Jimmy Clausen Excited About Next Step

Rarely does one live up to the hype of a player like Jimmy Clausen. Known as the "LeBron James of Football," Clausen has had expectations cast upon him that not even Pro Bowl quarterbacks can sometimes live up to. Somehow Clausen continues to win. In fact, he's never lost a game as a starting quarterback in his high school career—something he'd like to continue at the next level.

And now it is the next level for Jimmy Clausen. The Oaks Christian quarterback finished his senior season 15-0 with a victory and closed out his high school career while never losing a game as a starter.

"I just wanted to win another championship," said Jimmy Clausen about his goals for his senior season. "I want to win a championship and get to the State game and win that. I think our season was a real big success, but it just wasn't me. We all came together and finished our season like we wanted to. Everyone contributed to our success."

Clausen led his high school team to another undefeated season while facing an extreme amount of pressure and expectations, but the soon to be Irish quarterback said he never let outside forces get in the way of his team goals.

"It was kind of tough with what everyone was saying….saying I was the No. 1 player in the country," Clausen admitted. "I knew everyone would be watching me and watching all of us. We have some great players here, and people were coming to watch all of us play. We knew people would be watching, but I think we all responded well and our season went really well for us.

"I never really felt a lot of pressure because we played the game as a team, and our team effort was excellent. I felt we all responded well to it."

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback finished his regular season 194-of-281 (69 percent) for 3,428 yards, 49 touchdowns and six interceptions.

"It feels great that I never lost a game as a starter," Clausen admitted when asked about his undefeated high school career. "It was fun to see how this team developed over the years. We always played hard and that's a credit to everyone on the team. We won all those game, not me."

Clausen capped off his senior season with a 27-20 win over Cardinal Newman in the State game. After falling behind early, Clausen said his Oaks Christian team never let up.

"I didn't play well in the first half," Clausen said. "We came together as a team in the second half and were able to pull it out. I played better in the second half, but we really came together and put it all out there. It was a great win for all of us."

Next up for the future Irish quarterback is the Army All-American game.

"I'm really looking forward to that," he said. "I'm excited about getting to see some of my future teammates and getting to hang out with them. I'll get to play against some future teammates as well. It will be kind of fun knowing that I'll be playing with all of these guys next year."

After the Army All-American Bowl Clausen will then be heading to South Bend to enroll into Notre Dame for the spring semester.

"I don't think that's really hit me yet," the soon to be Irish freshman said. "I really haven't thought a lot about it yet because I've been so busy with everything else. I'm sure it will hit me next week.

"I know it's going to be a big change going from Southern California to South Bend. I'm just excited to play under coach Weis and learn a new system. I'm really excited to get started."

Clausen knows he'll immediately jump into battle for the starting quarterback slot left by the graduation of Brady Quinn.

"All I can ask for is the opportunity to compete for the spot," Clausen said. "I know Evan, Demetrius and Zach will be competing for it as well. I just want the chance to earn the spot, and I know after spring ball coach Weis will pick the best player for the job. I just want the chance to compete for it."

"He set the bar real high," Clausen said of the departing Quinn. "I don't care if you're a freshman, sophomore, junior or even senior, that's going to be very hard to duplicate. All we can try to do is live up to that standard, but he set the bar really high."

Clausen is also excited about getting a chance to work with Irish head coach Charlie Weis.

"He's just a great guy," he said of Weis. "He's a real family guy and I like that about him. He's a very smart football coach, not just about offense, but about defense as well. He's had a lot of success and he's someone I want to work with and be associated with. I know he can make me a better player."

But will we see the familiar No. 7 when Clausen walks onto the practice field for the first time wearing a Notre Dame jersey this fall?

"I don't know," he said. "I really have no idea. I've never really asked about it. I sure hope I can wear No. 7."

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