The sour taste is still fresh in the mouth Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington tailback Eduardo Clements. The disappointing end to his junior campaign has provided even more motivation for him to work hard during the offseason.
"Last year we made it to the state regionals and lost by three points," he said. "I had a good season, but we had a young line so I wouldn't that it's the best I can be. This year it's going to waaay different. A lot different."
Clements is aiming for a repeat of his successful sophomore year during which he led his high school to a state title. Despite not reaching the championship mountain top with his team last year, he still earned recognition from Scout.com as the Sunshine State's most complete back. His versatility makes him a load for opponents to deal with every time he takes the field, and he knows it.
"My height is 5-10, my weight is 190, and my fastest forty time this year is a 4.36," reported Clements. "I'm very unique, have nice vision, and can break away anytime. I can make a play anytime and I have hands out of the backfield like a receiver… something like a Bryant Westbrook. "
With that kind of skill set it's not surprising that his scholarship tally recently reached 22. That said, he was taken aback by which school #22 came from.
"I received (a Michigan offer) like two or three weeks ago," Clements said. "It was a surprise. The coaches had already said that they were going to offer me, but I really didn't see the offer. Once I finally got it, I believed it."
"I've been interested in Michigan for a while," he continued. "Just the whole running style of the team… the running back is a workhouse. You get the ball 25 to 30 times per game. That's something I want to be into."
Also helping the Maize & Blue's cause is a former Wolverine that just happens to be one of Clements' relatives.
"My cousin Tyrone Butterfield went to Michigan with Charles Woodson and all of them," he reported. "He transferred to Tennessee State but he told me Michigan had a good program and that I should look at them."
Now that the four-star tailback is giving the Wolverines a serious look, they'll have to clear two hurdles commonly put forth their opposition; distance and weather.
"Distance is not a problem because I ran summer track and we travel," he explained. "I've just got to see my family one or two games. That is one thing I really think about. My mom is very open minded. She wants me to do what's best for me. If that's traveling to Michigan or West Virginia or something like that, she is going to be with it, but I know she is going to miss me because I'm the youngest. The biggest things will be my family and the education. It's not even about me playing (early)… just me contributing to the team."
"As for the weather, I haven't thought about that yet," Clements later added. "It gets cold in Miami, but not like in Michigan (laughing). That would be a new experience. I'd just have to get use to it. I'd have to get a lot of new clothes (laughing)."
While it's clear that the Wolverines aren't just a passing presence in this recruitment, Clemons makes it clear that Michigan and 20 of his other suitors are chasing his current frontrunner.
"Right now my top school is Georgia," he said. "It's been since the coach came down and gave me my offer. I've been on unofficial to Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Probably to Florida State again and to Georgia this summer. I'm going to take all of my official visits too."
Those visits will be a pivotal part of determining the eventual winner of this race. Clements insists that during those trips each of his suitors will have ample opportunity to win him over.
"There's not really a timeline (for making a decision)," he stated. "It will just come down to the school that I go to and feel I have a bond with the coaches and the school I feel is home to me. That's when I'll make my decision."