South Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Bobo helped recruit Bryan McClendon, a receiver at Atlanta’s Benjamin E. Mays High School, to Georgia in the early 2000s.
Bobo was Georgia’s quarterbacks’ coach during McClendon’s playing career, and eventually the team’s offensive coordinator when McClendon became a graduate assistant and assistant coach with the Bulldogs.
Bobo spoke with Spurs & Feathers in 2018 when South Carolina announced McClendon as its offensive coordinator. The following excerpt, which has been edited and shortened, ran as part of a longer feature on McClendon in the August 2018 Spurs & Feathers magazine. To subscribe, click here.
Hunger to coach
Mike Bobo helped recruit McClendon to Georgia, although, in reality, it wasn’t a tough sell.
“He was always very well respected. Respectful. Yes, sir. No, sir. A hard worker,” Bobo said. “He had talent, but I would not say he was [a five-star] guy. He was a tough kid that had a good skill set and a dependable guy that you knew, one day this guy could end up being a captain on your football team.”
The smarts McClendon showed and how he mentored younger teammates set him apart.
“He ended up knowing the whole offense,” Bobo said. “A lot of guys can just learn where they line up and what they do. He also understood the concepts and why we were running things. He ended up learning what we were doing in the run game and protection.”
The two were soon on the same staff, and Bobo saw McClendon’s passion. How he’d sneak off at conventions with coaches of different positions.
“He didn’t take anything for granted,” Bobo said. “He was always involved. He always wanted more. More responsibility. Which is always, I think, a sign of a guy that’s hungry. He didn’t think he had all the answers.”
Bobo also saw McClendon’s work with student-athletes. He routinely came out of meetings and saw McClendon working with players up and down the depth chart, from star players like Todd Gurley and Knowshon Moreno to players most people didn’t know the names of.
There’s also the recruiting aspect.
McClendon was Georgia’s recruiting coordinator for the 2014-15 season when the Bulldogs brought in the sixth-best recruiting class in the country, according to Rivals. In 2014, McClendon was named the 247Sports national recruiter of the year.