Jefferson High School (Festus, Mo.) junior offensive lineman Shane Clenin may have been one of the top sleeper prospects in the Midwest until recently.
But with the way his recruitment is going lately, the sleeper label may no longer fit the 6-foot-6, 287-pounder from Missouri.
“It’s been getting pretty intense these last three weeks or so probably,” Clenin said.
The 17-year-old has accumulated scholarship offers from Arkansas, Iowa State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri State, where his father played college football.
Arkansas and Iowa State offered late last week.
The offer from the Razorbacks caught the talented lineman off-guard a bit, he said.
“They sent some mail to the school and stuff a couple times and they asked for my transcripts, did all that, invited me to their spring game through the mail,” Clenin told BlackandGoldIllustrated.com. “So it was kind of picking up a little bit, but nothing too serious. I was actually at Northwestern and the (Arkansas) O-line coach, Kurt Anderson, sent me a DM on Twitter. I was too busy so I didn’t answer it, but I saw he did it. Then Coach (Bret) Bielema started following me, so I was like, OK, this is probably getting pretty real.”
Soon after, the small-school offensive lineman had a scholarship offer from the Southeastern Conference.
A few hours later, Iowa State followed with an offer.
“I’ve already been to Iowa State twice and every time they give me more love,” Clenin said. “They said they were really interested in me. I think I was a little different on their board and they kind of wanted to watch me do some stuff.”
Clenin did not receive an offer from Northwestern on his visit over the weekend, but he was expecting to talk to the Wildcats’ offensive line coach on the phone early this week.
“They are kind of having a situation with the amount of linemen they are taking and the amount of linemen that have already committed,” he said. “So it’s kind of one of those deals. They don’t want to over-extend their offers.”
Clenin, who plays left tackle for the Blue Jays, comes from an area outside of St. Louis that is known to produce some college football players. But his high school is only seven years old, he said, and has yet to graduate a Division I prospect.
“We’ve actually had no kid play (college) football at all until this year,” Clenin said. “We have a senior, his name is Jordan Shockley, and he’s going to play at Westminster. … He’s going to be the first one in our football program to ever play college football.”
Clenin has done his part to get noticed.
He’s gone to camps and visited as many schools as he’s able to. He’s planning to attend the Nike Opening camp in New Orleans this coming weekend, which should help him gain even more attention.
“My highlight tape’s out there and stuff and I was fortunate to have a pretty decent year this year,” he said. “I think trying to really put my name out there and my head coach, Alex Rouggly, has done a great job trying to promote me as well. I think that’s kind of what has helped me.”
Asked to describe the strengths of his game, Clenin pointed to his footwork.
“I’ve always had really good feet, which I think helps me,” he said. “Especially if I get in a jam, hand placement-wise, I can kind of make up for it with my feet.”
But he’s also aware he has plenty of work to do to get better.
“I think the part of my game I can definitely work on is consistency, as I think a lot of high school football players could,” Clenin said. “I’m not horribly inconsistent, but there might be five plays I get after it and then there may be a couple plays that I don’t take off but I’m just not myself. So I think I need to work on consistency and maybe keeping the intensity up and I think that could bring my game to another level.”