Jalan McClendon, born October 21, 1995, is an American football quarterback playing for the Vegas Vipers of the XFL. McClendon’s journey to the XFL has been a story of resilience and determination, having gone from being a backup quarterback in college to making his way into professional football.
High School and College Career
Hailing from West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, McClendon was a standout quarterback and also played high school basketball. During his junior year, he threw for over 1,700 yards and amassed 22 passing touchdowns. In his senior year, he led his school to the North Carolina 4AA state playoffs, adding another 1,700 passing yards and 17 passing touchdowns to his record.
Initially committing to NC State, McClendon redshirted in 2014 to preserve his future eligibility. He went on to serve as a backup quarterback for the team before transferring to Baylor for his final year of college football. Despite being brought in to compete for the starting quarterback position at Baylor, McClendon remained a backup, making his first and only start on November 3, 2018, against Oklahoma State.
Early Professional Career
After going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft, McClendon signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent but was quickly waived. He then had brief stints with the Washington Redskins and multiple workouts with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers, but failed to secure a contract.
In October 2019, McClendon was drafted by the Los Angeles Wildcats during the Phase 5: Open Draft section of the 2020 XFL revival. Serving as a backup quarterback, McClendon made his professional football debut with the Wildcats in their first-ever game against the Houston Roughnecks. However, the 2020 XFL season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving McClendon’s future uncertain.
On November 15, 2022, McClendon was selected by the Vegas Vipers of the XFL during QB Phase of the 2023 XFL Draft. As the Vipers’ starting quarterback, McClendon has already shown promise with a 1-1 record, completing 34 of 54 passes for 423 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, while also rushing for 87 yards on 21 attempts.
The journey for Jalan McClendon has been challenging, but with his newfound opportunity as the starting quarterback for the Vegas Vipers, McClendon’s perseverance and talent have a chance to shine. Keep an eye on this rising star as he continues to make a name for himself in the XFL.
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