Lifelong FSU fan McClellion already feels at home at new school
His name had been in the transfer portal for just a few hours when Mike Norvell reached out.
After a few minutes of talking with the Florida State head coach, Arkansas defensive back Jarques McClellion wanted to clarify one thing before the conversation went any further.
"So Coach, does that mean I've got the offer?" McClellion asked.
"Yes, of course, you do,” Norvell responded.
In his head, McClellion was overflowing with excitement. His dream school had just offerend him a scholarship.
"Wow," he thought as he tried to process the turn his life was about to take.
"Can I call you back real quick?" McClellion asked his soon-to-be head coach.
He wasn't being rude. He wasn't trying to get Norvell off the phone as soon as possible. It's just there was someone else he needed to talk to immediately before he officially accepted Florida State's scholarship offer.
"I called my mom and she was like, 'What did he say?'" McClellion recalled. "And I said, 'I guess I'm going to be a Seminole.' And then the whole family ... I had all my siblings and my father jumping (around). And they were just happy I was coming back home to the state of Florida."
To play for the team he had always cheered for.
McClellion first stepped foot on Florida State's campus when he attended Jimbo Fisher's Football Camp as a fifth-grader. He came back the following year as well. And he remembered telling his mom at the time that FSU was where he wanted to go to school.
He didn't get that chance coming out of high school, though. Most colleges wanted him at wide receiver, he said, but he was adamant that he wanted to play cornerback.
Which is exactly what he did at Arkansas, starting for two years with the Razorbacks and compiling 59 tackles, 11 pass breakups and one interception.
"I'm aggressive. I love to play man," he said. "I can come up and tackle, make plays. It's how Coach (Marcus) Woodson described, we really need our DBs to make plays, plays, plays."
While at Arkansas, McClellion said he was quarantined twice because of contact tracing this past year — he says he never actually contracted COVID-19 — and those moments, away from his family, were when he realized he was going to opt out of the 2020 season and try to get closer to home.
That by itself would have made FSU a good fit for him.
But when you throw in the fact that he's been cheering for the Seminoles since he was old enough to talk, that made it even more special.
"Being a Seminole has been in my family, my bloodline," he said. "Since Day 1, since I was a baby, I wanted to play for Flroida State."
Even while playing for a different school, he said he was still keeping up with the Seminoles. And he remembers watching almost all of the games during the 2013 national championship season, including of course, the win over Auburn in the Rose Bowl.
"I still have the hat when they won and held up the crystal ball," he said.
The 6-foot, 190-pound corner is hoping he'll be able to help Florida State start heading back up that mountain again. He'll be competing for a starting spot in the Seminoles' secondary. It's what he's been working for since he was old enough to know what a football was.
"It still feels like a dream," McClellion said. "But at the same time, I still have to wake up, get up every day and make sure I work out 100 percent, 200 percent. Just how Deion Sanders did it. Just how Jalen Ramsey did it. One day I want to be on that same level as them, so it's a blessing. But at the same time, you still have to work. ...
"I'm going to make sure I play my heart out for the state and just try to make the fans, my coaches and my teammates proud."