"He's a great young man that comes from a great family," West Mecklenburg head coach Jeff Caldwell said. "He's a kid that's not trying to grow up fast – he enjoys being a teenager. He's a humanitarian – he really likes his teammates and really likes people.
"And he's a good leader, which is good for us because we have a young team, and it started going into his tenth grade year. He started leading in the weight room and then he started leading everywhere else we went. It wasn't something we asked him to do – he just took it upon himself. It was a natural thing for him.
"He's a natural drop back quarterback, but the running comes easy to him also it's something that he wants to do. He keeps the ball alive – we're not asking him to make any 30-, 40-yard runs. But he runs to keep the chains moving and get the ball down the field."
McClendon began his freshman season on junior varsity. However, two games in, he was promoted to varsity and has started at quarterback ever since.
As a sophomore, McClendon passed for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also rushed for 250 yards and a score.
In McClendon's first two seasons as a starter, West Mecklenburg employed a pass-first spread offense. This coming season, Caldwell hopes to get more balance from its offense.
"His first two years – his ninth and tenth grade years – he was pretty much a drop back quarterback," Caldwell said. "He could take off and run – he took off and ran last year – but we didn't put in design runs for him. But over the past five or six months, he's gotten so much faster, so he'll do a lot more running this year than he has in the past."
The first school to make an evaluation trip to West Mecklenburg, according to Caldwell, was Virginia. Since then every ACC school, except Florida State and Georgia Tech, have sent a representative to check out McClendon. Additionally, Alabama, Nebraska, Syracuse, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt have expressed interest.
McClendon has camped at North Carolina, Tennessee (twice), and Wake Forest. His performances at UNC's and Wake Forest's camp yielded McClendon two of his three scholarship offers. The third came from UNC Charlotte.
"I really enjoyed the experience at North Carolina, because not a lot of kids get that," McClendon said. "Coach [Blake] Anderson, he's a cool guy, funny guy. He really does expect hard work out of his quarterbacks – if you aren't going to work hard, he's not going to want you."
Gunter Brewer is recruiting McClendon for UNC and was the one responsible for making sure he made it to the Tar Heels camp.
McClendon will continue to make recruiting trips into the fall. The only definite destination is UNC.
"I was looking at the North Carolina versus Virginia Tech game," McClendon said.
McClendon figures to make a verbal commitment within a year. Three schools have surfaced as early favorites to receive that pledge.
"Right now, most definitely Carolina is sticking out," McClendon said. "Carolina, Tennessee, and Ohio State are sticking out right now. Those three have good football programs – that's the big thing. They have good education. And they're my type of school."
Besides football, McClendon plays basketball for West Mecklenburg to help stay in-shape during the off-season… McClendon's uncle played defensive end for UNC.