EDITOR'S NOTE – Today we continue our 14-part series where we unveil
the top 101 football prospects in Ohio's Class of 2007. These rankings were
assembled by Bucknuts and Ohio High recruiting editor Duane Long. They were
originally published in the May 2006 edition of Ohio High magazine. Here is the
12th installment with a look at the player ranked third.
3. ***** Clay Belton
6-6 215 QB Clayton Northmont
Clayton Northmont southpaw Clay Belton has really come out of nowhere. Northmont had an outstanding senior quarterback in 2004 (Tyler Horner, Southwest Missouri State), so Belton flew under the radar.
It didn't take him long to change that. As a junior, he threw for over 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Belton has size, standing in at 6-6, and has a big arm to go with pretty good athleticism. He is a pocket passer but he does run the quarterback draw. He handles himself pretty well when he needs to break the pocket.
I usually see most left-handed quarterbacks as a bit awkward in their throwing motion but I don't see that with Belton. He is smooth and over the top with his delivery and gets rid of the ball pretty quickly for a long-armed kid. Belton has all the throws in his repertoire as he can throw 25-30 yard ropes with velocity and accuracy but can show a deft touch when he needs to.
Despite his impressive physical tools, I was most impressed with Belton's reading and making good decisions, especially since last year was his first as a starter. For Belton to come along this quickly tells me two things: he is well-schooled in Lance Schneider's Northmont program and the sky is the limit on his upside.
The comparison that comes to mind is current Jacksonville Jaguar quarterback Byron Leftwich; however Belton is more mobile. He ran the third fastest shuttle at Northmont in their most recent testing and that is impressive considering the caliber of athletes coming out of that program right now.
Belton will have played against a higher level of competition in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, which is something he has over the other top quarterbacks in the state this year.
Belton received early offers from Bowling Green, Duke and Cincinnati.
Update: Belton reportedly has offers from Duke, Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Kansas State. He is also interested in Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue.
Bucknuts subscribers can access video clips of Belton by clicking the link below to go to Belton's Scout.com bio page in the database:
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