LAKE WORTH, Fla. — The final week before National Signing Day was a tough one for longtime Arkansas Razorbacks commit Jarques McClellion.
McClellion — a cornerback from American Heritage School in Delray Beach, Fla. — gave his verbal pledge to the Hogs on June 27, 2016, and remained strongly committed throughout his senior season. But a late scholarship offer from the Florida Gators complicated things.
“As a kid from Florida, your dream is always to play for a hometown school,” McClellion told SEC Country during a Tuesday interview in his home. “For me, that was Miami, Florida or Florida State. Having Florida offer me was a surprise. I was blessed.
“But I had to think about it.”
So, he thought about it. McClellion huddled with his parents just about every night over that final week. He tried to consider Florida in the same way he considered Arkansas before he committed, and other schools that extended scholarship offers before that.
“It was very difficult,” said Tamika McClellion, Jarques’ mother. “One night, you’d have Arkansas coaches at your house, and then the next night, the Florida coaches would find out that Arkansas was here and they’d come back over here. It was really crazy.”
On National Signing Day, McClellion sat at a table in the school gymnasium with Arkansas and Florida placards in front of him. He pulled a Razorbacks hat out from behind the Arkansas placard and put it on his head, reaffirming his commitment.
“We’ve always instilled in Jarques to be a man of his word, stick by your decision,” Tamika said. “Anybody can come and run late, but where were they a year ago?”
McClellion also held scholarship offers from Cal, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina and West Virginia, among others.
He will move to Fayetteville, Ark., on Friday of this week to begin summer workouts with the Razorbacks. He is part of a big group of 2017 defensive back signees; Arkansas inked six secondary players in February.
McClellion’s father, Central McClellion, played college football at Ohio State in the 1990s before playing professionally in Europe, Canada and with the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.