University of Mississippi Rebels
Largo High School
It is hard to categorize McCluster at just one particular position, the same problem Southeastern Conference coaches had the last two years while affording him All-SEC honors as both a running back and wide receiver. Even NFL scouts have had a hard time projecting him at one position. Some feel he can be a change of pace type of tailback in the Darren Sproles (Chargers) mold. Others see him developing into a slot receiver who could be utilized the way Shaun McDonald performed for the St. Louis Rams earlier in his career.
No matter where he is placed on the field, one thing that McCluster proved during his college career was – defenses have to account for him at all times. He simply dazzled talent evaluators with his performances during the week of practices leading up to the Senior Bowl. That effort he showed at both positions are sure to keep the debate on where he best fits into an organization.
The all-around threat seems to have no preference for where he plays, performing with the attitude that brings back memories of a verse from John Fogerty’s song, “Centerfield.” Put me in coach, I’m ready to play. And that is exactly what he did throughout his career at Ole Miss. The university’s second-ranked all-purpose yardage performer with 4,089 yards, only Deuce McAllister’s 4,889 yards (1997-2000) stood in his way of capturing that school record.
McCluster has been an invaluable performer for the school’s revived program. He joined Hall of Famer, Southern Methodist’s Doak Walker (1948-49) as the only players to earn consecutive Most Valuable Player honors for their performances in the prestigious Cotton Bowl Classic.
He closed out his career as the school’s eighth-leading receiver (130 catches), their seventh-best running back (1,955 yards) while also ranking 12th in receiving yardage (1,703) and tied for ninth in rushing touchdowns (15) in Ole Miss annals.
McCluster earned first-team All-State Class 5A honors from the Florida Sports Writers Association after helping lead Largo High School to the 2005 district title. He was named All-Suncoast Player of the Year by the St. Petersburg Times and selected Most Valuable Player of Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South Football All-Star Classic. The all-purpose performer was also named Most Valuable Player and Best Back in the district. He was rated the No. 21 player in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel and also rated No. 54 at running back in the nation by Rivals.com. He rushed for 2,490 yards and 39 touchdowns, averaging 191.5 yards per game as a senior.
As a junior, McCluster amassed 1,424 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. He was the recipient of the team’s Iron Man Award for never missing a workout, despite tipping the scales at 150 pounds during his prep days. In addition to football, he also lettered in basketball and track. An Honor Roll student, he was a state qualifier in the long jump and high jump.
When McCluster first enrolled at Ole Miss, the coaches planned to red-shirt him, but his performance in fall camp forced the staff to change their minds. He would start five of the first six games of the 2006 season. He finished his freshman campaign with 232 yards and a touchdown on fifteen catches (15.47 ypc), adding 68 yards and a score on eight carries (8.5 ypc) and 274 yards on thirteen kickoff returns (21.08 avg).
In the 2007 season, he appeared in eight games, starting three at flanker, ranking fourth on the squad with 27 grabs for 326 yards (12.07 ypc) and two scores. He collected 63 yards on six rushing attempts and became more involved on special teams. He totaled two solo tackles while returning six kickoffs for 100 yards and six punts for 29 yards.
With the arrival of head coach Houston Nutt, the new staff decided to unleash McCluster in 2008. He would earn secondteam All-Southeastern Conference honors as an all-purpose back. He started eight times in thirteen games, lining up as a slot receiver, split end, tail-back and flanker, earning starting assignments at each position.
The SEC’s seventh-leading all-purpose yardage performer, he collected a total of 1,280 yards that campaign. McCluster finished second on the team with 44 receptions for 625 yards (14.2 ypc) and a score. He carried a team-high 105 times for 655 yards (6.01 ypc) and six touchdowns.
As a senior, McCluster was the Running Back Trophy recipient at the College Football Performance Awards. The Associated Press All-American third-team and All-SEC second-team choice ranked 38th in the nation in rushing (89.92 ypg), as his 1,169 yards on the ground (181 attempts) led the team and rank second on the school season-record list. McCluster ran for eight touchdowns in 2009. He again finished second on the squad with 44 catches, good for 520 yards (11.82 ypc) and three touchdowns. He totaled 1,717 all-purpose yards, the second-best season total in Ole Miss annals.
McCluster started 28-of-40 games at Ole Miss (17 at flanker, 6 at halfback, 4 at slot back, 1 at split end)…Caught 130 passes for 1,703 yards (13.1 ypc) and seven touchdowns…Ran for 1,955 yards and fifteen scores on 304 carries (6.43 ypc)…Attempted 1-of-6 passes for a 27-yard touchdown and two interceptions…Returned eight punts for 57 yards (7.13 avg), 19 kickoffs for 374 yards (19.68 avg) and recorded eight solo tackles…Scored 132 points and produced 4,089 allpurpose yards…His 130 receptions rank eighth in school history while his 44 catches in both 2008 and 2009 placed 14th on the school season-record list… Finished 12th on the Ole Miss all-time record list with 1,703 yards receiving…Placed seventh in school annals with 1,955 yards rushing…His 1,169 yards on the ground in 2009 rank second on the school season-record list behind Kayo Dottley (1,355 yards in 1949)…Set the school game-record with 282 yards rushing vs. Tennessee in 2009, topping the old mark of 251 yards by Dou Innocent vs. Mississippi State in 1995…Added 186 yards vs. Auburn in 2009, the 12th-best game performance by a Rebel…Combined for 468 yards in those two 2009 contests, the most yardage gained by an Ole Miss player on the ground in consecutive games…Along with his 123 yards gained vs. Arkansas and 148 yards vs. Louisiana State, that four-straight game total of 739 yards are the most any Rebel has ever compiled in consecutive appearances…The second player in Cotton Bowl Classic history to earn back-to-back MVP honors, his 86-yard rushing attempt in the 2009 clash was the fourth-longest run by a Rebel ever and second-longest in postseason action, topped by Ray Brown’s 92-yarder vs. Texas in the Sugar Bowl (1/01/58)…Tied Marvin Courtney (1990-93) for ninth on the Ole Miss career-record list with fifteen rushing touchdowns…Ranks second in school annals with 4,089 all-purpose yards, topped by Deuce McAllister (4,889 yards, 1997-2000)…His 1,717 all-purpose yards in 2009 rank behind Mike Wallace (1,737 in 2008) on the school season-record chart…His 1,280 all-purpose yards in rank ninth on that annual record list…Became just the second player in school history to amass over 300 all-purpose yards in a game, as his 324 yards vs. Tennessee in 2009 broke the previous school record of 317 yards by Deuce McAllister vs. Arkansas in 1999…In 2009, McCluster became the first player in Southeastern Conference history to gain over 500 yards receiving (520) and over 1,000 yards rushing (1,169) in the same season.
