Justin Maclin can't say he's 100 percent certain he'll end up playing his college football on the bayou. However, he seems sure he won't end up in Knoxville.
"I think I'm pretty much firmly committed, but you never know what's going to happen," said Maclin of his commitment to LSU in late June.
One would think Tennessee would be in the hunt if the 6-foot-4, 225-pound linebacker from Ridgeway High School in Memphis reconsidered his college destination. Not so.
"I really don't know," Maclin said when asked why the Vols didn't even make his final four. "I don't think it was for me."
That's quite a defeat for the Vols considering Maclin is the News Sentinel's second-best prospect in the state.
Maclin also considered (and might still be considering) Southern California, Alabama and Illinois. He took a trip to USC for a camp in late June. The visit seemed to help the Trojans' chances of swaying Maclin.
"Since I went to USC, they would probably be No. 2," said Maclin, who had 92 tackles and 19 sacks as a junior in 2008.
It's probably not time for LSU to panic. Maclin still speaks highly about the SEC West powerhouse.
The coaches are nice. I love the area - the Louisiana type of people and the atmosphere. It just seems like the perfect fit.
"Everywhere I've been, it's been the most comfortable," Maclin said. "The coaches are nice. I love the area - the Louisiana type of people and the atmosphere. It just seems like the perfect fit."
So perfect that Maclin couldn't keep his decision to himself as he had planned.
"It kind of just hit me and happened," Maclin said of his announcement.
It's easy to envision Maclin playing for former UT defensive coordinator John Chavis, who is at LSU.
Maclin has the versatility and speed to play all three of Chavis' linebacker positions. He also can slide to defensive end occasionally in pass-rush situations - a maneuver that Chavis has used with athletic linebackers, most recently with Jerod Mayo.
"They said they were going to try me at a few positions," Maclin said. "At LSU, they let you play all three linebacker positions so I'll probably play all three of those."
Maclin plays outside linebacker and defensive end in high school. He said he's more comfortable playing end.
"It's pretty simple," Maclin said.
Maclin also has a former teammate, kicker Josh Jasper, playing at LSU. The familiarity certainly influenced his decision.
"It makes it easier to choose (LSU)," Maclin said.
If Maclin does sign with LSU, UT will have to be prepared to guard West Tennessee or risk the Tigers building a pipeline into fertile, in-state recruiting ground.
Maclin's just enjoying the ride.
"It's kind of ending," Maclin said, "but it's been a lot of fun going through the process."