Vista, California. Stefan McClure stands behind a microphone, ready to raise his voice to the heavens and announce which school and therefore which football program will be graced with his presence and immense talent. As the moment of truth nears, McClure reflects on everything he has been through to get to this point...
"At the ripe age of 5...months, my father would toss me a Nerf football as I laid in my crib. I had never felt something come to me so naturally as did my skills at catching the ball. The sport was in my blood."
"While playing Pop Warner football, I was the quarterback. Why? Because at that age the best athlete is the quarterback. I was the best athlete, so naturally I played quarterback. Watch me juke the jock-strap off of this 6-year-old!" (Takes off and humiliates 6-year-old.)
"Growing up in Vista has been great for me. I get to show everyone how awesome at football I am. There are so many people around here to see me. Maybe I should think about what college I will go to. After all, there will be so many of them that will offer me a scholarship!"
"Holy crap! I'm back-peddling faster than this fool can run! Damn I'm good at football!"
(Snatches an interception from the arms of a would-be receiver and races down the sideline for a touchdown.)
One year later...
(Continues intercepting passes from far inferior receivers and quarterbacks and racing down sidelines for touchdowns.)
(Reads recruiting ranking on rivals.com.)
"Oh man! Only four stars! I got jipped!"
"I was right. There are a lot of colleges that want me to come play for them. There have been hundreds of coaches in my living room, pleading for me to join their team. There would have been more, but I got screwed out of my fifth star by those recruiting rankings! Haters..."
"Alright! At the US Army All-American Bowl!"
(Snatches an interception and races down the sideline for an almost touchdown.)
"Damn! We still lost!"
(Visits schools that are recruiting him. On trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, his left eyelid freezes shut.)
"Holy crap it's cold here! -5 degrees and snow flurries just aren't for me! Sorry Brady Hoke!"
(Bolts for airport as soon as he can, scratching Michigan off of list while in transit.)
"I need to make a decision. My self-serving press conference/announcement is tomorrow morning. I didn't get a normal 'in-home' visit with Cal coaches. Heck, I didn't even take an official visit to Berkeley. That Coach Petersen from Boise State is the nicest guy I have ever met, but just being on campus at Cal, getting that feel in my heart where I know that could be the place, that's mainly why I feel that it is the place for me. I feel like I can go help contribute to what they're doing the next couple years. I would really like to get a really expensive California education for free! Who cares that I could start as a true freshman at Boise State, play in BCS Bowl Games, and get a great education at the same time. What about UCLA? Rick Neuheisel is kinda' creepy up there (shutters). It's settled then. To Berkeley I go. Besides, I like hemp-smoking hippies who live in trees!"
(Mind snaps back to the present, the microphone is ready.)
"I'm going to be a California Golden Bear! I have something to offer and that was one of the main reasons I picked them. Plus, you can't pass up the education. It's really the depth chart, the schooling, it's a good conference with tough games every week and it's far away from home, but still close enough that my parents will be able to make some home games."
(Snatches an interception from the arms of a would-be Oregon receiver and races down the sideline for a touchdown.)
"Too bad our offense sucks."
The not-so-distant future...
(McClure and the rest of the Golden Bears finish yet another 5-7 season in the most underwhelming, underachieving fashion.)
"Hey, at least we almost beat Oregon..."
(Goes home and watches Boise State beat Texas in the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.)