OAKLAND, Calif. -- Five weeks ago, Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds outside linebacker Paul Scott rolled into a fumble recovery for a touchdown, breaking his ankle. It's put him on the shelf as the Warriors have charged towards the playoffs, beating Oakland, 38-8, last week to move to 8-1 on the season.
The ankle is a setback, for sure, but Scott has kept busy by getting on the headset on the sideline, providing an extra voice of coaching as he carries the clipboard in one hand as he crutches up and down.
"Oh, man," Scott breathes, as he rolls his eyes, and then his head, recalling how his broken ankle happened, on Sept. 30, against Skyline. "It was a fumble, and me and my teammate were both going for the ball. He dove for it, and I had to jump over him. He was rolling, and rolled on top of my ankle, but I picked it up and scored on the play, still. I really only had to go a few yards -- maybe two yards. It was at the 15, and the center snapped it over [the quarterback's] head. We both went for the ball."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1719539-cal-snags-local-li... Scott was icing it for a week, thinking it was a sprain, until an X-ray showed otherwise. With the Warriors playoff-bound, Scott isn't about to take things too quickly, so he stands, with a walking boot, on crutches, watching.
"It's hard watching them get ready for the game, all juiced up," he said. "Not being able to go out there, in my senior year, it's hard."
Scott talks about the night he injured his ankle with more ease and detail than he does about his relationship with his own father, who he didn't know or speak with until he was 12. Paul Scott, Sr., was in jail for most of Scott, Jr.,'s life, and since he left town, the two haven't spoken. He wasn't there when his son, then a sophomore, found out that he was going to be a father.
At the age of 15, Scott, Jr., was a 2.2-GPA student. Four months after he and his ex-girlfriend Shoshonie, a senior at McClymonds, had last spent a night together, he got a call from her.
"I was young. I was a sophomore. I was scared," he said. "I really was in denial, at first. I talked to some of my family, and I had to take responsibility."
She was four months pregnant, and Scott had to step up.
"I was in denial," Scott said. "We'd broken up in the first weeks, looking back, of her pregnancy, so we weren't in contact. I didn't know until the fourth, fifth month. She told me, and that's when I was in denial."
It took Scott two months to come to terms with being a father. He would be there for his daughter, like his father wasn't for him. He would give her a future. He would go to college.
Now, Shoshonie lives in West Oakland, and Scott, along with his mother Jacqueline, live in Hayward. He has custody his daughter, Miyanna, on the weekends.
Miyanna is one of the big reasons that, last month, Scott committed to California.
"That's really what it was. I didn't want the same for me, as for her. I didn't recognize it at first, but it really took a toll on me, but it made me who I am today," he said. "I never had my dad. My mom got divorced when I was three. Since then, it's been just me and my mom, and now my daughter."
Miyanna's birth forced Scott to come to terms with some hard truths. Entering his junior year, he buckled down. He raised his cumulative GPA, in one year, from a 2.2 to a 2.9.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1680748-mcclymonds-lb-visi... "At the start of my junior year, it was a 2.2. That whole year, I was making up classes. It was something that I had to do," he said. "So far, I'm doing well in all my classes. We haven't gotten any progress reports yet, but all my grades are good, A's and B's."
A summer visit to Berkeley this June opened his eyes even further.
"I really had to take time," Scott aid. "I talked to my family, friends. School hasn't been a major thing for me, and it's been easier, now, with the work and stuff, because I'm focusing down on it. There are a lot of people who help out at Mack, who graduated from Cal, and I was talking to them. They were reassuring me, that being here, close to my daughter, and if I ever had any troubles, I always have help, close to home. It was Denzel Johnson -- he's a Cal graduate, and one of the college counselors, and he coaches us, too -- and we have an advisor here, Brian McGee, who went to Cal."
Scott also talks to graduate assistant Carlos Alvarado two days a week, staying in close contact, despite the fact that Scott can't afford to have a cell phone with any regularity.
"I really like Cal. I like the coaches there. I like coach [Carlos] Alvarado. They feel like family. I talked with my mom, and it was the right spot for me. I've got a daughter, so I can stay home."
Beyond that, watching another Oakland product -- a graduate of McClymonds's opponent this week, Oakland Tech -- Marshawn Lynch wheel his way around the field in a golf cart on Saturday, commemorating the 10th anniversary of his joy ride after an overtime win against Washington, provided inspiration.
"That shows me that it's possible," Scott said. "A lot of people have done it from this community, and him too. That shows you that you can make it ... I still know that this is really just the start of my journey. I've just got to stay humble, and keep working hard."