When California offensive line coach Zach Yenser offered 6-foot-4, 275-pound Camas (Wash.) offensive lineman Drew Clarkson on Monday evening, he did so just a few days after the 3.48-GPA student took his Advanced Placement English test – his third AP exam in the past two years.
Clarkson has already gotten a four on the AP World History exam, and is well on his way to acing the English and US History tests. Why does he challenge himself like that?
"The teachers have definitely prepared us a lot. That's the reason I took the AP classes: You're in an environment where people actually care, and you have the good teachers. You have the best of the best as far as teachers go. It's definitely the best of both worlds," Clarkson said.
The best of both worlds perfectly characterizes what Clarkson got when Yenser extended the scholarship offer – both world-class education and a program on the way back to the top.
"It was pretty cool. Coach [Barry] Sacks had come out [last] Monday, just kind of seeing how I am, measurables and what not. Coach Yenser said he'd come up the next Monday, so he came up here, and I love both of the coaches. Coach Yenser's a really cool guy. I liked that he preached more than just football," Clarkson said. "He talked all about academics and me as a person, and just on and off the field, being the best. I thought that was pretty cool."
The way in which Yenser offered Clarkson also appealed to the 2014 prospect, who previously had offers from Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington.
"We talked and he actually kind of started with what he liked about me, and he said, ‘That's why we'd like to offer you,'" Clarkson said. "I answered some questions and we just talked about the program and everything that's going on right now, the atmosphere, the facilities and the campus, the education -- it went really well."
Clarkson admits that he didn't know much about the Bears before they began recruiting him, but what he's learned since then has Cal clearly out in front.
"I can feel there's a lot of energy going on. It's a program that's trying to be rebuilt. I get that there's a lot of energy, and it's definitely a cool thing," Clarkson said. "I didn't really know too much before I called him, just because I wasn't even expecting a Pac-12 offer, but once I do a little more research, and they've been sending me all the pamphlets and stuff about the school, everything I'm seeing and reading about are positive things.
"To be honest, I didn't even expect to get any Pac-12 offers, so this whole thing is very new to me. You always hear about the top schools in the Pac-12 are Cal and Stanford, as far as academic stuff, so it's definitely pretty cool, thinking that I could get an extremely good education and still get to do what I love for another four or five years."
Now, Clarkson has a fairly good understanding of just what Yenser and the Bears bring to the table, including how the new Bear Raid offense will go about its business.
"I know all the stuff that coach Yenser and the other coaches have done at other programs, and their success, and I love the offense that they run -- a lot of smash-mouth football and lots of running, which is what I like," Clarkson said. "We do lots of pulling. Lots of times, I'll be pulling and blocking in space, and that's definitely something that they'll be doing a lot, lots of zone blocking. It's definitely very similar to the style I've been playing at the high school level, so it would be fun. I love to block in the open space and I love to run the ball. It just completely fits."
Another perfect fit? The educational profile, of course.
"Education," Clarkson said, "is definitely a big priority for me."
Clarkson intends on visiting campus some time in mid-July.
Clarkson Talks Educational Opportunity
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