Jarrod Clements Explains Illini Commitment

The Fighting Illini football coaching staff has been on a recruiting roll recently and is up to nine verbal commitments for the 2013 class. One of the stalwarts of that group is Ohio defensive end Jarrod Clements. Unavailable for an interview at the time of his decision, he is making up for it now.

Jarrod Clements explains his commitment to Illinois, where he will play defensive end.

"Coach Beckman gave me my first offer at Toledo, then again at Illinois, which made me feel he really wanted me and was dedicated to me as a player. Plus, I have a good chance to play early, which is important to me."

Although fun at times, the 6'-3", 270 pounder is relieved his recruiting process is finally finished.

"It just feels like Illinois is where I'm supposed to be and takes the pressure off thinking about where I'm going to go to school."

Clements was recruited by tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Alex Golesh. Golesh played a big part in making Clements a future Illini.

"That's my boy. We have a great relationship; we talk probably three to four times a week."

On his Illini visits, he also built a relationship with senior defensive end Michael Buchanan.

"He is a really cool guy. He was down-to-earth, and I would like to get to know him more as a person. So I'm kind of salty I won't be able to learn under him my freshman year."

Illinois has had success getting players to the NFL the past couple years, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Since 2009, Illinois has had cornerback Vontae Davis, defensive tackle Corey Liuget and defensive end Whitney Mercilus drafted in the first round. Clements admitted that played some role in his commitment.

"It did and didn't make an impact. Making the NFL is my ultimate dream, but I still want more from college than that. Plus, I always wanted to play in the Big 10."

Clements has been impressing many scouts lately. He recently attended the NFTC and was praised as one of the best defensive players at the camp until he came down with an ankle injury. He shared aspects of his game that make him prosper.

"My first step, my get off, and just my the feel for the game."

There is only one major part of his game he wants to improve before he gets to Illinois.

"I just want to work on my speed for now."

Clements played for Dunbar High School in Dayton, Ohio, during the 2011 season. Although his stock continued to rise during the season, he wasn't content with the outcome.

"It went okay. I thought I should have played better because I had bigger goals I didn't reach--some personal and some team, like winning state."

After contemplating the decision for awhile, he decided to transfer to Trotwood-Madison High School, a highly-touted football program. He is looking forward to a great 2012 season.

"Next year will be a new team, a new beginning, and I just want to win state before I get out of high school."

Clements confirmed he is solid on Illinois and has a message for all Illinois fans.

"I wanted to thank all Illini fans for welcoming me to the family, and go Illini!"

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