New tight ends coach John Decoster has a good amount of talent at the position, but with Foster Moreau graduating and a new offense being pushed by Joe Brady that plans to implement the tight end more, the question becomes: Who is going to start? Jamal Pettigrew and Thaddeus Moss missed last year with injuries, Stephen Sullivan is listed at the position on the roster but is more of a matchup problem, and fellow newcomer Ray Parker was once thought as projecting to offensive tackle. Meaning there is opportunity to stake your claim to a starting spot, and an early enrollee is a prime candidate for that vacancy.
There really isn’t too much to this timeline. McClendon, who came out of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, attended one of the summer camps before the 2018 season, impressing the staff enough to earn an offer and committed on the spot.
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has “can’t miss” talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Rating: ***
247 Composite Ranking: .8656
McClendon finished his final season as the third-ranked tight end in the junior college rankings for 2019.
McClendon was rarely used as a receiving threat at his previous stop, the thing that caught the coaches’ eye during his camp performance, even playing h-back for Copiah-Lincoln last year. His film does show he is a formidable blocker, something the previous staff would’ve enjoyed a lot more than the current edition. You don’t see a lot of him pass catching in the video.
It will come down to what he has done since arriving at Baton Rouge and how he progresses during the summer practices, as the staff is looking for something at the position he doesn’t quite fit. There is a chance he has improved at pass catching with more reps, but it will take something to pass up likely starters Moss and Pettigrew.
High End: He proves himself in practices, while Moss and Pettigrew still have trouble getting back in the groove, earning himself a starting spot as a player who can do everything at the position.
Low End: The lack of pass-catching at his previous stops puts him too far behind the eight ball and he winds up with the garbage time snaps.
Realistic: I peg him as a serviceable backup at the position. There was too much hype for Moss and Pettigrew for them not to re-find it after their injuries. McClendon can provide a good backup who may not see a lot of reception opportunities, but can come in as a goal line blocker.