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    Courtesy photo Marcus McClinton as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats Football Team. McClinton graduated from the school with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Leadership Development in 2009.

    From football fields to flight lines, Sailor achieves goals

    Photo By Kaylee Larocque | Courtesy photo Marcus McClinton as a member of the Kentucky Wildcats Football Team....... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Naval Air Station Jacksonville

    By setting goals early in his life, Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) Airman Marcus McClinton of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 has worked hard to see his dreams come true. As several of those goals faded over the years, he has reestablished a new list of goals by joining the Navy eight months ago.
    McClinton, 33, grew up in Chicago and later moved to Fort Campbell, Kentucky where he graduated high school and was a top football player. Earning a full scholarship for the sport at the University of Kentucky (UK), McClinton proved his skill in the game and leadership abilities as the “Wildcats” free safety. Earning a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Leadership Development in 2009, McClinton strived to continue fulfilling another goal of becoming a musician.
    His love for music inspired him to write and record several songs including, “We Believe,” a rally song for UK football games, and perform the national anthem before games.
    “My goals at the time were to become a professional football player and an R&B star,” said McClinton. “In my senior year, I realized I was a good enough football player to go to the NFL so I started interviewing agents and trained.”
    To achieve the first goal, McClinton went to the National Football League Players Association Collegiate Bowl All-Star game for draft-eligible college football players and the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis performing physical/mental testing in front of NFL coaches, general managers, scouts. His efforts paid off as he was signed by the New England Patriots.
    “I put myself out there to try to be signed,” he said. “A UK teammate named Myron Pryor and I worked out together. Myron was tired and I was motivating him. It moved the scout so much that he recommended the Patriots sign me to push their draft pick, Patrick Chung. I thought it was one of the greatest opportunities in the world! My first goal was to get a Division 1 scholarship and my next goal was to go to the NFL. It was crazy. Everything I set out to accomplish, wrote on a piece of paper, focused on, finally came true.”
    Unfortunately, that dream was short-lived. “I made it to Patriots,” said McClinton. “Each morning, Coach Bill Belichick shows highlights and lowlights on how players perform during practice. I made it to the highlights and in the local paper so I’m believing the hype. When you walk into the door every morning, there is a sign that says, ‘don’t listen to the noise.’ Unfortunately, I didn’t do that.”
    “I asked the defensive coordinator when I would get the chance to play with the top players,” he continued. “The following week, they put me in for three plays with another new guy. We had three bad plays, almost back-to-back and made the lowlights. Two weeks later, I came to the door and was determined to not listen to the noise and get better. Unfortunately, there were two Patriots reps waiting for us and we were let go. I got my walking papers and it broke my heart.”
    “I was at the pinnacle of my goals,” he said. “But then I realized I was more of a fan and was star-struck that my locker was across from the top football players in the world. I didn’t go in with motivation. I went in as a fan.”
    Moving on, McClinton kept training and pressing for that next opportunity.
    “I continued playing football with the United Football League California Redwoods,” he said. “Then I played in the Arena Football League with the Chicago Rush and had a hamstring issue so that didn’t last long. From there, I went on to coach and play in the Ultimate Indoor Football League. I was still chasing that dream going to tryouts to get back to the NFL.”
    When the BP oil spill happened off the Louisiana coast in 2010, McClinton received a phone call from a former UK teammate who was helping with the clean-up. “I ended up on the beaches working as a technician and supervisor cleaning up the oil,” he said.
    When that job ended, McClinton went back to Illinois to try his luck as an R&B vocalist. “My cousin and I did some demos,” he said. “We were offered to perform at a show, so I hired a band with the last $300 I had, quit my job and did the show. An investor saw us perform and offered to back us so we recorded an album and did a mini-tour.”
    His next endeavor was to open a gym to continue working as a trainer and promote his love for physical fitness. “Then I met my wife and we had a daughter and son,” he said. “I realized that I needed to do something more to support my family. We moved to Clarksville, Tennessee where I recorded several music videos and taught special education and coached at a local high school.”
    After talking to his older brother, Leon, a chief petty officer stationed at the Navy Recruiting Leadership Academy in Pensacola, Florida, McClinton decided to follow in his footsteps and join the Navy in 2018.
    “I decided to enlist to provide stability for my family,” he said. “My brother serves, my sister-in-law is in the Navy, another sister is in the Army and my youngest sister just completed her enlistment in the Navy. We are a military family so this was what I needed to do.”
    After completing boot camp at Naval Recruiting Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, McClinton attended Aviation Structural Mechanic (Equipment) “A” School in Pensacola, Florida and P-8A Poseidon “C” School in Jacksonville. He then reported to VP-5 which recently left on deployment to Kadena, Japan.
    “I love the Navy! It reminds me of the Patriots – it’s a team and every job matters,” said McClinton. “I put on the uniform every day and have an opportunity to be an asset to the team.”
    McClinton’s list of goals has definitely changed over the years but he continues to strive for those he continues to set.
    “Now, I plan to stay in the Navy and make chief,” he said. “Even though I’ve earned my degree and probably could have gone the officer route, I wanted to start at the bottom. I don’t know much about the Navy. As an athlete, I wouldn’t want to be coached by a coach who didn’t know anything about football and who didn’t play in the trenches. That’s how I am. I plan to work my way up.”
    Looking ahead even further, McClinton’s goals are to buy some land near UK and build a home for his family where they can sit on the porch and watch sunrises and sunsets.



    Date Taken: 04.15.2019
    Date Posted: 04.16.2019 12:13
    Story ID: 318164
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US 

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