By Kim West
Festooned in a bright plaid bow tie, Athens High School senior wide receiver Shaquille McLin flashed a big grin and explained a hidden motivation behind the Golden Eagles’ third-round appearance in the Class 5A playoffs last season.
“It was our senior year so we knew we had to have a good season, and also because of the girls soccer team winning the state championship (last spring),” he said. “We actually wanted to do even better than we did.”
He is among 20 seniors and the third Golden Eagle to earn a college football scholarship this spring, signing Tuesday morning in front of his friends and family to play for Faulkner University in Montgomery.
McLin, who attends Christ Way Church in Athens, said his faith was a deciding factor in making his college choice, as well as having the opportunity to play collegiately.
“It’s a Christian school and I’m a Christian so think it’s going to help make me a better person,” said McLin, who is considering a major in sports management.
Faulkner competes in the NAIA’s Southern States Athletic Conference and is coached by Brent Barker, with a roster that includes rising senior offensive lineman Alex Dunn, an Athens alum.
Athens football coach Allen Creasy said McLin played primarily on offense but also contributed on special teams and as a utility defensive back.
“He is a very versatile athlete who could have been our quarterback if we needed him to fill that role,” Creasy said. “He was a playmaker on offense and he was also big in our special-teams packages, both as a cover guy and a return guy.”
The 5-foot-10-inch, 170-pound receiver said his favorite play-call was a screen pass known as “Capshaw” and his personal highlight as a senior was coming up with a grab on a go route that led to a touchdown against Cullman.
Creasy said McLin is expected to play multiple positions and could make an immediate impact for Faulkner.
“His versatility is going to be a huge asset for him at the next level, allowing him to fit a lot of different needs the team may have,” he said.