Has Eugene Clifford been the best kept secret in the country? Coaches in the Big Ten must think so. Programs from the traditionally rugged conference have placed this special athlete near the top of their boards for quite some time, while the rest of the country only recently began to join the party.
The Tennessee Volunteers were the latest to throw their hats into the ring and Clifford has noticed that the attention being channeled in his direction has increased. As his recruitment began to ramp up, his parents gave him some very sage advice about how to proceed.
“They said to just take it easy and take my visits to see what school is right for me," said Clifford. “When I was young I didn’t expect to be in this situation now it has gotten a little crazy. I get about 20 text messages a day. We are just taking it all in right now with recruiting. I'm just looking to go to a good school with a good winning tradition and that has good people that are hard workers and that I get along with."
When discussing what he is looking for in a college coach, Clifford indicated that everyday he sees a vivid example of exactly what he hopes to find. "I'd like for it to be someone like my high school coach, Kerry Combs," said Clifford. “I want it to be someone I can depend on, trust, and that will help me out when I need it.”
Michigan and Ohio State have been the programs most actively pursuing this elite prospect. For the wolverines, defensive coordinator Ron English has spearheaded the effort, and he and Clifford have established a very nice rapport.
“Coach English texted me (Monday)," said Clifford. "I like Coach English. He is cool and fun. I like his personality. He is just cool to talk to, and he's dedicated. He believes in me enough to think that I could possibly start my freshmen year. I felt good hearing that. It made me feel like I could play at that level. I will be at the Michigan Camp again for sure to work with him."
GoBlueWolverine will have more on Clifford in the coming weeks.