Citadel's McCladdie looking to the next level

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's a done deal. Now former Lenoir-Rhyne head coach Mike Houston is the new head football coach at The Citadel.The school has not officially released the information, but has called a press conference to Thursday morning.But Houston's former employer has released a statement saying that Houston has resigned his post at the saying that Houston has resigned his post at the school to take over at The Citadel.{}Houston is 42 years old and spent the last seven years at Lenoir-Rhyne. Three of those were spent as the head coach where he led the Bears to the Division II national championship.{}Sources say there will be a shake-up in the coaching staff with Houston. He's bringing in five of his coaches with him.One guy who won't get to play for Houston at the Citadel is Brandon McCladdie. His time as a Citadel football player is done, but he's hoping his time as a football player is far from over.{}This week he's playing in the Medal of Honor Bowl and is this week's Athlete of the Week.They say there's no place like home, and there may not be a better place for McCladdie to forge a new home in the NFL than the place he spent his college years.{}"I've been practicing on that turf for five years every day. Every guy here is good. I try and perfect my technique," he said.{}It's east to do the work in frigid temperatures for McCladdie when the goal is so perfectly laid out in front of him. There will be at least 100 scouts from the NFL.{}"It would be everything. Growing up as a kid, it's what I always wanted to do. My dad said at 5 years old, 'If you keep doing what you're doing, you have a chance to do what guys do for the Dallas Cowboys,'" McCladdie said.The dreams seems far from attainable for most, especially for anyone coming out of The Citadel, but that's exactly what he's trying to sell this week as he competes with and against bigger guys from bigger schools.{}"I would hope the scouts know I'm a Citadel guy. Character takes you a long way. THey know what you do on and off the field," he said.{}McCladdie's a true student, cadet and athlete. In recent years, that's been a recipe for NFL success with guys like Andre Roberts and Cortez Allen doing well in the league.{}McCladdie is hoping to duplicate that magic.{}"Playing with Cortez, I spoke to him before the Medal of Honor Bowl. He said to make plays and anything is possible. I've seen those guys do it. It's a chance for me to," he said.{}It's one week with one chance to catch one set of eyes."It's definitely a good opportunity. I'm excited to be here on behalf of The Citadel and represent the school, my family, coaches, and friends. As far as scouts, I want to make an impact and change someone's opinion of small school guys," McCladdie said.{}'And if he makes it to that next level, this Athlete of the Week will hold that Citadel medal with honor.


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