GREENSBORO — The summer between his high school and college football careers will not be one Terrence Clyburn remembers as one of leisure and rest.
Through June and July, Clyburn has made it pretty clear this summer has not been a vacation. Rather, he's been hard at work.
One of the most electrifying players to come through North Meck High in recent years, Clyburn is working out three times per day — beginning with a daily two-mile run at 4 a.m. — intent on making the most of the opportunity he has to play on scholarship at UNC-Pembroke.
Clyburn put his honed skills on display during the East-West All-Star Game July 18 at Greensboro Grimsley High's Jamieson Stadium. Former North Meck coach Mike Bradley served as an assistant in the game, and said Clyburn's commitment to offseason work showed as he dominated West practice all week as a receiver.
"He had another gear this week that he didn't have last season," said Bradley.
Clyburn finished the East-West game with four catches for 35 yards and also was the team's primary kick returner. However, the East team routinely forced touchbacks, so Clyburn returned just one kick, taking it 26 yards.
The play that best showed his ability, however, did not go in the official stats of the game the East won 34-9. With the West trailing 14-3 early in the second quarter, Clyburn caught the ball on a bubble screen play to the left. He cut inside behind two blocks, made a few defenders miss, bounced to the right and raced down an open sideline to the end zone. The 78-yard scoring play, though, was negated because of a penalty.
"I don't even wanna speak about that," Clyburn said, laughing. "That just takes life out of me."
Clyburn spent a week in Greensboro, practicing and spending time with some of the state's top players in the 2012 class. He even met a few players who will join him at UNC-Pembroke when he reports Aug. 7.
"It was great," said Clyburn. "I met a lot of good people I'm gonna be friends with for a lifetime."
Along with his series of two-mile runs this summer, Clyburn has been lifting weights in the morning, then doing speed and agility drills in the afternoon. At night, he ices down, stretches and gets in another light workout. He wants to be a personal trainer after his playing career is over, and he's being tough on himself and the occasional friend who stops by.
"Everyone who has come over and tried my workout has cried," said Clyburn, with a grin.
Bradley gets back on the sidelines
The East-West game was a positive experience for Bradley as well.
Former Viking coach Mike Bradley speaks with West kicker Chad Hollandsworth. Bradley served as an assistant in the game.
Bradley, who this winter retired after three years as Vikings head coach, was selected to the six-member West coaching staff. A 32-year veteran who has coached throughout the state, Bradley said he enjoyed the opportunity to serve as an offensive assistant in the game.
"It's been a fun week," he said. "I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. The kids were great. Every coach should have the experience of being here for a week."
Bradley enjoyed sharing ideas and game planning with the staff led by Asheville Erwin's Mike Sexton. And he said the moments away from the field, such as shopping for a blue blazer for a player who didn't have one, were memorable as well.
Since leaving North, Bradley has been pursuing franchise opportunities with the Jersey Mike's sandwich shop chain and working at the company's Cornelius store. For a New Jersey native named Mike, it's been, in many ways, a natural fit.
But he is also not ruling out a return to coaching. Since arriving at Hopewell to be the Titans' first head coach in 2001, Bradley has been a fixture on the local sidelines. He coached Hopewell for four years, then was an assistant for four seasons on Glen Padgett's staff at North prior to becoming head coach.
And he said it's the relationships with young men such as Clyburn that have always made coaching worthwhile.
"Any time I need something, I know I can call him," said Clyburn.