New Kensington (Pa.) Valley wide receiver Toney Clemons still remembers watching his cousin Steve Breaston light up the keystone State during his impressive prep career. Now just a few years later, the Clemons finds himself in a very similar position…a star wideout setting the Keystone State abuzz. Having been through the recruiting process himself, Breaston has offered his advice when needed, but has stopped far short of simply lobbying for his current team.
"I just got off the phone with Steve," Clemons said. "He talks about Michigan sometimes, but he doesn't pressure me. We weren't really talking about it this time. We were just kicking it, talking about everyday life. He was asking me about my track season. He read an article about me breaking a record so he called me. It was a big meet. It was the Morgan Invitational Meet. I broke the hurdle record. It was a 14.29. I broke it twice. I broke it in the prelims with a 14.24, and I broke it in the finals with a 14.21. Steve was calling me to talk about that and the draft."
Breaston's call may not have had much to do with luring Clemons to Michigan, but a few contacts from a future Wolverine signal caller most certainly did. Ryan Mallett has seemingly been on a mission of late, contacting a number of prospective teammates about joining him in Ann Arbor. Clemons has been among those most frequently contacted.
"Yeah I talk to Ryan," said Clemons. "Everyday he'll call or text me one of his slogans. He's got a slogan going around now…, 'Come with we and win three.' I've been talking to Ryan all week. Actually I'm surprised I haven't heard from him today (Sunday). Yesterday he texted me another slogan. He said, 'headlines will read Clemons and Mallett…Class of 2009 National champs.' It was something crazy like that that only he thinks of. He's good at it. I wonder what the slogan for today would have been. (laughing)"
Prior to last week, Clemons didn't know much about Mallett other than what he read on the internet. To suddenly begin receiving calls from the 6-7 gunslinger was a bit surprising.
Photo by Gary Housteau, Bucknuts.com
"He wants me to come, but he's not really aggressive about it," Clemons continued. "He's cool about it. He's giving his insight, but he's also saying make the decision on your own. Right now he might be Michigan's number one recruiter. He's doing his job. It's going to be a big impact on a lot of guys. He could be a potential Heisman candidate. He has that kind of ability."
Phone conversations will likely be the only contact the Clemons and Mallett have for the foreseeable future, but that could change in a few months at Michigan's annual summer camp.
"Ryan wants me to come up there for the camp," said Clemons. "He said I could come up there and just check it out. He said if I wanted to work out I could. I've been considering going up there. I haven't been up there yet. I wanted to go up there for the spring game, but I was slacking. I didn't tell my mom in time so she was able to get the trip together. I'm thinking about going up there to at least check it out."
Mallett's persistence has certainly strengthened Michigan's case with Clemons. That said, the Wolverines are not the only ones using a top-rated signal caller to their advantage.
"Notre Dame is on me hard," Clemons said. "They use Clausen like Michigan uses Mallett. It's just crazy right now (laughing). It kind of overwhelming to me. Even some guys from Pitt say that about Bostic. I think he's leaning there. I'm not really sure right now. All I know is I'm just keeping it open. I don't have favorites right now."
One thing that could improve Michigan's standing even more would be scholarship offer. It appears that the big-play wideout may already have one, but there is still a little confusion over the matter.
"I'm not sure to tell you the truth," Clemons said regarding whether Michigan has offered him. "I've heard it, and Steve and Ryan asked me about it. I told them I didn't know. It's floating around, but it's not totally clear. People are talking to me like I'm offered already, but I don't know for sure. I've heard it a lot though. I talked to coach Loeffler and Coach Campbell and they told me they are coming to see me this week."
If/when the scholarship question gets cleared up, Clemons indicated that it would very likely strengthen Michigan's standing with him.
"It will open up the doors," he said. "It would be a big difference. It would shake things up as far as recruiting goes."