and Coach [Derrick] Ansley at Bama are always fun to talk to.”
At the in-state school he has built a rapport with Bulldogs running backs coach Dell McGee. While he’s primarily projected as a college defensive back, McCollough spends ample time on the offensive side of the ball for Hillgrove – a week ago he rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns in a victory over West Forsyth.
“I get along with Coach McGee at UGA really well. He’s chill and laid back.” McCollough said of the in-state coach. “My favorite part about [recruiting] is just building new relationships with people.”
Though he did say the recruitment process can get time consuming, McCollough has plenty of motivation to succeed. “My parents are my biggest influence. They’ve done a lot for me, so I want to give back to them.”
For McCollough, earning a full-scholarship to one of the country’s premier institutions is just the beginning.