When I first spoke with Jonathan McLaughlin , he was gearing up for a Virginia Tech camp the summer before his senior year at Mauldin High School (S.C.). McLaughlin’s road to Virginia Tech was not a conventional one, but he is finally in Blacksburg, having enrolled on Monday.
The 6’4″, 288-pound offensive tackle prospect received the good news regarding admission to Virginia Tech last Tuesday.
“Me, Coach Beamer, and Coach Shuman were pushing the NCAA to hurry up. I was calling every day. Coach Shuman and Coach Beamer and staff, they were all a big help in getting it done,” McLaughlin said in an interview with TSL late last week. “Coach Shuman called me and told me to call Coach Beamer, and that’s when I found out. It was a big chip off my shoulder. I’ve been waiting for a long time to get to the next level.
“It’s finally here. I had to take a detour. I can’t wait to start. I’m going to get in there and catch up. I’m ready to work.”
McLaughlin did not land an offer from Virginia Tech until the fall of 2012. At that point, he was in the midst of a postgraduate year at Fork Union Military Academy (VA), where he enrolled after falling short of gaining admission to East Carolina University. McLaughlin signed with the Pirates in February of 2012.
While the promising prospect did well academically at FUMA, there was a chance he would have to return there to finish out an entire postgraduate year. He would have been fine with returning to the prep school but was clearly pleased with gaining January admission.
“I’m very excited. My family is very excited, and they are the most important to me,” said McLaughlin, whose family includes former Tech standouts Cam and Orion Martin, who are cousins.
McLaughlin’s goals for the spring semester are modest.
“I’m hoping to catch up on the workouts, meetings, see how the classes are. I just want to catch up and get my work done,” McLaughlin said. “I think Fork Union will help me with getting my work done. That shouldn’t be a problem. The time management I learned at Fork Union should really help me.”
While not ideal, the time at Fork Union was beneficial for the Mauldin native.
“It definitely was an adjustment. Getting up at six in the morning and going to classes, having to march after practice, things like that. Once I got used to it, it...
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