When talking about high school football in the state of Virginia, one of the first high school programs probably mentioned in any conversation over the past decade has been Oscar Smith High School. Oscar Smith hasn’t had a lot of major recruits, but they’ve had a few really big ones including Josh Sweat, Phillip Sims, Andrew Brown, and J.C. Coleman.
The Hokies have gotten a few Oscar Smith players including Coleman who set just about every rushing record at Oscar Smith while he was there. However, those records were broken only a few years later by a running back with a similar style in Deshawn McClease.
Now, McClease has his eyes on once again besting Coleman and leaving a bigger legacy in Blacksburg than Coleman as he did at Oscar Smith.
After redshirting this past fall, Deshawn McClease has been a breakout start this spring in the backfield that is even pushing Travon McMillian. From what it sounds like, McMillian is still the number 1 running back but the rise of McClease is being used to keep McMillian humble with McClease getting his fair share of time working with the first team offense.
McClease is a lot like J.C. Coleman in that he is only slightly bigger than Coleman at 5’9” and 177 pounds as listed officially by Virginia Tech football. McClease is also known as more of a speed back who seems like someone who could benefit from Justin Fuente’s spread offense that should open up more space to take advantage of nimbler, speed backs.
McClease also has shown some signs of being able to make some plays in the passing game which already seems like it will be important for running backs to have some ability in the passing game. McClease has moved ahead of Shai McKenzie and the injured Marshawn Williams on the running back depth chart this season and will be another speed back that will be very dangerous this fall.
Of course, McClease is still a big unknown among the Hokies’ group of running backs with Travon McMillian, Shai McKenzie, and Marshawn Williams all having experience, but McClease seems ready to go and is taking advantage of an opportunity with Zohn Burden taking over as the RBs coach.
After redshirting this past fall, Deshawn McClease has made a big move up the depth chart this spring and is already poised to once again surpass the legacy of J.C. Coleman as he already did in high school.