Clemons is a Playmaker

If Notre Dame wants to continue to compete with the elite programs in college football they will need to bring in the nations top playmakers. One of the nation's top junior wide receivers is Toney Clemons of Valley High School (New Kensington, Pa.) and the Irish are already high on his list of schools he'd like to attend.

Although it hasn't been long, it seems likes ages since Notre Dame struggled to get the attention of the top wide receivers in the country. A player the Notre Dame staff appears to be targeting is Pennsylvania standout Toney Clemons (6-3 190-pounds).

"Coach Latina visited my school a couple weeks ago," Clemons replied when asked if Notre Dame was recruiting him. "He couldn't talk to me but he sat down with my coach.

"They said they're really interested. They've been watching me. They're excited. They're excited about my talents. He said he's going to come back in the spring with his boss."

"Yeah, I'm real interested in Notre Dame," he responded when asked about his interest in Notre Dame. "To tell you the truth, it's overwhelming because it's Notre Dame and you're used to seeing them on TV. I'm excited about it (being recruited by Notre Dame) to tell you the truth.

"It's wild because my freshman year, I was just playing to play. I was so young and you don't think you're going to get looked at. Now that's it's here, you realize that it was for something and you've accomplished something. Everything you did and everything you worked for starts to pay off."

Although it is early in the recruiting process, Clemons appears to have a grasp on what a scholarship from Notre Dame offers.

"I know they're a great school academically, and if you get in, you'll get out. Meaning if you get to Notre Dame you're going to graduate," Clemons said. "I know it's one of the best schools in the country. Their athletics are superb. It's a good environment. It's a great place to be. You don't hear about Notre Dame athletes doing anything wrong. You hear that about other schools, so you know it's a safe environment. That appeals to me because you're there to get your work done. It's seems like there are less distractions so you are more focused. That's a major thing for me; you want to be around a less harsh environment. You go to a place like Notre Dame and you don't worry about those things and that's a weight off your shoulders.

"I have a friend, Darrin Walls, I'll probably go up there (Notre Dame) with him to watch the spring game. He's just giving me the scoop about Notre Dame. I'm excited for him."

The Notre Dame staff appears to have done a good job of communicating Notre Dame's message early, and the Notre Dame's head coach has made an impression on Clemons as well.

"I know he worked with Bill Belichick when he was with the Patriots and they have all those Super Bowl rings. What else do you need to know?" Clemons said about Charlie Weis. "I know he's a great guy and that his offensive schemes are brilliant. I know I'd fit his scheme."

While Notre Dame has identified Clemons as a recruiting priority, they aren't the only school to have taken interest in him.

"I'm getting letters from a lot of schools like Texas, Florida State and Florida," Clemons responded when asked to list the schools besides Notre Dame that were recruiting him. "The schools showing the most interest are Iowa, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Pitt. My coach said Michigan has started to call.

"I don't have any favorites really, but if I had to give my top five by interest, it would be Notre Dame Ohio Sate and Pitt would be the top three, then Penn State and West Virginia. There are other schools I'm interested though."

With all the recruiting attention that Clemons is receiving you have to believe he is a has the ability to make plays once he gets the ball in his hands.

"At any point in the game, I can change it," Clemons said when asked what skills he brings to the football field. "I like to make big plays. When I get the football I can take it the distance every time. That was the mentality that I was raised with. My mom and dad always said, ‘When you get the ball you always want to look to score. You don't want to look for the first down, you don't want to look for yardage, you want to score.'

"I like getting the ball and seeing the crowd stand up because you never know what I can do with it. I'm a team player and I like to be called on when it's time to go. If we're down and we need a score I like my coach to know that he can lean on me, that I'm a resource and he can try to get me the ball." Top Stories