The recruiting process for Jimmy Clausen (6-3, 195-pounds) started some time ago. He's been followed and questioned by the likes of me. The diehard recruiting fans have analyzed and dissected his recruitment (and his world). Meanwhile back at the ranch, things haven't changed all that much.
"I think he's down to three schools," Jim Clausen said of the schools his son was still considering; Southern Cal, Notre Dame and South Carolina. "Nothing is really going on right now, except Jimmy's body type is changing drastically. He's been working very hard four days a week to get ready for next season and even beyond that. I think he knows where he wants to be and where he needs to be wherever he goes to school.
"I think his whole approach is gearing up for the competition. He has to hit the ground running. At the end of the day I don't think Wolke, Sharpley, Jones or Frazer or any of these guys are going to step aside. These guys are good athletes and good players. They're going to have a foot up on Jimmy in the understanding of the offense and that will be a challenge.
"We were at USC on Sunday," Mr. Clausen continued. "Mark Sanchez looked really good. Mark has made the transition and that is no different than what we thought. He's been there a year. He was proactive. He's a bright kid and he's a good athlete. That's Jimmy's competition at USC along with John David Booty.
"We've known John David since he was back in high school, when Ricky was at LSU. He's going to be fine, he just needs to take care of his problem. It's left the door wide open for Mark Sanchez and he's doing everything he needs to do to make the most of that opportunity."
South Carolina offers it's own opportunities and challenges, but in the end Jimmy Clausen will base his decision on where he can be most successful on the field, in the classroom and socially.
"We're just trying to figure this out," Jim said of his son's pending decision. "We're just trying to help him make the best decision he can make. Jimmy is going to handle his thing. I think whatever decision he makes he has three great opportunities and he'll make the best decision. I think in my own mind, I know what he's going to do, I think it's just a matter Jimmy saying, ‘I'm ready to go forward with this and make a decision and move on.' He talked to his brothers at length and he's looked at this from a number of different ways. Ultimately he's got to make the decision. Jimmy is a bright and observant kid. He's going to make the best decision for him. He's going to take an awful lot of things into account.
"A huge determining factor is that he wants to go someplace where he's going to develop. He wants to go someplace where he's going to constantly improve. The people he's going to be around are going to be able to develop him to the best that he can be. I think that is what it will come down to.
"We want young men to make great decision for themselves," Mr. Clausen continued. "We don't want them to make them for other reasons. We're going to take our time. We're going to look at this from all the different angles. We're going to try and give him all the information he needs and he wants. But he needs to make the decision. He's going to be the guy who goes to class... and he's going to go to class. Whether he's the starting quarterback or never gets off the bench he's still going to get his degree and he's going to do it the right way. He's going to intermingle and enjoy the college experience.
"Right now he's just trying to learn as much as he can. That is part of what this thing is all about. He's been throwing with Matt Leinart. Matt has the same quarterback coach as Jimmy and Jimmy has known Matt since he was 10 years old. He was always getting in the way. Matt is a very good friend of my son Rick."
Marc Tyler also has a college decision to make and he's following a similar formula to his friend and teammate.
"Marc is going to make the best decision for Marc Tyler," Jim said. "We've all tried to expose Mark to as much as possible. Mark is going to be tremendously successful no matter what he does. Pete Carroll told me that these guys are inseparable. I told him that they're brothers, they love each other, they look out for each other, they challenge each other. If our society worked as well as those two kids, this would be a great world.
"They're taking the ACT with 10 of their teammates on April 8. Once we get that set aside then I think these guys can relax, Jimmy can turn his attention to making a decision and move forward with what he needs to do. I think Marc has quite a bit more time. We're looking forward to going back and taking in the spring game at Notre Dame on April 22. USC, we're going to their junior day, it's also pro timing day."