Underclass Day Impressions: Chico McClatcher

Chico McClatcher has become a household name around Washington recruiting circles ever since an 8th grade Five Star camp performance at Auburn Mountainview put the Federal Way native on the football fast track. Fast forward two years and the 5-foot-8, 165-pound McClatcher's development is right on schedule.

"I just want colleges to know I can play running back most of the time, be a third down back…but I want them to know that I can also catch the ball and do good routes," McClatcher told Dawgman.com recently.

McClatcher's explosiveness and offensive versatility immediately brings to mind a player like Reggie Bush. "Exactly," McClatcher said, nodding his head in agreement. "Reggie Bush. And DeAnthony Thomas a little bit with his burst of speed."

In fact, McClatcher's nickname is the 'Blue Mamba', the 'Mamba' part due to his similarities to Oregon's Thomas and the blue part a nod to the blue of the Federal Way Eagles. "That was me and my teammates," McClatcher said when asked who came up with the nickname. "I see a lot of similar things in (Thomas') highlights and my highlights. I don't mind it at all. They can call me any name they want to; just make sure it sounds fast."

Speed is McClatcher's calling card. He said he currently runs an 11.3 100 but has a goal to reach by the end of his sophomore year. "I'm gifted with speed and I hope to use it well when I get to college," he said. "My goal is to get it to a 10.9 by the end of the school year."

McClatcher has had standing scholarship offers from Washington, Portland State and Utah and now Arizona State recently threw their hat in the ring with an offer. Three weeks ago McClatcher and his family took part in Washington's Underclass Day.

"I knew a lot because my Mom went there from 92-94, so she's the one that got me started with them, getting familiar with the coaches and everything," McClatcher said of his UW visit. "The head coach there (Steve Sarkisian), we talk a lot and I'm getting to know the players well."

Given McClatcher's familiarity with UW, was there anything that stuck out as a first impression now that he's getting recruited hard by the Huskies? "It's a beautiful campus," he said. "I could tell how the dorms have been renewed and everything and football is starting to get it up a little bit…it looks like Washington is going to have a bright future."

So how much did the coaches talk to McClatcher about football, and how much did they talk to him about other things? "It was 50/50," he said. "They want to get me to commit real early, but I just had friendly conversations with the coaches, friendships, and we're starting to build relationships."

Given McClatcher's penchant for speed, you might find it a little ironic that behind the burst is just another bright-eyed young man taking his time to figure out the process and the best option for his future. "I just like to be patient a lot of the time because things can change really fast and you never know if you're going to get offered or not," he said. "I'm just going to take it slowly, take my visits and go through the recruiting process."

With two years to go before McClatcher puts pen to paper on a letter of intent, is he really thinking that hard about the recruiting process right now? "Actually I do think about it a lot," he said. "It goes by so fast, time goes by so fast - you never know what happens. I don't want to take anything lightly, just keep on working to get more scholarships, more offers. And I'll make my choice my senior year."

McClatcher has no other plans to check any other colleges this spring, but that doesn't mean he isn't busy. Besides running track for Federal Way, he plans on a return to this summer's Oregon NFTC. After he takes part in the Las Vegas NLA 7-on-7 Tournament this weekend he'll be attending a Rivals combine in Los Angeles. "Just to get my rank up," he said. "I just have to work hard. I have to keep getting my speed up."

McClatcher isn't just thinking about himself when he's doing these events. He knows he's also repping the Evergreen State and it's something he takes a lot of pride in. "Some states think that Washington is just another state - they just think we're okay," he said. "But Washington has a lot of great talent and we need to keep rising up on the board."

In the back of his mind he wants to help Federal Way do for his community what Bellevue and Skyline Football have done for their schools. "I think about it a lot," he said. "I have dreams about it: Take one step at a time and get our rank up in the state and in the nation. We're just trying to win state, that's our main goal."

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