Interview: Dexter McCluster
One of my favorite guys at the Senior Bowl has been the speedy all-purpose back, Dexter McCluster. Dexter has stolen the show in Mobile and is really flashing his explosiveness when the ball is in his hands. I had the chance to sit down with Dexter and talk about his Senior Bowl experience and how he thinks he’ll be utilized at the next level. Continue reading below for the full transcript of our conversation.
Spencer: Alright, I’m just gonna throw it out there. How often do you get mistaken for Lil’ Wayne?
McCluster: All the time man. All the time. Some people come up to me and are like ‘Are you Lil’ Wayne?’ I’m like, ‘Nah, I’ve got the gap, he’s got the grill’ (pointing to his teeth), so I’m good.
Spencer: What’s your Senior Bowl experience been like so far?
McCluster: Ah man, it’s been great. Coming in to it, people told me about it but you can never imagine something like this. It’s a once in a life time type deal. So I’m enjoying it, enjoying talking to everybody, including you, (laughs) and all the teams. Practice is great. It’s fast tempo and everything is just going. We’re learning with NFL coaches, so you can’t go wrong.
Spencer: What have the coaches been talking to you about or wanting to see from you on the practice field?
McCluster: Well, they wanna really see me do more special teams. I had been pushing to do that in college but they gave me that deal of ‘we don’t wanna get you hurt, we wanna keep you fresh because you’re kind of the engine of this team.’ So I was just like, just let me loose, let me do it. But they’ll let me do it now in the Senior Bowl. They wanna see me play slot receiver, which I know I can, I’ve just got to show them that I can do it. But pretty much I’ll be every where, so I’ll be ready.
Spencer: You’re kind of a jack of all trades, but what’s your favorite thing? Do you like to run the ball more, catch more, return more, what do you prefer?
McCluster: I’ll say this. I like the ball in my hands early. I feel like I can make some good decisions with it in my hands early.
Spencer: What’s the best thing that you bring to the table for an NFL team? If I’m a scout and you can tell me one thing about your game to make me draft you, what would that be?
McCluster: I would say my heart, my passion and my dedication. My heart is so big, man. A lot of people come to me all the time and say ‘You’re 165 pounds, how do you do it?’ And I look at them and tell them, you know what? I’ve got the heart of a lion. I’m not scared of nobody. I’m gonna compete and go toe to toe with you and we’ll see what happens.
Spencer: Was there ever a doubt in your mind that you’d participate in the Senior Bowl, or was this something that you really had to think about before making a decision?
McCluster: It’s another opportunity to compete and just show that I’m an all around player. You may look at me and think that I’m on the small side but at the end of the day, I’m gonna show you that I’m a big guy.
Spencer: What does the success of smaller backs like Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice do for you and your draft stock?
McCluster: It helps me out. Just seeing them have that type of success at the next level just shows that, you know what, I can do that too.
Spencer: Are there any particular NFL players that you like to model your game after?
McCluster: You just said one, Chris Johnson, and Barry Sanders. That’s my man right there, man.
Spencer: What are you looking forward to the most throughout the draft process?
McCluster: I’m looking forward to just showcasing my abilities. Just letting them know that I’m an all around football player. That’s what I’m looking foward to.
Spencer: Have you had a chance to interview with any teams yet?
McCluster: I have. It’s been good. I’ve sat down with the Buccaneers, talked to them a little bit. Of course the Dolphins, since they’re coaching us and a couple more people. It’s been good. I’m just getting some feedback from them and them feeling me out and me feeling them out, and hopefully building a relationship with them.
Spencer: What are scouts saying to you about how they’d like to use you for their team in the NFL?
McCluster: Slot receiver and returner. Some of them say, maybe we can use you as a change of pace back, which I’d have no objections. So if they ask me, where do I see myself in the NFL, I say, ‘I see myself where ever you put me.’
Spencer: Do you have any particular draft day goals? Is it important for you to be drafted in a certain round?
McCluster: Yeah, you always wanna go first round. That’s been my goal, that’s my passion. So I’m gonna keep working at it and see what happens. If it doesn’t happen, whatever round I’m in, I’m gonna make sure I stay with it.
Spencer: What kind of 40 time do you think you’ll run at the Combine?
McCluster: In the 4.3 range.
Spencer: Thanks a lot Dexter, I really appreciate your time.
McCluster: No, thank you, man.