McClatcher Has UW Friend To Show Him The Way

Chico McClatcher and Budda Baker go way back. It seems an unlikely pairing, as Chico played his high school football in Federal Way, while Budda played with Bellevue, but they have a bond that goes back many, many years to when they were just kids doing sports together.

“We talk here and there about what I should be looking forward to and what it’s going to be like when I get up there,” the 5-foot-8.5, 180-pound McClatcher recently told “That’s the only person I’ve been talking to.”

“He said to come prepared. Be ready to wake up in the mornings and be ready to work.”

Putting in work is nothing new to the man they call the ‘Blue Mamba’, but a niggling injury has sidelined him for the time being.

“I’ve been doing track,” said McClatcher. “I’m on a hurt hamstring right now, so I’m recovering. I’ve just done the long jump. I’m just focused on school more and staying in the weight room as much as I can, trying to get ready for next season.”

McClatcher added that he’s hopeful to be 100 percent healthy in the fall. But more importantly, he’s on track to take part in Washington’s LEAP program starting at the end of the month.

“I have to report soon, so it’s definitely coming up fast,” said McClatcher. “I’m looking forward to practice starting already. That’s the only thing for me, and to have great relationships with everyone on the team.”

Chico rushed for 2,283 yards and scored 37 total touchdowns his senior season, including 397 yards in a 70-24 win over Decatur. For his prep career, he had more than 8,000 all-purpose yards and a school-record 91 touchdowns. His speed and his versatility as an offensive performer have never been in question. What is in question now as he moves to college is - where exactly will he play?

“Most likely I’m thinking slot receiver and kick return, punt return,” he said.

With John Ross out, McClatcher is one of a handful of Huskies capable of offering an explosive element to UW’s offense and special teams.

“There’s definitely a huge opportunity for me to come in,” he said. “But first I’ve got to get the playbook down and roll with the college practices and everything. Everything will work out fine for me if I just do that.”

In the meantime, McClatcher is looking to get bigger, faster and stronger. Despite the recently hamstring issue, Chico remains upbeat. “I definitely see changes,” he said. “I’m definitely stronger since the end of the season. Right now I’m just healing up my hamstring so I can start working out my legs a little more.”

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