With a father that played football in college, the love of the gridiron is in the blood of Michael McClellan.
McClellan is 13-years-old, 5’10”, in seventh grade at Renfroe Middle School in Decatur, Ga., and plays quarterback for his middle school. This spring he is also participating in the Youth Passing League Elite 7x7 14U team.
“My dad (John) played football for the U.S. Naval Academy and he introduced me to the sport,” McClellan said. “My mom throws a better spiral than he does though, as he was a lineman and she reminds him of that often.”
While he also plays AAU basketball, football is his true calling. As he has gotten older, he has simply immersed himself in football. Whether it is studying film, working out, hanging with his teammates or talking about the game with his dad, the pigskin is always on his mind.
“I started off really slow,” he recalled. “I had always been an athlete, but it was in team sports like soccer and basketball. When I decided I wanted to be a quarterback I didn’t even know how to throw a spiral and had never been hit before. So, I spent the time and learned and as I’ve been given more opportunities, I have started progressing really fast.”
Through hard work and practice he has become a good quarterback and developed strong chemistry with his offense. He explained that having great arm strength is important, but it is imperative to put the ball in the right spot for his receivers.
“I love it when me and my receiver connect and make a great play,” he exclaimed.
His dedication to football has paid off recently. This past season he led his team to a 6-2 record, won MVP at the O-D camp in Atlanta for his age group and was invited to their All-Star Game in Daytona Beach and recently, threw four touchdowns and led all the quarterbacks at the Rocky Top 7x7 tournament.
To further improve his skills, he plans to attend several camps in the spring and summer. He will be at the FBU Camp in Atlanta April 27 and 28, Gunslinger QB Camp in Knoxville, Tenn., May 18-19, O-D Football Camp in Atlanta, June 30-July 3 and NFA QB Camp in Nashville, Tenn., July 10.
He is preparing for these camps by training with Chris Hixson, who he has been working with for more than two years on mechanics and how to read and adjust to defenses with his QBIQ system.
“Hixson is my best coach because he knows me and when he gives me feedback it is specific to me and exactly what I need to do to get better,” McClellan commented.
With his eyes on the future and hopes of playing in high school and beyond, he knows he must continue to improve. He wants to become more confident and learn how to make better reads.
His father feels football can take his son far.
“Football is more like the real world than any sport,” John said. “Some days he’s a hero, some days he’s the worst, but he’s got to be strong and confident and just keep working and it will all work out. The other sports it’s got a little of the everybody gets a trophy stuff and there’s no exposure to what is really needed to be successful, which is hard work.”
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