Relationships are always an important part of recruiting, especially when a coach leaves one school to take a job at another. When Jay Graham arrived at FSU from Tennessee, the relationships he built with the prospects he recruited proved to be an important part of FSU's recruiting.
West Mecklenburg (Charlotte, N.C.) quarterback Jalan McClendon grew up a fan of the Seminoles, but it was his bond with Graham that convinced him to visit Tallahassee last Saturday.
"We have a great relationship, me and Coach Graham, so I knew when he was hired that FSU would take a closer look at me," McClendon said. "FSU is my dream school."
McClendon plays in a very run oriented offense. His team boasts two 1,000 yard rushers. But the FSU staff liked what they saw and asked the sharp throwing 6-foot-4, 192 pounder to drop by for a visit. During his visit, he got the surprise of his life.
"I went to talk with Coach Fisher and he said they were offering me today. I was pretty much speechless because that was my favorite school growing up as a kid," he said. "I was speechless, but happy at the same time. Coach Fisher was a really cool guy. I felt comfortable around him."
Fisher was specific about what he liked McClendon.
"He liked how I make plays and keep plays going, making my reads downfield. He liked my footwork a lot too, along with my arm strength," said McClendon.
McClendon didn't get to spend a lot of time to spend with the players, but he did spend time talking with his main recruiter, Jay Graham.
"He's a really cool guy. He's very clear about how much he wants me there at Florida State and what it's like. He's just a great coach to be around. Coach Graham is very easy to talk with," said McClendon.
The FSU visit was his first this year, but it won't be his last. McClendon plans to return later this year for the Jimbo Fisher summer camp so he can work even closer with the FSU staff.
Now that he has an offer from his childhood favorite team, did it help boost the 'Noles up on his list?
"Yes sir, FSU is at the top of my list. I like the offense because it's pretty wide open with what they do with their quarterbacks and the job FSU does with their quarterbacks," he said.
Athough McClendon has no problem tucking it down and running, he says that he's mostly a drop back passer. The 6-foot-4, 192 pound described what type of quarterback he is.
"I'm pretty much a pass first type quarterback. I like to get out of the pocket and then let the play develop and make the play," McClendon said. "I think my ability to read the field, along with my arm strength are two areas I'm good at. I can improve even more my footwork and going through my progressions more as a player."
Exactly how did McClendon become a Seminole fan, despite living in North Carolina?
"When I was little I played for a football team called the Seminoles and then I just started watching them play ever since I was little," he said. "It was the spear on the helmet, but also how they did things as well in having hard hitters and I just liked everything about them. "
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