Clapp Ready to Contribute

Matt Clapp is ready to get back out on the field and make some things happen. He has been patiently waiting for his time for three seasons, and his opportunity has finally arrived... Sooners Illustrated's Michael Swisher has more on Clapp and what he is looking to contribute this Fall.

It's tough not to notice Matt Clapp when he walks into a room.

He's 6-foot-1, 237 pounds of solid muscle and if that doesn't draw your attention, the long, curly hair certainly will.

It is tough, however, to notice Clapp's highlights on the field as an Oklahoma Sooner. That's because they are few and far between, if they even exist.

Clapp came to Oklahoma in the highly-regarded Class of 2005 that featured the likes of Curtis Lofton, Malcolm Kelly, Reggie Smith and others.

One of the top fullbacks in the nation out of Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Clapp figured to carry on the tradition at the position.

Clapp played in nine games as a true freshman in 2005, but all were on special teams. Injuries limited him to just two games in 2006 and we didn't see him touch the field at all in 2007.

So you had to wonder: Was Matt Clapp a bust?

Turns out, he's far from it.

In fact, Clapp was able to redshirt last fall, giving him a chance to completely heal and better grasp the offense.

"He was our best fullback last year, but we were able to redshirt him and now we've got him for two more years," said Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "Now we've got him and Brody (Eldridge) and that really opens up a lot of possibilities."

Clapp has been waiting for three years for his opportunity. It's finally arrived.

"I'm pretty excited about this coming season," he said. "The main thing about it is to stay healthy and consistent."

Clapp might be Oklahoma's most versatile fullback since J.D. Runnels. He's not only big and strong, but he can make plays with the ball. Oklahoma is almost infamous for not giving its fullback carries, rather a few token passes out of the backfield.

That could change with Clapp, something Wilson has admitted to pondering in the offseason.

"Running the ball is a lot of fun," he said. "I ran it a lot in high school, but that was like four or five years ago. You've just got to act like you've been there before."

Clapp has been garnering a few carries in spring practices with Oklahoma's shortage of running backs. That's where he's raised a few eyebrows with his abilities.

But his primary job will be blocking for the likes of DeMarco Murray, Chris Brown and Mossis Madu and protecting QB Sam Bradford.

It's something he's been working on since he walked on campus.

"I think I've gotten a little bigger, stronger and faster by working out and I think knowing more of the offense really helped me out," Clapp said of his redshirt season. "I really learned a lot from the coaches and all the other guys."

Clapp also knows he'll be sharing some time with Brody Eldridge, a sort of tight end-fullback hybrid who earned All-Big 12 first team honors at fullback in 2007.

"Brody especially surprised me (at fullback)," Clapp said. "He's done a heck of a job the past two years. I'm proud of him, too, but I think I'll be able to contribute at that spot very well."

Contribute is all Clapp wants the opportunity to do. It's an opportunity that he's rarely seen his first three years.

He thinks he's ready for that chance.

"I think I have improved tremendously the past three years," he said. "There's always room for improvement – big time improvement. But I know if I stay consistent and healthy and give 100 percent everyday, I can do some good things for this team."

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