Ever since Sammamish Totems senior football player Tao McClinton set foot on the football field as a freshman in the fall of 2014, he dreamed of one day playing collegiate football.
Fast forward to December 2017: McClinton’s dream is officially a reality. McClinton announced on his Twitter page on Dec. 21 that he had committed to the Sacramento State University Hornets Division-1 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) program.
“It is just a blessing. I couldn’t be more grateful that Sacramento State took a chance on me. This has been my dream,” McClinton said during an interview on Jan. 10 in Bellevue. “When I got to Sammamish, it was kind of unheard of (Sammamish players committing to collegiate football programs). I’m just grateful. I’m the kid who did it. It is a fantastic opportunity.”
McClinton, who played receiver and safety during the 2017 season for the Totems, said he will play a hybrid wide receiver/tight end position for Sacramento State. The 6-foot, 5-inch 210-pounder said the decision to commit to Sacramento State was an easy one.
“I took the official visit,” McClinton said. “The coaches showed me some of their film, they showed me some of my film and showed me where I fit in. I felt wanted and felt I could really succeed there. Obviously athletically I would like to see how far I can go in football and see where it takes me. Academically, I plan on studying kinesiology and one of my dreams is to be a physical therapist in the future.”
McClinton credited his mother, grandfather, older brother, Totems’ head coach Rylen Akana, 7-on-7 coach Michael Bumpus, trainer Tracy Ford and trainer Greg Prator for playing a pivotal factor in his ascent to the world of collegiate football. While college is on the immediate horizon for McClinton, the senior will always look back upon his senior season with the Totems football program in 2017 with the fondest of memories. The Totems put together an overall record of 4-5, registering victories against Kingston, Franklin, Bainbridge Island and Highline in Akana’s first season as head coach.
“Coach (Akana) made a huge difference,” McClinton said. “He was motivated to come in and change the program. As one of the only seniors on the team this year, I was one of the people that recognized it. It was one of the best seasons we’ve had in a long time.”
McClinton is committed to representing the Sammamish football program with pride throughout his collegiate career.
“Now that I have accomplished it, all of these kids that are underclassman who are some of my best friends and teammates, they know they can do it too.”