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Laurel Leader male Athlete of Year made impact in three sports

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Jarvis McClam went through a ton of changes during his high school career.

He transferred to Laurel High after his freshman year at Meade High in Anne Arundel County, then played for two football coaches in three seasons for the Spartans.

Despite all the adjustments, there was one constant in that McClam was a consistent performer as a two-year starter at quarterback for Laurel High, and he pulled off a rare athletic hat trick, running indoor track in the winter and baseball in the spring as a senior for the Spartans.

"He was a kid that it really didn't matter what you asked him to do, he would do it," Laurel football coach Todd Sommerville said of McClam, the Laurel Leader Male Athlete of the Year. "He has been the consummate team player the last two years. You don't have to re-teach and re-teach. He picks things up easily."

McClam, who also started at safety in 2012, threw for 1,090 yards with eight touchdowns as a senior and ran for 644 yards for seven touchdowns and an average of 6.1 yards per carry.

He made 34 tackles last fall with one sack and one interception for Laurel.

As a junior he threw for 1,135 yards and eight touchdowns and ran for 403 yards and six touchdowns (5.6 yards per carry).

There were challenges along the way.

"The most difficult part was connecting with the team and learning the plays," he said. "I did not know anybody. It was hard."

McClam took part in the 200 meters and 800-meter relay last winter with the indoor track team after one of his friends talked him into trying out.

In the spring, he threw a curve and tried out for baseball for the first time.

He batted around .380 for head coach Don Cleveland, an assistant JV football coach at the school.

Cleveland said when McClam learned he was the head baseball coach he told the coach he would try out, though Cleveland was skeptical.

"He is a natural athlete," Cleveland said. "He played a great outfield. He was just incredible. He hit second or third in the lineup and he started every game. He was not thrown out stealing and he stole home once. He was a great baserunner."

McClam's older brother, Dewayne, ran track and played football and lacrosse at Meade High and is now in the military, stationed in Texas.

His father, Wayne, who played high school football in South Carolina, was a Laurel High assistant last season under Sommerville.

While McClam was a rare three-sport athlete, he will focus only on football at Seton Hill University, a Division II program in Greensburg, Pa., near Pittsburgh.

Isaac Collins, named the Seton Hill head coach in January, said McClam will be used on offense as a wideout and in a wildcat package out of the backfield as a partial scholarship recruit.

"Athletically there is not a position he could not play," Collins said.

Collins and Sommerville were part of the coaching staff at The Citadel in South Carolina and the Laurel coach told Collins about McClam during a coaches' convention.

Collins came to Laurel High earlier this year to meet with McClam, who already knows some of the players on the Seton Hill roster.

Two Meade High graduates whom McClam knows from his days at that school were freshmen for Seton Hill last season.

Jordan Harper was a defensive back who had 15 tackles in 10 games, while Erik Kerns was a reserve wide receiver.

Seton Hill finished 0-11 in 2012 and allowed at least 30 points in seven of those games.

McClam said he may head to Seton Hill in July for workouts and will report in August when practice begins. He is undecided on a major.

He will not be only connection to Laurel at the school.

Paul O'Brien, a long-time softball coach at St. Vincent Pallotti, just finished his first season as the head softball coach at Seton Hill.

In football, the Griffins will move to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), which features some top Division II programs.

McClam hopes to make an immediate impact.

"There will be a number of freshmen who could play for us this year," Collins said. "He certainly has the tools athletically to help us real early in his college career."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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