McClendon, a 6-3, 330-pound sophomore guard from Chattanooga, recently hoisted 560 pounds in the bench press, cracking the old record of 555.
Vol strength and conditioning coach Johnny Long described Jacques McClendon’s feat as “quite an accomplishment,” adding: “We just need to get him to play some football now and not worry about weights any more.”
A former high school All-American, McClendon started Tennessee’s Outback Bowl loss to Penn State last January but finished spring practice stuck behind first-team guards Ramon Foster and Anthony Parker.
McClendon isn’t the only Vol who has made significant strides in the weight room this summer. Long said redshirt freshman tight end Luke Stocker broke the program record in the back-squat, adding that junior linebacker Jerod Mayo and senior offensive tackle Eric Young each had “a great offseason” and that junior defensive end Robert Ayers “has come on real strong.”
Long conceded that his preseason reports each year tend to be positive but suggested this year’s Vols are working even harder than usual on conditioning.
Said Long: “The guys that are wearing these orange shirts have paid a price this summer.”