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Football Interns Millikan

Football: Millikan’s Greg McClendon Discusses San Jose State Commitment

The562’s coverage of football in 2023-24 is sponsored in part by the MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center Foundation and Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Foundation

The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2023-24 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer.

Long Beach Millikan senior Gregory McClendon III recently committed to San Jose State, as the standout defensive end picked the Spartans over Colorado, Arizona, Cal, and others. McClendon and his family were beyond ecstatic about him making his commitment to San Jose.

“That whole week knowing that I was committing soon, it was big emotionally for me and my family,” McClendon said. “Because in my family I’ll be one of the only ones to (go to college), and go for free at that. So for me, it was very overwhelming. All my family was supporting me, they told me they were proud of me, to continue the hard work and they gave me some nice words of encouragement.”

McClendon transferred into Millikan last school year, and said before the 2023 season started that he was confident in his game and his ability to prove himself on a bigger stage. He showed his talent right away, collecting 6 sacks and 58 total tackles to help lead a much-improved defense for the Rams.

San Jose State was one of his first offers that he received in November of 2022, and they continued to show their interest and communicate with McClendon regularly, which helped seal the deal.

“They were my second offer that I ever had, and it really hit me. It hit me hard. Ever since then, I’ve always been like… San Jose, that’s gonna be my home,” McClendon explained. “I’m very very excited to be a Spartan, and I just want to thank them for giving me an opportunity. For me, the home-run hitter was just the communication. We talk all the time, the guys send me lots of pregame good lucks and everyday asking me how my day is going, just the little things. And it’s not that far, I can get the whole family there to come to a game, so that’s what it was for me. I wanted to make sure it was the best experience for me and for my family.”

McClendon said he’s hoping to encourage his younger siblings to strive for success as he leaves for college. McClendon has two younger sisters and a younger brother, and he hopes to see them follow his lead to a higher education. 

“Now that I’m committed, I’ll just encourage my siblings, like, ‘If I could do it, you could do it,’” he said. “Let me just make sure I’m gonna push you so that you can do it too.”

Although he was an outstanding defensive end at Millikan, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound McClendon may end up in a different role in college.

“They’re giving me this athlete position where I can just come in and do whatever, but they do have a position that’s more like a hybrid linebacker/D-End,” he explained. “So I’ll be able to come off the edge sometimes or even drop back in coverage. So that was the home-run hitter for me, to be able to just be the way I am and it fits their program very well.”

Millikan head coach Romeo Pellum also thought that the athlete label fits him well, and feels that San Jose will be lucky to have McClendon in their program.

“I think he’s probably one of the most athletic kids in the state,” said Pellum. “He can play linebacker, he can play defensive end, he can play tight end, he can even play receiver. He can start at any school in our league at any one of those positions. And that just speaks to the work he puts in; he busts his ass, he doesn’t talk back. He just works hard, man, he deserves it. San Jose got a steal. They stole one with him.”

Overall, everything Greg wanted in a school, San Jose had, and he is proud to be a future Spartan as he continues his academic and athletic career. 

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Monique Thomas
Monique Thomas is a senior at Millikan High School in the QUEST pathway. She is a third-year captain of the varsity girls' golf team. She is on the leadership board of Black Student Union and Female Leadership at her school, working as the social media coordinator for both clubs. Monique is also a part if Millikan Photo Club and enjoys her hobby of photography. After high school, she plans to major in Sports Medicine at a four-year college.