Jase McClellan attacks off-season training before budding year

Brad Lister always takes a cautious approach when working with a player returning from injury. But this tactic quickly changed after two days Gus McClellan.

Alabama has spent the past week working with Leicester, a former running back in Auburn, and is scheduled to train the next two weeks in Lilburn, Ga. , before Crimson Tide returns at the end of the month. Prior to working with McClellan, Leicester reached out to UA Football Rehabilitation Services Director Jeremy Jesell, who had the entire tail liquidated.

“On his first day, I kept it very light, just the basics, and took him to some standard tests that I was going to pass just to see how it works again,” Lester told BamaOnLine. “It’s a slow process, in my opinion. But after those first two days, as soon as I see the go-ahead and I’m confident the injury has cleared up completely, then I pay more.”

“The first day, for me, was the comeback. But now, we are preparing for camp and looking forward to him to be the RB1 on the first day of camp.”

McClellan He suffered a knee injury at the end of the season in Alabama’s win over the Ole Miss on October 2. He was able to take part in some parts of training this spring, although he’s been wearing an off-the-shoulder shirt, and he hasn’t played in an A-Day game in the past month. But coach Nick Saban said both McClellan and Roydell Williams, who missed out with a knee injury, “They were doing a great job.”

Before wrapping up his sophomore season, McClellan appeared well on his way to an outstanding year. He’s been linked with the captain and ranked third in the SEC in total touchdowns in five times before the setback. The Aledo, Texas, native rushed for 191 yards and one landing on a 40-cart and caught 10 passes from the rear for 97 yards and three more points.

This element of his game makes him a valuable and versatile weapon in the Tide attack.

“I didn’t know he could catch the ball well,” Lester said. “In third-line and goal-line situations… when he gets close to the goal line and puts the ball close to the goal line, something happens. His ability in third to come off the field, and his passing protection is fantastic. Those are the things I’ve always looked for in Running backwards because, obviously, if you’re running backwards at the SEC or ACC level, you can run the football.

“But those other questions the coaches ask about what makes a complete runner, and I think that’s what helped Nagy (Harris) as well. Nagy showed he can pass protection and line up in the hole and catch the ball in third, and that helped him raise his stock, and I see a lot From that in Jase.”

Leicester was a running season appearance coach, worked with Harris prior to his first season in Alabama in 2020 and did the same with McClellan at this time in the latest season. McClellan’s focus points in 2021 remain the same as he is set for his junior year.

“Honestly, it stayed the same as we went in last year because I felt last year, he’s been on a great path,” Lester said. “He and (Brian Robinson) were doing a really great job. I felt like at some point in the season, he’d take charge of the defense, but then the injury happened. I told him, ‘Sometimes things happen. You have a few years left. And let’s give it another chance next year.”

McClellan seems to have heeded that advice and commented on his current training.

“He doesn’t talk much,” Lester said. “You can see it in his face – he’s hungry. He wants the job. And I’ve dealt with it before. Anytime you get injured and you have to just relax and watch and you can’t do anything about it, two things happen: you either put a chip on your shoulder or You fall by the wayside. I’ll tell you now, he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he’s ready to go. I can’t wait to see him play next year.”

McClellan is one of six scholarship runners-up that will take place on the Alabama campus this summer, along with Williams, Trey Sanders, Georgia Tech Transfer JJ Gibbs and freshmen Jamarion Miller and Emmanuel Henderson. In the spring, Saban routinely said how pleased he was with the retreat center in terms of talent and depth at center.

Even with a crowded backyard, Leicester expect big things from McClellan in the fall.

“That’s my prediction: He’ll have 1,500 or 1,600 yards for all purposes,” Lester said. “I have no doubt that he can get it done and that he will.”

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