Plenty of prospects, some of them high-profile, others under-the-radar, have come and gone in the past decade or so, since the inception of the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl. Still, the talent level across the board on the national level has been about as good as it gets.
Things don’t figure to change anytime soon, either, as the hype continues to build for this year’s games: Dec. 18 and Jan. 22 at Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, Jan. 6 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Raymond James Stadium and Jan. 13 at Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field.
To gain a better of understanding about the rapidly growing direction of things, perhaps it’s best to take some time to reflect on the humble beginnings. Therefore, moving forward, the plan is to more closely examine the brand’s many alumni from all over the country.
Jalen McCleskey from St. Paul’s (LA) has never been a stranger to the spotlight and he proved that on the big stage, when as a member of the Class of 2015, he earned Offensive MVP for the West in a 7-6 victory over the East in the All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium.
Nowadays, the 5-foot-10 and 170-pound junior wide receiver is still getting the job. No surprise there. Only this time around, it’s on Saturdays at Oklahoma State. McCleskey, in fact, will be back at it against Pitt on Sept. 16 in a nonconference game at 12 p.m. (EST)
A starter on offense, and the team’s primary punt returner, his responsibilities are many. Not once this season, or in the past for that matter, has McCleskey let down the powers that be, specifically speaking Mike Gundy and the rest of the coaching staff.
As a sophomore, McCleskey led the Cowboys in catches with 73 for 812 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. As a freshman, he played in every game and received the team’s Russell Okung Award, an honor given to the outstanding newcomer.
McCleskey appears destined for the limelight at Oklahoma State. And beyond, perhaps following in the footsteps of his NFL father J.J. McCleskey. The younger version, after all, has taken steps in the right direction ever since the All-American Bowl in Texas.