LARGO - Jayion McCluster was looking for something more.
Searching for a college program offering more than football.
“Where can I spend three to four years with these people?” McCluster wondered. “Where can I feel like I was with a family?
The answer, Florida State.
“It’s just that feeling you get inside,” McCluster said. “It’s like, yeah, this is where I want to be.”
McCluster made it official with his verbal commitment to FSU. The Noles are getting a guy who brings it on and off the field.
“He’s definitely transformed our program since the day he got on campus.” Largo head coach Marcus Paschal said. “They’re going to get a leader.”
McCluster’s experience in transforming a program will come in handy at FSU, a program in need of a rebuild.
“I feel like this 2020 class, we’re special,” McCluster said. “We’re going to bring something back. We’re going to bring that old FSU back, that Jalen Ramsey type of FSU.”
But first, McCluster’s got some unfinished business at Largo. He employs a blue-collar approach to Packers football,, complete with a sledgehammer.
“I walk out with it, sometimes we slam it,” he said. “It gives us energy and it’s just the guy with the hammer. They see a guy with a hammer, it’s like, oh he’s serious.”
Serious about getting the Packers to the next level and about making a mark on the Largo program. For years, McCluster’s played in the shadow of his cousin Dexter McCluster, the former NFL Pro Bowler, but this season provides an opportunity to cement his own legacy.
“When he came in, that’s all you heard, oh that’s Dexter’s little cousin,” Paschal said. “But he wanted to really separate himself just to let it be known like, he’s a great player in his own right.”
McCluster lives in the moment, but also plans for the future. Knowing his football playing days will eventually end, he dreams of running his own business someday. And with his college commitment out of the way, he can focus on the game he loves, while secure in the knowledge his future is set.
“Football doesn’t last forever,” McCluster said. “I want to be able to do something with my life after football and they showed me I’m going to get that out of FSU. I don’t want to be looked at as just a football player cause I’m more than that.”