Throughout the 2014 high school football season, I’ll have a “Week In Review” feature up each week, catching you up on how each of Virginia Tech’s 2015 class commitments are performing on the gridiron. The plan for most of these reports is to have a “Player Spotlight” in which I catch up with one of the commitments for a quick “Q&A” discussing a variety of topics. This week’s spotlight is on Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, VA) tailback Deshawn McClease, who turned in an excellent individual effort in the Tigers’ 57-21 loss to Booker T. Washington (Miami, FL) on August 23. The 5’9”, 175-pound senior rushed for 141 yards and a score and added 41 yards receiving and another score in this nationally televised contest, showing why Virginia Tech offered him a scholarship in the spring of his sophomore year.
McClease and the rest of the Tigers (0-1) were idle this past week and actually won’t take the field again until next Saturday, September 13, against Indian River.
TSL: Reflect on your individual performance against Booker T. Washington. How were you able to be so successful?
Deshawn McClease: “My line did a good job. They gave me creases and places to run. I’ll have to give them all the credit. Once I got through the line, I knew [Booker T. Washington] was a fast team and they would over pursue, so I tried to cut back a lot against them.”
TSL: Your 16-yard touchdown reception to open the scoring. Can you take us through that play?
Deshawn McClease: “Once they saw that we could run on them, they started blitzing a lot. We just ran a simple high screen and I slipped out. I think our tackle took care of the linebacker. The safety came up and I just cut up. I think there was a cornerback at the goal line. He tried to go at my legs but I went over him and scored.”
TSL: What did you take away from the season opener?
Deshawn McClease: “You just have to make the best of your opportunities. You can’t take any plays off. And you have to make tackles in the open field.”
TSL: You have to get past one defender. Do you run through him or juke him?
Deshawn McClease: “It depends on what kind of player is in front of me. If we need a definite yardage, like two or three yards for a first down, then there is no doubt I’m going to low my shoulders. If I’m going for the homerun, then I’ve gotta juke.”
TSL: Who is your favorite running back and why?
Deshawn McClease: “My favorite NFL player by far is Jamaal Charles. I like the way he runs. I feel we have some things in common. He’s not too big. He was kind of underrated. His whole game is smooth. I actually watch film of Jamaal Charles the night before every game. I’ll watch film of Jamaal Charles, DeAnthony Thomas and Tavon Austin before every game. I look at the different things they do. I’m more in the slot this year then I have ever been. That’s why I’ll watch Austin. I try and find different things I can do.”
TSL: Are you superstitious? Do you have any lucky gear you sport in every game?
Deshawn McClease: “I don’t do anything like that, but I do wear the same outfit the day of every game. I’ll wear sweatpants and my compressions throughout the day. I do that for every game.”
TSL: Have to ask. What are the chances Virginia Tech lands your teammate, Josh Sweat?
Deshawn McClease: “I don’t really know. Like I tell everybody, it is his decision. We have talked about it a little bit, but it is his decision. I do hope he comes to Blacksburg with me, though.”
McClease says he “definitely” plans on being in Blacksburg to see Virginia Tech take on Georgia Tech and again when Miami comes to Lane Stadium. Now, here is how the rest of Virginia Tech’s commitments performed on the gridiron last week…
– Adonis Alexander, S, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.)
The Patriots improved to 2-0 after defeating North Mecklenburg last week by a score of 28-0. In its season opener, Independence took care of South Mecklenburg by a score of 49-0. Alexander, a 6’3”, 200-pound safety prospect, picked up a fumble and ran 60 yards for a touchdown against South Meck.
Next: Away versus Olympic on Friday, September 5
– Jahque Alleyne, DB/WR, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA)
Ocean Lakes routed Tallwood, 69-0, in its season opener. Alleyne, recruited by Tech as a defensive back, reportedly had three touchdown receptions including a 67-yarder in victory.
Next: Home versus Kellam on Friday, September 12.
– Chris Cunningham, TE/DE, Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville, FL)
Atlantic Coast defeated Jackson, 49-6, in its season opener. Cunningham had a touchdown reception in the win. Click here to see the highlight, which occurs at about the 2:14 mark in the video.
Per MaxPreps, Cunningham finished the game with two catches for 28 yards and a score.
Next: Home versus Englewood on Friday, September 5
– Damien Dozier, DE/OLB, Knightdale (Raleigh, N.C.)
Knightdale lost to Millbrook last week by a score of 30-7. The Knights defeated Sanderson, 13-7, in the season opener the week before.
Next: Away versus Heritage on Friday, September 5
– Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Dan River (Ringgold, VA)
The 6’4”, 225-pound Edmunds had a 15-yard touchdown run and also helped the Wildcats defense record a shutout in a 22-0 win over Bartlett Yancey last week. Dan River is 1-0.
Next: Home against Magna Vista on Friday, September 5
– Trevon Hill, DE, Salem (Virginia Beach, VA)
Defensive end Trevon Hill forced a fumble, recovered it, and then rumbled 31 yards for a touchdown to give his team an 18-7 second quarter lead. The Sun Devils (1-0) would hold on for a 24-14 win over Kellam.
Next: Home versus Green Run on Friday, September 5
– DuWayne Johnson, CB, H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)
Johnson and his Warrior teammates fell to Martinsburg (W.V.), 24-7. The game was tied at the half before Martinsburg rattled off 17 straight second half points. This was Woodson’s season opener.
Next: Home versus Roosevelt on Saturday, September 6
– Harry Lewis, DT, Phoebus (Hampton, VA)
The Phoebus defense pitched a shutout in a 40-0 win over Gloucester in last week’s season opener.
Next: Away versus Lake Taylor on Friday, September 5
– Carson Lydon, LB, East Lake (Tarpon Springs, FL)
East Lake handled Palm Harbor University, 40-10, in its season opener. Lydon, a linebacker recruit, showed off his offensive prowess with a 36-yard touchdown run.
Next: Away versus Dunedin on Friday, September 12
– Mook Reynolds, CB, Northern Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.)
Northern Guilford cruised to a 35-7 win over Page in its season opener this past week. Reynolds is playing wide receiver and cornerback for the Nighthawks. Class of 2016 tailback CJ Freeman, who has expressed high interest in the Hokies, who have offered a scholarship, had three scores (2 rush, 1 receiving) in the win.
Next: Away versus Northwest Guilford on Friday, September 5
– Eric Whitehead, DT, Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, IN)
Lawrence Central has lost its first two games of the 2014 season, falling to Avon (IN) 38-31 in the season opener before dropping a 28-21 decision to St. Ignatius (Cleveland, OH) this past week.
Next: Home versus Lawrence North on Friday, September 5