Mac Lain begins the transition to tackle

CLEMSON - Eric Mac Lain wanted to play tight end for Clemson. But, in the interest of stepping on the field, he realized a change needed to be made.

That, in part, prompted the switch from tight end to offensive tackle.

Mac Lain told reporters on Monday afternoon that he suggested the move after Gifford Timothy injured his knee during preseason camp. In a text message to Dabo Swinney, the former four-star tight end recruit expressed the desire to make a move inside.

"Going through these years and all the processes that we've been going through, with some injuries that we had, I was just watching some film and I just felt like this would be the best thing for the team and me, in the long-run," Mac Lain said.

Phillip Price, who walked onto to the Clemson football team as a tight end then graduated as a scholarship starting left tackle, serves as a nice example.

"Just seeing how he did it in the time that it took him, I think that's a very good figure that I can be going after," Mac Lain said.

Offensive coordinator Chad Morris thinks Mac Lain's athleticism can be better utilized along the offensive line.

"When you move him into the offensive line, his athleticism really stands out," Morris said. "When you stick him out on the edge and at receiver, you don't really see that."

Mac Lain, who currently checks in at 6-5, 270, began the transition last Monday.

Now, he meets with Danny Pearman's position group on Mondays and Thursdays. The rest of the week's position meetings are with offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell.

The move won't provide any short-term answers. Hopefully, for Clemson and Mac Lain, it will provide some long-term solutions.

"Until it's actually official-official, I'll be wearing 88. But they do have an extra jersey on the sidelines. I think it's 78. So, until we make that last process, I'll be doing both," Mac Lain said.

That final process, specifically, revolves around his size. And there is no specific timeline for an end to his weight gain.

"I guess, when I'm about 290 or 300 pounds, I can't add any more," Mac Lain said, cracking a smile.

A health-science major, he's familiar with the proper avenues that need to be taken when trying to gain weight.

"We know you don't want to be fat, right away," Mac Lain said.

Plus, as Morris noted, there's no need to rush.

"You don't just take a guy and put him in there…playing that position may very well take all year, take all year and all spring. You just don't know," he said.

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