OT: OK St. WR Jalen McCleskey to transfer, CFB Free Agency edition

Submitted by Bambi on September 24th, 2018 at 1:54 PM

There's been a lot of hand-wringing in Stillwater about the offense and pass game after OK St. lost at home to Texas Tech 41-17. Apparently this included OK St. WR Jalen McClesky who just announced he'd be transferring today saying he felt he wasn't being targeted enough and wasn't a big enough part of the offense. With only 4 games played, McClesky can use this year as his RS year.

The interesting thing is that McClesky isn't a freshman but a senior. He has 15 catches for 155 yards and 2 TDs so far this year but in his career he's 6th on OK St.'s career reception list. He has 167 catches, 1865 yards, and 17 TDs for his career. McClesky will use the rest of this year to RS and then grad transfer next year for immediate eligibility.

I don't think there's any reason to believe he has any connections to Michigan or will come here (from Louisiana originally, not recruited by Michigan) even though he'd be a nice add, but the story itself is interesting and unique. 



September 24th, 2018 at 2:00 PM ^

And right after I clicked post it happened again:

Arkansas WR Jonathan Nance will be doing the same. He came to Arkansas as a JUCO transfer, led the team in receiving last year catching 37 passes for 539 yards and 5 TDs. Under the new coaching staff he only had 1 catch for -2 yards this year. According to PFF,  he led the SEC in deep pass catch rate last year.


September 24th, 2018 at 2:33 PM ^

I think overall, this type of movement will help Michigan, given that Harbaugh is here (assuming kids eventually realize he is a good coach with NFL connections etc). 


September 24th, 2018 at 2:40 PM ^

Doubt it will help Michigan, or any other top tier team, at all.  This guy isn't going to get immediate PT at UM next year - not with Black, DPJ, and Collins returning.  And he won't get immediate PT at Bama, with the 47 5*'s they have available on a yearly basis.  LSU is stocked with high-end talent.  And so on and so forth.

These guys will end up at some place that needs them.  Some place that doesn't already have top tier talent.  It may well hurt depth at places like Michigan, though.  Decent talent can move down to be the man, but it rarely will move up to be the guy.


September 24th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

The guys that go into the NFL make it because they're good.  It won't matter where he goes if he's good enough, he'll get his shot. I think this whole "X school produces NFL talent" narrative is absurd, because it's essentially saying that the school is the reason the kid made it. While there may be exceptions, there are a lot of guys in the NFL that would've made it no matter where they played.


September 24th, 2018 at 3:10 PM ^

I wasn't talking about anyone making it in the NFL.  Indeed, most of the NFL guys came from non-football factory schools - and they 'made it' anyway because they're good.  My point was that if a guy thinks he needs to leave his school to get more attention, he's probably not going to end up at one of the schools with more 'croot star talent (for lack of better term), whether he's good enough for the NFL, or not.


September 24th, 2018 at 4:51 PM ^

Agreed, I always laugh when sports guys say that Coach Cal and Coach K get guys to the NBA, when the truth of the matter is 98% of those guys would be in the NBA if they went to a D3 school for a year. Same applies in football, the more 4 and 5 star cant miss talent you have, the more likely they will end up in the NFL.  

901 P

September 24th, 2018 at 8:43 PM ^

Contemptible! That's a pretty strong word. I mean, I don't see this as inflicting some enormous cost on his team. It sounds like he's not really playing that much, so it's not like he's sinking their chances for success. I guess I don't have a problem with a kid looking out for his own interests, especially if it is not materially hurting someone else in any meaningful way. 

ETA: closer read indicates that it's not a lack of playing time per se. Still doesn't change my opinion: kid is looking out for his own interests, which I think is entirely reasonable.  


September 24th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

If he's on track to graduate at the end of this year, then why quit mid season? This doesn't pass the sniff test.

EDIT: I was wrong. I have symbolically negged myself.


September 24th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

Read the post more closely.

He is a Senior.  He has played in 4 games this year and is unhappy.  If he doesn’t play in more than 4 games this year it can be counted as a redshirt under the new rules.  If he can graduate this year he would then be eligible to be a grad transfer at a school that he feels would offer him a better shot at the pros.


September 24th, 2018 at 4:04 PM ^

You missed my point. He would only need the redshirt if he plans on playing his 5th year at his current school. Getting a redshirt makes absolutely no difference for 5th year grad transfers. He quit on his team, and he talked shit on the way out.

EDIT: I was wrong. See full rant below.


September 24th, 2018 at 4:48 PM ^

Okay, thank you for clarifying. Apparently, I misunderstood the rule.

Obviously, everyone gets 5 years to play 4 at their chosen school. I thought the immediate eligibility for grad transfers was instituted to reward student athletes for completing a degree on schedule, and had no idea redshirt status played a role in eligibility for a 5th year player transferring with a degree in hand. 

That's my fault for believing the NCAA might institute a rule that would actually make sense and benefit student-athletes.

Of course they effectively excluded kids for staying healthy and contributing to their teams for four consecutive years. I should have known.

"You're good enough to play as a true freshman? You stayed healthy and completed your degree on time? Nope, you actually aren't eligible to take advantage of this program to have grad school paid for." Fuck the NCAA. 


September 24th, 2018 at 8:29 PM ^

I honestly don't think its idiotic. I thought this happened all the time: a kid stars for four years at a small school and plays one year on a bigger stage. That makes sense to me. It seemed like that's why the grad transfer rule was made. The redshirt, in my mind, was a tool to extract a 5th year at the original school. Like I said, I was mistaken. 

To me, that would be a sensible rule. Instead, those who play their first four years (better players) are effectively barred from the potential fifth year of free education. That doesn't make sense.


