Clifford Discusses Verbal To Ohio State

We have comments from Cincinnati Colerain defensive back Eugene Clifford, who made his verbal commitment to Ohio State on a national broadcast on the ESPNU network Thursday night. Clifford talked about why now was the time to make his commitment to the Buckeyes. Click this free link for more.

Cincinnati Colerain defensive back Eugene Clifford ended the suspense on Thursday when he issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State.

Clifford (6-2, 190, 4.5) picked Ohio State over Michigan, Florida State and a number of others. He announced that choice live Thursday night during a national broadcast on the ESPNU network.

"I felt very lucky to announce my commitment on national television," Clifford said.

Clifford is ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect by Ohio High magazine. He is also rated as the nation's No. 12 safety prospect by Scout.com.

He becomes the ninth verbal commitment in OSU's 2007 recruiting class, a group that figures to number roughly 18 signees by national signing day in February.

"I just grew up a Buckeye fan," Clifford said. "I thought it was time to get it done and Ohio State was the best school for me."

Clifford follows in the footsteps of two of his former Colerain teammates, Tyler Moeller and Connor Smith, who are freshman at OSU this year.

"I called the coaches (Wednesday) night," Clifford said. "I have talked to (defensive backs coach Tim) Beckman and (recruiting coordinator John) Peterson quite a bit. They said they were excited that I made that choice."

As a junior, Clifford racked up an astonishing 147 tackles and six interceptions while on the way to garnering second-team All-Ohio honors. He benches 300 pounds, squats 500 and has a 33-inch vertical jump.

This season, Clifford is working as a wide receiver and a safety as Colerain has jumped out to a 4-0 start. He has two touchdowns on offense and an interception on defense.

"Anything they want me to play, that's where I'll be," Clifford said. "It could be at wide receiver or any kind of DB position. I will play that role.

"I think I get to the ball fast and tackle well. I'm physical and am a ball hog. I just go hard all the time. I want to improve my overall speed and footwork. I'd like to be a step ahead of the man I'm defending all the time."

With his college choice out of the way, Clifford can concentrate on his senior season.

"That feels real good," Clifford said. "I think we can get to the state championship again. With the kind of leadership we have, we're real excited."

Prior to the season, Colerain coach Kerry Coombs talked about what makes Clifford a special player.

"I think the thing that makes Eugene a little bit different is he has tremendous closing speed on the ball and the ball carrier," Coombs said. "He has great innate speed if you timed him in the 40. But watching him close on the ball carrier and the ball is what makes him a little bit more special and different. I think he will be one of the best players in the country. He's got many options, but I imagine he'll stay close to home and his mom and his dad."

Clifford holds a 2.8 GPA and will take college entrance exams in November.

Long's Take

Here is what recruiting editor Duane Long had to say about Clifford in the September edition of Ohio High magazine:

Spring Profile: A couple of years ago I compared Hamilton safety Adam Myers-White to Kenny Easley.

I remember how Kenny Easley came into Ohio Stadium for a game with his UCLA Bruin squad back in the late 70's and served notice that he was on his way to being one of the college games all-time greats.

I wish I had saved that analogy because that is what I see with Clifford.

Easley looked like a linebacker instead of a safety and that is the case with Clifford. He has a long lean build and could fill out into a linebacker if that is where he is needed. Or, he could stay lean and remain at safety, which is what I think will ultimately happen.

Clifford is one of those players that just leap out from the game film. He has a complete game as he is equally at home in coverage or at the line of scrimmage.

Something that is never discussed is Clifford as a receiver since Colerain so rarely throws the ball. If I were asked who the best wide receiver prospect in Ohio this year is, don't be surprised if I say Eugene Clifford. If I were a college coach, I would be salivating at the prospect of getting this special athlete in a position where he can touch the ball regularly.

I would tell any college coach to ask Colerain head coach Kerry Coombs for a tape of the Ft. Thomas (Ky.) Highlands game from last season. A punt return he makes in that game is all the evidence needed to make a case for Clifford at wide receiver.

Michigan and Ohio State were among the colleges to extend Clifford an early offer.

Fall Update: It seems everyone is intent on Eugene Clifford not playing the one position he has spent all of his high school career -- safety.

He could be a great receiver prospect but it seems everyone wants big, athletic corners to line up against the freaks we are seeing at wide receiver these days.

Ohio State and Michigan have both offered Clifford a scholarship as a cornerback but there has been little information coming about Clifford's college plans. He has not said when he will make a decision.

Colerain players tend to make their verbal commitments before the season but Clifford could be the one that goes against that tradition. Then again, Clifford has played it so close to the vest we really don't know. The smart money says Ohio State or Florida, though I have no knowledge of a Florida offer, so if he decides on an early verbal, the odds are in favor of landing one of those must have players.

Last year, Clifford amassed an eye popping 147 tackles. He boasts a 4.45-second 40 and a 33-inch vertical to go along with the 6-2 and 190-pound frame.

Also Notable

Here is a link to Clifford's Scout.com database page, where there are several video links:

Eugene Clifford Database Page

Here is a link to a photo gallery from this past weekend, where Clifford and Colerain played in the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge.

