D'Vone McClure is old Hog learning new tricks

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Arkansas linebacker D'Vone McClure (36) participates in a drill Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, during practice at the university practice fields in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Arkansas linebacker D'Vone McClure (36) participates in a drill Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, during practice at the university practice fields in Fayetteville.

— Granddaddy Pluck and Uncle Kev may sound like a new CW television comedy, but they are actually the nicknames of the two oldest players on the Arkansas football roster.

Granddaddy Pluck is sophomore nickel back D’Vone McClure - a former Jacksonville two-sport star who spent four years in the Cleveland Indians minor league baseball system before deciding to take a stab at college football. He appears in line for significant playing time this season.

“It’s a blessing and I have to give all the glory to the man upstairs,” McClure said. “It is something that I dreamed about. It sounds pretty cliché, but I did dream about it. It would just be an honor to me to go represent my city with my family name on the back of my jersey. I am just going to keep doing what I do every day, control what I can control, master it and become dominant.”

Uncle Kev is sixth-year senior Kevin Richardson, another former Jacksonville standout who graduated a year after McClure. Richardson suffered a broken foot while moving the week before camp started and is not part of the team's 110-man roster this preseason, but is expected to return to action around the time SEC play begins in September.

McClure and Richardson are the two oldest players on the team, with McClure 10 months older.

“That’s a coincidence,” said McClure, 24. “I think everything happens for a reason. We’re here to put on for the city, so we’re going to do what we’ve got to do.”

McClure is filling in for Richardson along with Derrick Munson and Nate Dalton. All have split reps with the first, second and third teams so far through five preseason practices.

“I don’t think it really changed anything,” McClure said of Richardson’s injury. “I’m a guy that, regardless of where I’m at on the depth chart, will come in and grind and work on my craft every day. Like I told them the other day, you stay ready you ain’t got to get ready. It is upon me now.

“It’s a little more like, 'Hey, you’ve got to get going, you’ve got to step up.' Mentally it hasn’t changed for me. I’ve got to go out there and prepare every day, so I’m ready when the call comes.”

McClure, who is down from 224 to 212 pounds, looks like a linebacker playing in the secondary.

“I have dropped 12 pounds so I can move a little better on the DB side, but my build makes me look like a linebacker," he said. "I am just kind of going with the flow and wherever they put me I am just going to do what I have to do.”

McClure said the Pluck part of his nickname came from his aunt.

“Granddaddy Pluck,” McClure said. “So here we go, when I was younger I used to go to the bathroom and I used to watch Looney Tunes when I was younger. Plucky the duck would go to the bathroom and say, 'Water go down the hole.’ I would always say that when I was younger - the same thing. My aunt just gave me that name and it stuck.”

'Granddaddy' was added by fifth-year safety Santos Ramirez, who is actually two years younger McClure.

“I think I’ve got two (years) on him, but he’s about to get out of here,” McClure said.

McClure signed with Arkansas to play baseball in 2011, but was drafted in the fourth round by the Indians in 2012 and signed. He played in 108 games, but never rose about Class A and batted .219.

McClure joined the Razorback football program in 2016 as a wide receiver and played five games with one tackle before deciding not to play in 2017.

But McClure stayed in school and chose to return when Chad Morris was hired as head coach last December.

“It was hard,” McClure said. “I was just working with younger hitters so just watching my boys play. I was like, ‘These are my dudes.’ I still hung out with them. It was just hard hearing them talk about a game when you know you were supposed to be there playing, so it was pretty hard."

He is excited about playing for a defense headed up by defensive coordinator John Chavis and his secondary coaches Ron Cooper and Mark Smith.

“I love it,” McClure said. “When you have guys like Coach Coop, Coach Smith and Coach Chavis and the other guys over there, they bring energy. It is just get out and play fast. I love physicality and that is what Chief (Chavis) preaches. So it is just fun to play for him.”

Arkansas was in full pads for the first time Wednesday.

“When we get in the pads, the energy always goes up a little bit,” McClure said. “It was fun and I thought we were flying around a little bit and everybody had that excitement. That’s what you want to see the first day of pads.”

There were a few periods of live work on Wednesday.

“I want to say we went two or three,” McClure said. “They were fast. Our first one was 10 plays and no subs. That was fast and everybody was flying around. Nobody was trying to hurt a teammate, just trying to keep everybody safe, just pop and get ready for the season.”

The Razorbacks are scheduled to have a closed scrimmage Saturday.

“It’s definitely time to show it,” McClure said. “ Every day, we’re all we’re all working....It’s definitely going to be a big test Saturday, but we get to do it so we’re going to go out there and do it. We’re going to bring the energy. Everybody’s going to play. I’m cheering on all my brothers, and I bet they’ll go out there and do what they’ve got to do.”


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