May 11, 2009
Is Clements checking out the Vols?
Eduardo Clements can't help that his spring football practices at Miami's Booker T. Washington High School more closely resemble a college practice field. Only with more collegiate coaches.
A Rivals250 member for the upcoming 2010 signing class and currently the ninth-rated running back in the nation, Clements has seen coaches from Tennessee, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, West Virginia, Purdue, Wisconsin and various other schools swing by the practice field to see in person the skill-set that has led to double-digit offers from across the country.
Further, Clements is on a star-studded roster that likewise includes Lynden Trail, Jose Jose, Ted Meline, Quinton Dunbar and others.
"That's great," Clements said of the persistent college attention. "Some of the schools that do come out, I don't have an offer from yet but they're sending me a lot of letters. They can really see what I can do in practice. See what things I can bring to the program and also see players on my team that don't have scholarships (offered). It's a great incentive for them and also for me every day."
As noted, the 5-foot-10-inch, 185-pound Clements has heard consistently from Tennessee -- both in the form of recruiting mailings and South Florida recruiting force Eddie Gran, the Vols' first-year running backs coach. Clements has watched with interest the changing perception of the Tennessee program since Lane Kiffin was named head coach in December.
Now he expects to visit the UT campus next month.
"Tennessee has a wonderful program. I've looked at the brochures, all the mail at school and at my house. I like the whole program," said Clements, who's rushed for a combined 1,850 yards and 41 touchdowns the past two seasons. "I like the new attitude of their new coach, Lane Kiffin. If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best. That's something he's working on. I believe it's going to be a close game this year with them and Florida. The type of attitude he's got makes players want to come to that program, and it's something I'm looking into."
Clements' versatility also has piqued the interest of college coaches -- especially those at Tennessee who have indicated the elusive speedster could help the team in a variety of roles.
"They've talked about me coming in and playing special teams right away and maybe receiver. I'm going to compete for my position, but me playing receiver doesn't matter," Clements said. "I'm going to make big plays when I catch the ball."
And it's his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield that sets him apart from his peers, Clements explained.
"Awareness, vision, catching ball out of backfield," Clements said are his strengths. "Many backs don't do that (catch the ball well) out of high school. That's something I really work on and really think that's my strength I have over any other running back in Dade (County) or in the state.
"Since Optimist (youth league football), that's something I've always worked on. A lot of coaches ask me do I have a problem playing receiver or running back, but it don't matter. Whatever I play I'm going to make big plays whether it's at receiver or running back."
Clements has an action-packed stretch on the camps circuit awaiting him when spring camp and school break for the summer.
"I've got a whole lot of camps; 7-on-7 camps with the team, there's a South Florida camp I'm going to, Tennessee's camp, me and Lynden Trail are going to the michigan camp. Florida State and the UM camps."
Does Clements expect to return to Knoxville in the fall?
"There's a lot of guys from our school with offers and probably all of us will go on a visit to Tennessee," he said.
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