Athlete Profile: Jeremy Maclin

Fight or flight? Offense or defense? Burger or burrito? The duality of man is something I certainly haven’t the space to discuss here. But there is an interesting example of it in the person of Jeremy Maclin. Here we have a man enveloped in occupying two roles, and not just athletically, one who has throughout his life been straddling the border between two worlds, begging the question, “Why not both?”

Let’s start at the beginning: Maclin was born and raised in Chesterfield, Missouri and grew up in Kirkwood, which are both St. Louis suburbs. Maclin was raised by a single mom who had to work tireless hours to maintain a decent life for him and his two brothers. Fortunately, she eventually got some help from the coach of his youth league football team, Dr. Jeff Parres, who had a son the same age as Maclin.

Years of sleepovers and rides home eventually led to Maclin moving in with the Parreses during high school. They even bought him a car so he could drive to school. Maclin is still on good terms with his mother, but considers himself to have two families.

During high school Maclin was a two-sport athlete, garnering praise as a football and basketball player at Kirkwood High School. He couldn’t be held down to one position as a football player either, playing, and excelling, as a safety, punt returner, receiver, and running back.

By the end of his high school career, Maclin racked up quite a list of honors: 1st team all-state as a wideout, all-conference as a safety, was listed as the country’s 24th best wide receiver prospect by, and 3rd best prospect overall in the state of Missouri.

Naturally, Maclin ended up dealing with his fair share of recruiters, eventually confirming his intent to attend the University of Oklahoma. He wound up going to Missouri, however. According to Maclin, his reason for switching to Missouri was based on the “family-atmosphere” of the school and athletic program.

Now begins Maclin meteoric rise to fame, free of difficulties and setbacks. After all the work and dedication it must have taken for him to evolve as a threat from anywhere on the field, nothing bad could happen, right? If you answered positively to that I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Arriving to a training session early for his upcoming season as a true freshman, Maclin tore his ACL, which is one of the more damaging injuries a player could sustain.

It must have looked as if Maclin had hit the spiral of decline before ever playing in a college game; he certainly was off the active list for the duration of his first season. Even if he started playing again he’d probably end up like Danny Manning, a shell of his former potential.

Jeremy Maclin wasn’t having it. He spent the off-season training to be stronger and faster than ever. His freshman year redux in 2007 was historic.

Maclin proved himself a dangerous weapon at multiple positions even at the collegiate level, returning punts and kickoffs, running the ball, and receiving. I haven’t the space to list everything he did here, but the highlights are as follows: He was the only player that season to score a touchdown from four different positions, broke numerous records for total all-purpose yards, becoming the leader all-time among freshman in Division 1A and 5th all time among everybody with 2,776, named a consensus 1st team All-American, and even scored as a passer during a two-point conversion.

There were some heavy expectations laid (being named to the Playboy Pre-season All-American team being one of them) on Maclin after that, and by all accounts in 2008 he surpassed them. Maclin finished his second college season ranked 6th in total receptions with 102 for 1,260 yards as well as becoming only the second player in NCAA history to gain more than 2,000 career yards for receiving and kick-returning.

When Maclin officially declared himself a part of the NFL Draft, he was expected to be picked somewhere in perhaps the high teens. His performance at the recent combine, as well as fairly poor showings by other receivers (read Michael Crabtree), has significantly raised his value and place in line. His breakaway speed is stunning and he’s got great hands. In fact the only real doubt as to his ability is in his ability to adapt to an NFL system of route-running.

A lot of teams could use the receiving and utility-player prowess Maclin brings to the table. Of particular note are the Cincinnati Bengals who gave up receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to Seattle recently. A selection by them would boost Maclin into the top ten, as Cincinnati has the 6th pick overall.

Will Maclin be returning kicks next season? That remains to be seen, though it’s unlikely he’d pull double duty very often. However, if his past work is any indication, living on both sides of the coin isn’t something he’d back away from.

Latest on Maclin

Maclin has visited several pro teams already, including the Cincinnati Bengals. His stay with them, barring some disaster, would seem a fairly likely sign that he’s going to be wearing orange and black next season. Of course, it’s still entirely possible that a team in the top 5 might not pick him. Stranger things have happened.


Player Bio: Jeremy Maclin – Missouri Official Athletic Site
An exhaustive listing of Maclin’s statistics and awards.

News and Commentary

Jeremy Maclin Zone
Official fan site devoted to all things Maclin.

ESPN: Chat with Jeremy Maclin – SportsNation
Recent interview with Maclin fielding questions from internet posters.

Jeremy Maclin 2009 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile
Listing of Maclin’s combine statistics and recent Maclin news.

Maclin Says
On his strengths and weaknesses:
“My biggest strength is my playmaking ability. I feel every time I touch the ball I can make a big play. A lot of scouts do not like the fact that I have not played outside receiver, but it’s something I think I can step in and do, so I would not really call it a weakness.”
As posted on: ESPN SportsNation

Sources and Links

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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