Bloomington – When Warsaw (Ind.) H.S. junior quarterback Justin Clemens began playing football as a youth, he stood out for a different reason than he does today.
At the elementary school level, Clemens dominated the game not with his ability to throw the ball or run with it, but instead his skill at protecting others who were trying to do the same. Since Clemens was bigger than just about everyone else, he found himself playing along the offensive line during those early days.
"It's fun when you're bigger than everyone else to play offensive line, but I wanted to show I could do things with the ball," Clemens said.
Clemens got that chance beginning in junior high school, and he's continued to blossom ever since. Now, the 6'3", 218-pounder has positioned himself to be one of the most heavily recruited quarterbacks in the state for the 2010 class.
An all-conference tight end as a sophomore, Clemens was Warsaw's starting quarterback this past fall and rushed for 520 yards and passed for another 778 on a team that went 6-5. With a year of starting experience under his belt and an offensive line that should show improvement from a year ago, many expect Clemens to have a breakout senior season.
But even in only one year as a starter, Clemens has already caught the attention of a handful of college programs. Indiana, Duke, Iowa, Stanford, Purdue, Michigan State and Vanderbilt are among the schools that have been showing interest. While he's still waiting on his first scholarship offer, it's becoming apparent that Clemens will likely get the chance to play high major Division I football after high school.
"It's been exciting because since I was a kid I've always wanted to play big college football," Clemens said.
Could Indiana ultimately be Clemens' pick? He admits that Notre Dame is probably his favorite school since he has grown up in the area, but considers Indiana a close second. The Hoosiers have also been among the schools showing the most interest early on, which could also give them an edge.
"Indiana has been showing a lot of interest," Clemens said. "During the season I got one or two letters a week letting me know how their season was going, and I made it down to one game with my coach. It's a great atmosphere and it would be great to play there someday."
Clemens said he's hoping to get down to Bloomington soon for one of IU's Junior Days, and he could be headed to town in the summer as well for one of IU's one-day camps. Those trips could help him eventually earn a scholarship offer, and that's something he's looking forward to as the recruiting process begins to heat up.
"I'm really looking forward to getting that first offer. The way it's going now, without offers, it's nice to talk to the coaches and stuff, but until the offer is there it doesn't mean that much," Clemens said.
Warsaw's Clemens Standing Tall in 2010 Class
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