But it was at the Scout.com combine that really got his recruiting rolling.
Here is what was said about Clemsons by GoBlueWolverwine,
"If there was one guy in the whole combine who had "The Wow Factor" it was Toney. Virtually every pass he went out for was caught by him a touchdown -- such was the separation he got from the defensive backs, due to a combination of the respect the DB's gave him, his speed, acrobatic moves, his physicality, and the easy, assured confidence that exuded from him.
Something that Gene Hankerson (aka 23Gene) said about him on the GBW Premium Message Board, The Victor's Club, the other day came back to us as we were watching him:
"Clemons is a breathtaking talent."
His combine performance reminded us of that of Cameron Colvin a couple years back at the Stanford Nike Camp as far as the every-pass-a TD aspect.
He is 6-3+, 200 pounds, he is physical (not really 'big' yet, although he will be once he hits the weights, etc. ... it is all natural ability right now), he has excellent speed (his 4.53 second 40 was one of the day's fastest on the Oosterbaan-Fieldhouse-like slow field turf track) and he is acrobatic (his 4.4 sec. shuttle belied his agility ... we didn't watch him run the shuttle but there is an art to running it on field turf ... kids often have a little trouble slipping).
In the QB-WR-DB drills, defensive backs all gave him a 5-yard cushion, the most of any wideout there, which proved 'pick-your-poison' deadly. With his speed and moves, sometimes dazzling multiple-moves, by the time the ball got to him, whether on a deep route or a short one, whether on an out route or a slant over the middle, he was wide open and turning full-speed upfield ... and he caught the ball softly as if it were a smurf ball. If the pass was off target, it didn't matter ... he adjusted easily to the ball wherever it was thrown to make an effortless catch -- and then after the catch he just turned on the afterburners and jetted for the touchdown.
Simply put, he made the game of pass-catching look too easy.
As far as who he reminds us of. With his size and speed ... and the respect the dB's gave him by playing far off him -- every Michigan fan should have a name come to mind -- Braylon Edwards. It's a fairly good comparison, although at the same age Braylon was a little bigger/stronger, whereas Clemons has a little more acrobatic agility. Another comparison would be Vidol Hazleton who starred in last year's PSU Combine and in the Army All Star week ... however, Hazleton is more a 'poor man's Braylon' in that he is a little stiffer even than Braylon (again, at the same age, 17-18 years old).
When we speak of his 'aura' of easy, assured confidence, we don't mean to say that he was arrogant or a jerk. On the contrary, he seemed more the quiet 'good teammate' type whose behavior was unique in that he was always standing around the upcoming-play, even when it wasn't his turn, always 'into it' -- a guy who seemed to be immensely enjoying himself as his perpetual mini-smile evidenced.
So, the guy just had that "it factor" -- extreme athleticism, plus a star-quality. And it looked to be all natural ability because, as we said, it doesn't appear that he's hit the weight room much, if at all, at this point. As our 23Gene also said, he "... has athletic talent running all through his family. His mother was a track star in her day, and he has two sisters on track scholarships at a pair of BCS schools."
Not surprisingly, Michigan and Michigan State pulled
the trigger shortly after the scout combine and offered the All-Conference performer
out of Valley High.
Who is the latest school to offer Mr. Clemons?
"Purdue offered me last week," added the very humble Toney Clemons. "Some other schools like Colorado, Temple, and West Virginia are real close to offering, so that list will grow pretty soon."
What makes this young man so good on the football field?
"I think my eagerness to win. My mindset is getting open and being patient. I let the game come to me. I think that is my strongest point."
What will Toney need to work on for the next level?
"For the most part, my strength and conditioning. I need to work on my routes and looking the ball in more. Those are the main things I want to work on."
How did Spring training go for Toney?
"I finished track season last week, so I have not really been to too many practices. I won the Gold medals (in State 2A) in the long jump (23 feet 2 inches) and 110 hurdles (14.55 seconds). It was just an honor to help my team out. It was a lot of fun, a lot of great memories will be taken away from these events."
When one gets to talk to this multidimensional athlete, you know right away that you are dealing with a class individual. He is down to earth, polite, intelligent, and is a team player.
What else could you ask for?
So just who are the main schools that Toney is interested in?
"I really do not have any favorites. I am wide open. I have not been anywhere this Spring. These are the schools that I like the most out of each conference. In the Big East, I like Pittsburgh. In the SEC, I like Ole Miss. In the Big 10, I like Michigan. In the ACC, I like Miami. In the PAC 10, I like UCLA. In the MAC, I like Akron."
What about the Big 12?
"The Big 12, I would have to say Texas A&M."
Which coaches has Toney developed a tight bond with?
"To tell you the truth, Ole Miss because they keep in touch with me so much. UConn, Michigan, and Pittsburgh too. That is basically about it. West Virginia a little and Virginia. Virginia is coming on strong and Purdue is too."
How did Toney become interested in the University of Mississippi?
"It has started since Eli was there. I watched how successful he made them. They were also my first scholarship offer. That is a big factor. You always remember who believed in you first. They made it known to me from day one that I was their guy. I have been watching them on TV and seen what they can do. That added to my interest. I also have a good relationship with Coaches Rippon and Orgeron. Coach Rippon is from this area, so he knows a lot of people from around here. And Coach "O", he is just so hyped all of the time. Every time I talk to him, he just gets me all fired up. Who would not want to play for a coach like him?"
Where will Clemons at this summer?
"Probably the schools from around here like Michigan, Purdue, Notre Dame, and maybe Pittsburgh. I might go to Temple and UConn. I really want to go down South to Ole Miss and Miami. I am not sure it will all work out to get to all of these schools, but I am going to try."