2011 Intro: Anthony Clanton

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --- In addition to rushing for nearly 2,500 yards, Anthony "A.J." Clanton accumulated almost 300 yards in receptions and over 300 yards in returns for Terry Sanford High School, last season.

"You add all those [yards] together, he covered quite a bit of ground with the football," Sanford head football coach Wayne Inman said.

Clanton's exact season stat line was: 297 carries for 2,374 yards and 26 touchdowns, 13 receptions for 234 yards and a touchdown, and 11 kick returns for 326 yards.

"The kind of offense we run, we run the ball to a side but you have to look at how the O-line is blocking and that's where all the cut backs come out," Clanton said. "And that's where most of my yards came from – cutting back."

"What makes A.J. so good is he's learned to read [the play]," Inman said. "He trusts his offensive line and he knows the keys to look for and when he sees it he cuts it back up inside.

"Another thing that makes A.J. good is he keeps his feet moving. He gets so many yards after contact and if you don't wrap him up, you're not going to bring him down."

Inman had hoped Clanton would emerge as Sanford's starting tailback and an offensive weapon during his sophomore season. However, injuries prevented that from occurring and limited Clanton to 342 yards and three touchdowns on 64 rushes that season.

Clanton was able to dodge the injury bug last season. Seven games in, he eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

"I was happy when I had 1,000 yards," Clanton said with a laugh.

Sanford's base offense is the pro-I. But Sanford will often "break up" the I to provide different looks and even use a one-back set.

"He's going to take the hand off, but we'll have him block and as a check down [receiving option]," Inman said. "The thing about A.J. is he's so good at catching the football even when you flare him out, they've got to have someone on him."

Clanton's junior season has attracted college interest from East Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, and South Carolina.

"A.J. not only has great speed, but he has great power," Inman said. "One man is not going to bring him down. And he's got great balance. Speed, power, balance – that's the package that these colleges look for."

Clanton plans to attend several camps over the summer to help boost his recruiting stock. The most likely destinations include Clemson and South Carolina.

Heading into the process, Clanton said he sees a lot of benefits of playing at East Carolina.

"I'm trying to make my coach proud, he'd like me to go to there," Clanton said with a laugh. "But the kind offense they run would be ideal for me. They would give me the chance to carry the ball and catch it."

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