Third-team All-American choice as an all-purpose player by The NFL Draft Report and Associated Press, adding thirdteam national honors from Phil Steele as a receiver…Received the National Running Back Trophy from the College Football Performance Awards...Named All-Southeastern Conference first-team as an all-purpose player (The NFL Draft Report and AP), second-team as a running back (AP, SEC Coaches, Rivals) and second-team as a wide receiver (Phil Steele)...Two-time SEC Player of the Week and one-time National Player of the Week (Tennessee)...Played in all thirteen games and started twelve, including seven at flanker and five at running back...Ranked 38th in the nation in rushing (89.92 ypg) and 46th in all-purpose rushing (132.08 ypg)…Led the team and ranked fifth in the SEC with 181 carries for 1,169 yards (6.46 ypc) and eight touchdowns, as his yardage total rank second on the school season-record list…Finished second on the team with 44 receptions for 520 yards (11.82 ypc) and two scores…Also completed a 27- yard touchdown pass…Recorded two solo tackles, scored 66 points and returned two punts for 28 yards…Ranks second on the school season-record chart with 1,717 all-purpose yards, averaging 7.56 yards each time he touched the ball…Ran for over 100 yards in five of his final six games, including a streak of four consecutive regular season contests that saw him amass 739 yards…Registered six plays that gained at least 50 yards, including three carries for 70 yards or longer, a school season-record.
Associated Press All-SEC second-team choice as an all-purpose back, adding third-team honors as a receiver from Phil Steele…Received the Jeff Hamm Memorial Award for the Most Improved Offensive Player…Played in thirteen games, starting at slot receiver vs. Samford, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Arkansas, at split end vs. South Carolina, at half-back vs. Louisiana State and at flanker vs. Memphis and Texas Tech…Finished second on the team and tied for eighth in the conference with 44 receptions for 625 yards (14.2 ypc) and a touchdown…Led the Rebels with 655 yards and six touchdowns on 109 carries (6.01 ypc), placing tenth in the SEC with an average of 50.38 yards per game on the ground…Also attempted five passes, throwing two interceptions – one each vs. Wake Forest and Alabama, as he made the tackle after his pass was picked off vs. the Tide…Scored 42 points and amassed 1,280 all-purpose yards, the eighthbest season total in school history…Was one of just two SEC players (Florida’s Percy Harvin) to rank in the Top 10 in the conference in rushing yards, receiving yards, receptions and all-purpose yards.
Saw action in the team’s final eight games and started the last three at flanker …Finished fourth on the team with 27 catches for 326 yards (12.07 ypc) and two touchdowns…Also rushed six times for 63 yards (10.5 ypc)…Recorded solo tackles in each of the Georgia, Northwestern State (La.) and Louisiana State clashes…Returned six kickoffs for 100 yards (16.67 avg) and six punts for 29 yards (4.83 avg), finishing with 518 all-purpose yards, an average of 64.75 yards per game.
Appeared in six games, starting the first five at flanker, before missing the remainder of the season due to a lingering shoulder injury that would also sideline him for the first four games of the 2007 campaign…An all-around threat, McCluster compiled the third-most all-purpose yards on the team despite missing the last half of the season...His 574 allpurpose yards included 274 kick return yards on 13 returns (21.08 avg), 232 receiving yards on 15 catches (15.47 ypc) that included a touchdown and 68 rushing yards on eight carries (8.5 ypc) with a score...Led the team with an average of 95.67 all-purpose yards per game.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.46 in the 40-yard dash…1.52 10-yard dash…2.56 20-yard dash…4.26 20-yard shuttle… 6.87 three-cone drill…35-inch vertical jump…9’10” broad jump…275-pound bench press… 415-pound squat…28 ¾-inch arm length…8 ½-inch hands.
Attended Largo (Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Rick Rodriguez… Earned first-team All-State Class 5A honors from the Florida Sports Writers Association after helping lead Largo to the 2005 district title…Named All-Suncoast Player of the Year by the St. Petersburg Times and selected Most Valuable Player of Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South Football All-Star Classic…The all-purpose performer was also named Most Valuable Player and Best Back in the district…Rated the No. 21 player in Florida by the Orlando Sentinel and also rated No. 54 at running back in the nation by Rivals.com…Rushed for 2,490 yards and 39 touchdowns, averaging 191.5 yards per game as a senior…As a junior, McCluster amassed 1,424 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground…Recipient of the team’s Iron Man Award for never missing a workout, despite tipping the scales at 150 pounds during his prep days…In addition to football, he also lettered in basketball and track…An Honor Roll student (2.8 gpa), he was a state qualifier in the long jump and high jump.
Journalism major…Son of Wendy Hall...Born Dexter Marquise McCluster on 8/25/88... Resides in Largo, Florida.