Claiborne's under the radar no longer

Jalen Claiborne gets things done. In 2009, the Carthage WR helped his squad to an undefeated season and a state championship. Along the way, he set a school-record for receiving yardage and also caught the winning score in the 3A title game. Last weekend, Claiborne continued to gain recognition after an excellent showing at the FOX Sports Southwest 7-on-7 Texas State Championship.

Jalen Claiborne doesn't have any scholarship offers yet, but it's only a matter of time. Last weekend, Claiborne made a strong impression on the analysts that were watching the action at the FOX Sports Southwest Texas State 7-on-7 Championship.

The Carthage WR was named as the No. 2 most impressive prospect, behind only Texas commit Jaxon Shipley, following Day One of the festivities in College Station.

Several months ago, Claiborne was the offensive catalyst in Carthage's state championsip win over Graham. That game, held at SMU's Ford Stadium, saw Claiborne surpass the 1,000-yard receiving mark, a first in Carthage history. Most importantly that day, however, Claiborne took a short pass and trucked 31 yards to paydirt to give the Bulldogs a lead they wouldn't relinquish -- and thus preserving an unblemished 16-0 season.

Carthage continued that undefeated streak in 7-on-7 competition this summer, although the Bulldogs came up just short in the state tourney.

"The tournament went well," said Claiborne, "and it gave us an idea of how good we'll really be. I did well, but I can improve. There's a lot of technique that you can't use in 7-on-7 though. You need pads for that.

"We did good. For the (7-on-7) season, we went 18-1. At the tournament, we went 4-1 and lost in the second round on the second day. We were up against Lucas Lovejoy in that game, but I had some cramps and had to come out of the game. After that, we weren't able to move the ball and they came back to win."

Lucas Lovejoy, with eight starters returning on each side of the football (including QB Michael Means), is considered to be one of the favorites in the 3A ranks this year. At the same time, Carthage is expected to vigorously defend its title. The Bulldogs only have four starters back on each side of the ball, but there's some big names returning: LB Kendall Thompson (Texas commit), QB Anthony Morgan, WR/DB Edward Pope, and Claiborne.

"I'm cool with all those guys," said Claiborne. "We all hang out together and have played together since we were little."

That bond among teammates has been instrumental in Carthage's success, as the Bulldogs have reeled off 29 consecutive wins to date.

On the recruiting front, Claiborne is camping at Tulsa this weekend and Houston on July 24th. He was one of the most impressive wide receivers at SMU camp last month and has mentioned that he likes the campus and coaches -- not to mention the chance to continue having 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the Mustangs' wide-open offense.

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