September 24th, 2018 at 3:51 PM ^

How would he "be a nice add?" He would sit on the bench behind DPJ, Collins, Black and Bell. At slot he would be behind Martin and probably Schoenle. That would be a horrible waste of a scholarship.


September 24th, 2018 at 5:10 PM ^

He's the number 4 receiver on their team this year and is leaving because he wants more attention. He would be unhappy at UM because he would be behind at least 3 other receivers. (Or maybe you think he would be ahead of DPJ, Black or Collins?) I would absolutely play Martin and Bell ahead of him. As freshmen they will be contributing to the team in 2020 and are still developing.

Let's summarize: He plays at a position where he isn't needed. M's depth issues at WR are possibly for 2020 and later. Certainly not for next year. He is unhappy at OSU because he's the 4th WR. At UM he would be the 4th WR, at best. He is unfamiliar with our system and our QBs. If he was given significant snaps for the one year he would be at UM it would impede the development of the younger WRs who will be in Ann Arbor in 2020 and 2021. He has an attitude problem and abandoned his team in the middle of the season.

If you really think that bringing him in would be a good use of a scholarship we will just have to disagree.


September 24th, 2018 at 5:37 PM ^

1) He's not the "number 4" receiver on their team. He's 4th in yards but 2nd in receptions and tied for the lead in TDs. He's listed as a starter on the depth chart.

2) "He would be unhappy at UM because he would be behind at least 3 other receivers" and "He is unhappy at OSU because he's the 4th WR. At UM he would be the 4th WR, at best":

Once again, he's not the 4th WR at OK St. He also wouldn't be "the 4th WR" at Michigan. Not all WRs are created equal. He's a slot and none of the three you listed ahead of him are slots. Even if someone like DPJ plays in the slot for some snaps, he's not a true slot and wouldn't play there every down or start there. 

3) "I would absolutely play Martin and Bell ahead of him. As freshmen they will be contributing to the team in 2020 and are still developing."

I'm confused as to what 2020 has to do with next year but if the concern is 2020 and beyond, why is Grant Perry playing? Why wouldn't we just start Martin/Bell now to prep for 2020? The answer is because you want to win now and you play whoever can do that best. If McClesky were to come odds are he's the best slot on the roster immediately. You play the best player, and if he's the best you play him. If he's not, awesome then we know Martin/Bell's baseline and it's really good, and McClesky is more depth. And for a coach like Harbaugh who's all about competition, bringing in more high quality competition is a good thing. But saying I want to be worse next year to be better in 2 years, for a win now team, makes no sense.

4) "He plays at a position where he isn't needed. M's depth issues at WR are possibly for 2020 and later."

Once again, not all WRs are the same. Slot next year will definitely be a position of need. We currently have 6 healthy scholarship WRs on the roster, so depth at WR is an issue now. We lose one of them, Perry, who starts at McClesky's position. We add 3 WRs currently, but true freshman WR suck. So we probably have 5 WRs the coaches trust playing next year, and lose the returning starter at slot. That's a depth issue.

5) "He has an attitude problem and abandoned his team in the middle of the season."

Glad you're able to make the diagnosis based on this one thing. Especially because odds are you've never heard of this kid before in your life. Go to the Reddit post on this, and every OK St. fan is saying "Yeah makes sense, don't blame him. I would too if I were him, our QB/OC suck." But glad we have you to make the character judgement for us.

The one thing I do agree with you on is he won't come here, so this is all moot. He has no ties to Michigan, has never played in this offense, probably wants to be the focal point in a spread passing option which wouldn't happen here, etc. He won't come because he has no interest in Michigan. But if he did, I'd take him in a heartbeat if the numbers worked out.


September 24th, 2018 at 6:29 PM ^

"We should've been able to destroy Tech but the play calling was terrible and has been since Yurcich stepped on campus"

"Mike Yurcich doesn't know how to properly utilize slot receivers and play to his current QB's strengths with short passes"

"Also our OC Yurcich is garbage and doesn't use slot receivers effectively"

"I think Cornelius is an average Div 1 QB, nothing more. Yurcich can make him look like shit.

Yurcich made Mason look average at times. Our offense used to stall a lot even with all the fire power we had 2015-2018"

Comments from OK St. fans from the Reddit thread. I'll take them at their word. Sometimes bad coaches stay at their jobs longer than they should, it happens literally all the time. Especially at place like OK St. where national titles aren't the expectation, the D can usually be the scapegoat reason for failure, and there's plenty of talent to hide the OC's issues.


September 24th, 2018 at 6:39 PM ^

"I'll take them at their word." You've convinced me that OSU fans are as delusional as the Mgoblog posters who have been saying that Harbaugh can't recruit and doesn't know what he's doing. If they are right doesn't that reinforce the point that he should have been able to figure it out earlier and transfer before the 4th game of his 4th year? And please explain to me how he's the 6th all time leader in receptions if the OC is so bad. You can't have it both ways.


September 24th, 2018 at 6:46 PM ^

How about for the past 3 years he's had an NFL QB and one of the best college QBs in Mason Rudolph? Now he only has an average QB and the offense is miles worse. It's almost like great players can cover up shitty coaching. 

Regardless the fact that your reaction to seeing OK St. fans universally trashing their OC is to call OK St. fans delusional, despite the fact that I'd put money you know no more about OK St. than your typical Michigan fan, means this conversation is going no where. It's not worth talking to a brick wall anymore.


September 24th, 2018 at 5:50 PM ^

This is a neanderthal opinion and I honestly think you're dumb for not seeing the player's side in these situations.


If your company was paying you shit or you thought you weren't being valued and you took your talents elsewhere for a better situation, would that make you a quitter? Truth is, you have a much better shot at making it for a cup of coffee at the next level when you actually get invited to the combine.