With less than 70 days until UMHB’s fall sports officially get underway, it is now time to begin looking at the incoming recruits from the Class of 2022, and their backgrounds and goals as they join the Cru for the upcoming season. True To The Cru will bring you interviews such as this one regularly throughout the next couple of months, featuring athletes from all 15 varsity sports.
BELTON- With several departures at tight end following the 2021 season, the UMHB coaching staff sought to add depth to the position during this recent recruiting cycle. The Crusaders found a reliable addition in Will McClintock, a native of nearby Riesel, Texas, who comes to Belton with three years of eligibility following a freshman year in 2021 at Missouri Western State (D2).
There, the 6’5, 240 lb McClintock played in four games, recording three catches for 14 yards. He committed to the Cru after re-opening his recruitment on April 4 of this year, and sat down with True To The Cru recently, giving insight about his transfer to UMHB, high school experience and more.
What made UMHB the program that fit you best?
WM: “When I went to Missouri, so far away, I first thought [the distance from home] wouldn’t be a problem and that I’d get used to it. But it was hard on me, not being close to my family. When I came back from Missouri, I told myself, ‘I’m not going to go that far away again, football or not.’ When I decided I wanted to play again, I knew I wanted to stay close, and UMHB had been an option coming out of high school. I touched base with Coach Harmon and we got it done. A lot of it was distance from home, but UMHB is also a winning program, and I want to be a part of that.”
You mentioned in a previous conversation that you stepped away from football completely for a few months upon returning to Central Texas. What ultimately drew you back to the game?
WM: “It’s kind of a crazy story. When I came back, I had decided that I was going to step away from football and focus on my education. I went to McLennan Community College for a semester to get some classes done, and I was going to go to Texas A&M. I had applied to A&M and waited a while to hear back. My sister had just graduated from A&M’s nursing school and was always talking about how great it is, so I decided that was the route I was going to take. But I didn’t get into A&M. That was, at the time, very disappointing. I made good grades, I felt like I’d done everything right. I didn’t know where to go from there. But then I thought about how much I missed football. I’d never really wanted to stop playing, but where I was at before kind of ruined it for me. I sat down and thought about it, and decided to play again, and put my name out there.”
You said UMHB was an option for you coming out of high school. What initial impression did the UMHB coaching staff make on you and did that play any role in your interest in the program now two years later?
WM: “When they were recruiting me out of high school, they were very hands on. My dad played football at Baylor in the 80s, and played for Coach Fredenburg. So it was pretty cool when they came over to our house to visit, hearing all of the old stories about Baylor football. Having that kind of relationship with the coaches was very cool, because it feels like they want to be involved and make sure you are ok. It’s not like that everywhere. Here it feels more like a family environment. I love that.”
You were a First-Team All-District tight end at Riesel High School as a senior in 2020. But a year before, you were a First-Team All-District quarterback. How did that position switch happen and what drew you to playing tight end?
WM: “Growing up, I had always wanted to play quarterback. I was the quarterback when we played out at recess, and in junior high, I played quarterback both years and loved it. I really shot up in eighth grade (6’3), and at a small school, that size is hard to come by. They put me on JV for a few games as a quarterback my freshman year, but then I was moved up to varsity, and put at tight end. I started catching the ball that year, and my sophomore year, they kept me at tight end, and I fell in love with it. I love to block, but I also love to catch the ball, so I get the best of both worlds.”
You not only starred on offense in high school, but you were also a Second-Team All-District linebacker as a junior in 2019. How was it playing both sides of the ball throughout your four years of high school?
WM: “It’s always great to get to stay on the field as much as possible. My dad actually played middle linebacker and they put me at middle linebacker my junior year. My freshman, sophomore, and senior year, I played tight end on offense and defensive end on defense. But my junior year, they completely switched it up, because I played quarterback and linebacker. It’s definitely much harder on your head, but I love playing defense almost as much as I love playing offense. The big hits are almost equal to the touchdowns when it comes to the “fun factor”.
You played on some great teams throughout your high school career in Riesel. Does any one memory or game still stick out to you?
WM: “I’d say my favorite memory would probably be against Moody my sophomore year. I was running an out route, and he put the throw a little bit behind me. I just stuck my hand up and caught it, one-handed, and it somehow stuck to my hand. But my favorite game would have been that same season when we beat Crawford in the playoffs [59-13]. Riesel was not really known for deep playoff runs, and Crawford is, and I had three touchdowns that game. That’s the most fun game I’ve ever played.”
Last one for you, but what goals do you have as you enter your first season with the Cru?
WM: “My main goal is another national championship. However they want to use me, or where they put me at, that’s up to [the coaching staff]. I want to help in any way I can. I think a goal for me this year is to earn the starting tight end job. That’s everyone’s goal going into a new year, but I’ve really put in the work the last few months.”