Aaron McLaughlin is only 14, but he already sounds the part of a seasoned quarterback.
McLaughlin, who is finishing up seventh grade, received an offer from Missouri on Thursday, the first of many expected Southeastern Conference offers before he reaches National Signing Day in February 2021. He first offer overall came from Georgia State this week.
— Aaron McLaughlin (@aaronm_qb) June 9, 2016
“With all the attention this brings, I’m just going to stay humble and remain the person I am on and off the field,” McLaughlin told USA TODAY High School Sports, sounding much more like a pro than a junior high schooler.
McLaughlin repeated seventh grade this year and reclassified from the Class of 2020.
He is already 6-4 1/2, 205 pounds and will play at North Gwinnett in Suwanee, Ga. He is not new to those who follow youth football around the nation. You can find highlights from his 12U games on YouTube. He has played for one of the top traveling teams in the state of Georgia and in events such as the Florida/Georgia Future Stars Game.
“For me being noticed at such a young age really means schools see the potential I have and they recognize how hard I work,” McLaughlin said.
He also has been working for quarterback tutor Steve Clarkson for several years. McLaughlin got national television exposure when he was part of the “60 Minutes piece” on Clarkson as a sixth grader.
McLaughlin traveled from Atlanta to Los Angeles monthly with his father for lessons with Clarkson at about $400 an hour.
“My son is now going into the sixth grade and he had always shown talent in his position as a quarterback, but I really wanted to understand how talented he was and get someone that had national exposure and the experience that Steve has with quarterbacks and see how Aaron evaluated,” Craig McLaughlin told “60 Minutes.”
Clarkson told USA TODAY High School Sports on Thursday that he saw McLaughlin about a week ago and works with him an average of two or three times a month.
Clarkson says McLaughlin is “a super, super freaky athlete.”
“With his overall size and structure, he’s physically he’s very imposing. He can make all the throws and he’s got the body of a 25-year-old. He’s easily going to put on another 20 to 25 pounds before he sets foot as a freshman in college. … He’s an extremely athletic, guy. If he was a basketball player, he could tomahawk slam dunk a ball. If he was a baseball pitcher, he could throw 90-plus. He’s an amazing athlete.
“I don’t think I’ve seen any quarterback come along this early and this imposing in 30-plus years of training quarterbacks.”
And he only figures to get better.
“We’re going to work on all aspects of his game and coordinating with the high school that he’s with as well,” Clarkson said. “We want to continue to develop and become more well-rounded. The demands for somebody this young will tend to be a lot. Because of his notoriety and being featured on ’60 Minutes,’ it’s a lot more controllable.
“He understands where he’s is, the task at hand and what still lies ahead. He’s very focused. But He’s still a kid and enjoys kid-like things and I want to encourage him to do those things as well.”
Among the other Clarkson students featured on the “60 Minutes” piece was current Bishop Gorman QB Tate Martell, who took to Twitter to congratulate him.