Beyond the Game: Former pro baseball player D'Vone McClure is a home run for Chad Morris


If the season opener is any indication, Chad Morris has a nicklelback who can hit out of this park.

McClure, a former wide receiver at Jacksonville High School, tallied a sack and forced fumble in his first career start.

He is the first to admit that his path to starting a college football game is anything but ordinary.

"It's a good story," he told KATV at the team's media day in early August.

A Louisville Slugger all-American in high school, he committed to play college baseball for Dave Van Horn. Money talks, though. In 2012, the Cleveland Indians selected him in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He accepted a signing bonus of $765,000 and played four seasons as a center fielder in the Indians' minor league system, hitting .219.

When Cleveland eventually released him, McClure said he was ready to move on.

"I guess it wasn't fun for me anymore. It could've been the organization I was in. It just wasn't fun.

"I'm kind of a guy that's real loose in the locker room. I like to joke around with my teammates. Most baseball dudes aren't like that. They're pretty serious. Some of them are a little soft."

Back in the batters box of life, McClure enrolled at the University of Arkansas. He decided to play football, and was on and off Bret Bielema's teams.

"I thought I was burnt out with it," he said.

When Chad Morris was hired, McClure made the decision to put the pads on once more.

"It's just like a new team. It's a new environment. I needed that fresh start. Coaches welcomed me with open arms, so did the players. So I mean, I'm so glad I came back. It's probably one of the better decisions I made in my life."

Now 24 years old, McClure has sophomore eligibility in the sport. Seeing his potential, Morris surprised him with a scholarship a week before the season opener.

One game into the season, it appears McClure will be a key contributor to the Razorbacks' defense.

"I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. I think God has a plan for me here. I committed to Arkansas in baseball, now I'm here playing football. I got here some way and I'm going to make the most of it. I can tell you that much."

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