Herbstreit Challenge Photo Gallery




Buckeye Sports Top Stories

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","mobileBody":"Cincinnati Colerain defensive back Eugene Clifford ended the suspense on Thursday when he issued a verbal commitment to Ohio State.

Clifford (6-2, 190, 4.5) picked Ohio State over Michigan, Florida State and a number of others. He announced that choice live Thursday night during a national broadcast on the ESPNU network.

\"I felt very lucky to announce my commitment on national television,\" Clifford said.

Clifford is ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect by Ohio High magazine. He is also rated as the nation's No. 12 safety prospect by Scout.com.

He becomes the ninth verbal commitment in OSU's 2007 recruiting class, a group that figures to number roughly 18 signees by national signing day in February.

\"I just grew up a Buckeye fan,\" Clifford said. \"I thought it was time to get it done and Ohio State was the best school for me.\"

Clifford follows in the footsteps of two of his former Colerain teammates, Tyler Moeller and Connor Smith, who are freshman at OSU this year.

\"I called the coaches (Wednesday) night,\" Clifford said. \"I have talked to (defensive backs coach Tim) Beckman and (recruiting coordinator John) Peterson quite a bit. They said they were excited that I made that choice.\"

As a junior, Clifford racked up an astonishing 147 tackles and six interceptions while on the way to garnering second-team All-Ohio honors. He benches 300 pounds, squats 500 and has a 33-inch vertical jump.

This season, Clifford is working as a wide receiver and a safety as Colerain has jumped out to a 4-0 start. He has two touchdowns on offense and an interception on defense.

\"Anything they want me to play, that's where I'll be,\" Clifford said. \"It could be at wide receiver or any kind of DB position. I will play that role.

\"I think I get to the ball fast and tackle well. I'm physical and am a ball hog. I just go hard all the time. I want to improve my overall speed and footwork. I'd like to be a step ahead of the man I'm defending all the time.\"

With his college choice out of the way, Clifford can concentrate on his senior season.

\"That feels real good,\" Clifford said. \"I think we can get to the state championship again. With the kind of leadership we have, we're real excited.\"

Prior to the season, Colerain coach Kerry Coombs talked about what makes Clifford a special player.

\"I think the thing that makes Eugene a little bit different is he has tremendous closing speed on the ball and the ball carrier,\" Coombs said. \"He has great innate speed if you timed him in the 40. But watching him close on the ball carrier and the ball is what makes him a little bit more special and different. I think he will be one of the best players in the country. He's got many options, but I imagine he'll stay close to home and his mom and his dad.\"

Clifford holds a 2.8 GPA and will take college entrance exams in November.

Long's Take

Here is what recruiting editor Duane Long had to say about Clifford in the September edition of Ohio High magazine:

Spring Profile: A couple of years ago I compared Hamilton safety Adam Myers-White to Kenny Easley.

I remember how Kenny Easley came into Ohio Stadium for a game with his UCLA Bruin squad back in the late 70's and served notice that he was on his way to being one of the college games all-time greats.

I wish I had saved that analogy because that is what I see with Clifford.

Easley looked like a linebacker instead of a safety and that is the case with Clifford. He has a long lean build and could fill out into a linebacker if that is where he is needed. Or, he could stay lean and remain at safety, which is what I think will ultimately happen.

Clifford is one of those players that just leap out from the game film. He has a complete game as he is equally at home in coverage or at the line of scrimmage.

Something that is never discussed is Clifford as a receiver since Colerain so rarely throws the ball. If I were asked who the best wide receiver prospect in Ohio this year is, don't be surprised if I say Eugene Clifford. If I were a college coach, I would be salivating at the prospect of getting this special athlete in a position where he can touch the ball regularly.

I would tell any college coach to ask Colerain head coach Kerry Coombs for a tape of the Ft. Thomas (Ky.) Highlands game from last season. A punt return he makes in that game is all the evidence needed to make a case for Clifford at wide receiver.

Michigan and Ohio State were among the colleges to extend Clifford an early offer.

Fall Update: It seems everyone is intent on Eugene Clifford not playing the one position he has spent all of his high school career -- safety.

He could be a great receiver prospect but it seems everyone wants big, athletic corners to line up against the freaks we are seeing at wide receiver these days.

Ohio State and Michigan have both offered Clifford a scholarship as a cornerback but there has been little information coming about Clifford's college plans. He has not said when he will make a decision.

Colerain players tend to make their verbal commitments before the season but Clifford could be the one that goes against that tradition. Then again, Clifford has played it so close to the vest we really don't know. The smart money says Ohio State or Florida, though I have no knowledge of a Florida offer, so if he decides on an early verbal, the odds are in favor of landing one of those must have players.

Last year, Clifford amassed an eye popping 147 tackles. He boasts a 4.45-second 40 and a 33-inch vertical to go along with the 6-2 and 190-pound frame.

Also Notable

Here is a link to Clifford's Scout.com database page, where there are several video links:

Eugene Clifford Database Page

Here is a link to a photo gallery from this past weekend, where Clifford and Colerain played in the Kirk Herbstreit Challenge.

Herbstreit Challenge Photo Gallery



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