Here is what his head coach said about him: "His talent is unbelievable," said Coach Pogue. "It is not even close to being tapped yet. His size (6-5, 205) is impressive. He has an unbelievably strong arm. He can make all the throws that you want him to make. You know the more he plays, the better he will be. He started about the middle part of his 9th grade year for us. He is a winner. Every coach in the SEC have told he that there is no question that he is an SEC talent."
I had each player write down his height, weight, forty speed, maximum bench press and squat. An assistant coach confirmed the numbers. Here are Cliff's numbers.
What do you consider your strengths as a quarterback and football player?
"When I'm on the field, I like taking charge. I hate losing. That is why I do that. I hate it. I am very competitive. I can't even stand to lose in a board game."
How good do you feel you are reading defenses?
"I'm pretty good at that. I started reading them last year. When I was in the 9th and 10th grade nobody really talked to me much about it. Since I went to the camps, they have talked to me about it. I can read them pretty good now. I can read blitzes, where I need to throw it. Like Rovers, I can read when they drop back and know I need to throw a flair route. When they come up, I can throw the curl."
A lot of times a person becomes good at reading defenses because he has been playing quarterback a long time. How long have you been playing quarterback?
"Since the 7th grade."
What do you feel you need to improve on as a quarterback?
"Footwork. Like dropping back quicker."
What were your personal stats last season?
"I passed for 1,532 yards and 21 touchdowns. I completed 68% of my passes."
Have you earned any honors?
"I made All-District. I also was chosen Best Back."
Do you have any personal goals for next season?
"I want to be the best leader and best player that I can."
What camps did you attend last summer?
"The Ole Miss camp and the Manning Passing camp."
Do you plan on attending any camps this summer?
"Yes sir, the Ole Miss Senior camp, the Ole Miss three-day camp, the Manning Passing camp and the Alabama camp."
What schools are sending you letters?
"All the SEC schools, and Michigan, Iowa, UCLA, Indiana, Nebraska and a lot of other schools."
Have you grown up a fan of any particular school?
"Ole Miss. I guess I'm an Ole Miss fan because my dad is. I've been going to games there all my life. Although I'm an Ole Miss fan, I'm interested in other schools."
Did you attend any football camps last season?
"The Mississippi State/Ole Miss game. I also attended the Ole Miss-Arkansas game and the Ole Miss-Georgia game. I also attended the Ole Miss Homecoming game."
Have you received any phone calls from college coaches during May?
"Yes sir, West Virginia, Ole Miss and Alabama."
What schools have visited your school, so far?
"Alabama, LSU, West Virginia and Mississippi State."
What schools are you most interested in at this time?
"Ole Miss, Florida, LSU, Alabama and Mississippi State."
Why are you interested in those five?
"Ole Miss, because I have grown up a fan of their's all my life. I like Ole Miss a lot. I would like to go there, but I haven't been to the other colleges yet, so I don't really know what I want to do. Florida, I guess because of the winning tradition they have. I like LSU because they are good in football and baseball. Alabama had a good tradition of winning. I know they are on probation but if I redshirt my first year, they would only be on probation for one year after that. I like MSU because I want to be close to my family. It is close to home and I want to be close enough so that my family can come watch me play. I don't want to burden them by making them go out of state to see me. If it comes down to that, I wouldn't mind going to MSU. I liked their facilities when I went up there the other day." [Cliff visited MSU on baseball Junior Day.-Gene]
You are in a unique situation in the fact that you are not only a very good quarterback but you are also a very good pitcher. How important will being able to play baseball in college be in your choice of a college?
"It may be a big factor. It depends on how or even if I get drafted. I'm not going to say that I will get drafted."
Are you going to play baseball this summer?
"Pro (baseball) scouts want me to come to their camps this summer but I have told them I want to concentrate on football. I want to be the best I can be in football next year. I am going to long toss during the summer. I may even go to the State Games (in June at Meridian)."
When we were talking earlier, you said you have thrown in the mid-90's at times. How fast do you consistently throw your fastball?
What is the hardest that you have thrown?
"94. I hit it a few times (my junior year)."
Have you improved your velocity from your sophomore to junior year?
"From my freshman year to my junior year, (my velocity) improved from 86-87. I hit 92 a few times (my freshman season). I raised it my junior year because I lifted (weights) a little more. This year I am going to hit (the weights) hard. I plan on throwing hard next year."
That's about it, Cliff. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Other Cliff Davis info:
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.