Few, if any, of those Dillard standouts have more potential than current senior-to-be Stanley McClover. At 6-4, 235 pounds with the speed of a running back, the agility of a safety and the toughness of a linebacker, he is the type of prospect who makes a college coach's heart pound faster when he sees the defensive end in action.
As a junior, McClover finished the season with 20 quarterback sacks and 30 other tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He added 50 other tackles and did that while also hanging out on offense where he played tackle. Former Auburn defensive lineman Charles Dorsey, who is an assistant football and basketball coach at Dillard, says that McClover is a special talent. "Stanley has around 120 scholarship offers already," Dorsey says. "He is that good. He is the real deal."
This season, McClover is concentrating on one position, defensive end, and it could be scary for the opposition if he gets much better. He predicts that he will have an even better season after a summer on the camp circuit and with increased strength and maturity. He says that by playing defense only, that should help him showcase his skills on that side of the ball. However, the last thing he needs to worry about is getting the college recruiters' attention. He could spend his senior season playing saxophone in the Dillard High band and still get offers to sign a football scholarship.
Commenting on his style of play, McClover tells Inside the Auburn Tigers, "I think one valuable thing that sets me aside from everybody is I've got a lot of speed. You know, I can set people up real quick. I hit all the speed rushes. Then they go and jump on the speed slot and I take them inside. Speed kills, you know. I am not big and I need something to set me apart from everybody else and that is my speed."
McClover is well aware of Auburn's ties with Dillard. The school has sent a long list of good players to Auburn over the years. That group includes current players Junior Rosegreen, a likely starter at strong safety, and reserve wideout Joe Walkins.
The defensive end plays in one of the nation's toughest high school leagues in south Florida.
McClover says he enjoys playing for such a strong program like the one at Dillard. "Because of all of the competition we have there, it is going to bring out your best," he says. "Once you get out on the field for games, everything flows, everything is easy.
"We have got some of the best coaches," he adds. "When we go to football camps in the summer, we come in ready to execute. All of our coaches have shown us all of the drills so we just come in ready to execute. And that's how we've been brought up with that mentality."
McClover, who can run his 40-yard dash in the 4.6 range and bench presses 415 pounds, has started since he was a sophomore. Three-year starters at his high school are not common. "No, they really aren't," says McClover. "You have got to work hard every day. The minute you slip up, somebody is going take your position. You have just got to go all out every day."
McClover attended a two-day camp at Auburn that attracted more than 300 players from a wide variety of high schools. Nobody at the session was more impressive than he was and he says he liked the camp and is very interested in the Auburn program. His busy summer camp schedule includes trips to N.C. State, LSU, Oklahoma, Florida, nearby Miami and probably several others.
"Auburn and LSU are at the top of my list now," says McClover, who adds that he is anxious to see what he can do as a senior. "This is going to be a bust out year for me. I finally get to showcase my speed and everything, strictly on defense. I was held back a little bit by playing on offense, but now I get to be on strictly defense so I can do my thing."