Archive for Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Keegan: DT funny, friendly, fierce

December 12, 2007

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KU trio tapped as AP All-Americans

Kansas University juniors Anthony Collins and Aqib Talib were named to the All-America first team by the Associated Press on Tuesday. In addition, KU senior James McClinton was named to the second team. Enlarge video

To spend 14 minutes interviewing outgoing Kansas University senior defensive tackle James McClinton is to laugh a lot, to witness scripture quoted accurately, to hear the word "man" 15 times and "hecks no" three times, to discover his fear of sting rays, and to learn what it was like growing up in a house with five sisters and nary a brother.

"The remote control is like the lord of the rings. If you get that remote control, you control the TV," McClinton said of life at home in Garland, Texas. "They like to watch their girlie shows, and I like to watch manly shows. ... One time, they jumped on me. My hand was out with the remote control and they were trying to get it out of my hands."

When McClinton intercepted a pass in the victory at Colorado, he looked to be on a mission to return it 71 yards for a touchdown. A Colorado player had better luck prying the football out his hands than his sisters had with the TV remote.

McClinton said his favorite play of the season was Aqib Talib's 100-yard interception return. Mine was McClinton's would-be 71-yard return. A photograph of Talib making the interception at the apex of his jump showed him smiling.

"Man, he enjoys playing the game," McClinton said. "What do you expect, man? I didn't know he was going to house it. I thought he was going to at least take a knee in the end zone and get it on the 20."

Are you sure you weren't trying to "house it," James?

"Hecks no, man, I was looking to pitch that thing off, man," McClinton said, laughing at the question. "I was looking at the clock. I was like: 'How much time we got left? If there's a clearing I know I'm not gonna make it, so if I can get it to somebody, we can probably gets some points off of that.'"

He's funny and friendly out of uniform, fearsome on the field, an ideal blend for a football star marketing his university.

He said he's looking forward to the Orange Bowl in part because he'll see the ocean. He said he might have been to a beach once, but wasn't sure if he just dreamed it.

"I've never been to Florida, but man, I heard it's nice and beautiful," he said. "I think we're staying in a 10-star hotel. Two pools. You walk out of one pool, you'll be in another one. You walk a little farther, you'll be in the ocean."

McClinton said he will not go for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Hecks no, man, I'm not a good swimmer," he said. "Plus, they got sting rays in the water. That'll hurt."

Not that he isn't tough. Teammates laud him for going hard every single play in practice. He credits that to "staying prayed up."

"I play for the Lord," he said. "Colossians 3:23: 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the lord, not for men.' That's my style of play."

It has worked so well for McClinton he was named second-team All-America by the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Starting next year, the Good Guy Award should be added to the long list of honors for college football players. Call it the James McClinton Trophy.

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