Once Walt Harris made the decision this past year to take just one quarterback in Stanford's 2006 recruiting class, we knew that an important part of '07 Cardinal recruiting would come again at the signal caller position. Just as Harris dipped into the Midwest last year, he looks to have some strong options in Big 10 country again this year. One of the first on our radar is Clayton (Ohio) Northmont High School junior Clay Belton.
In his first year as a starter, the 6'6" 220-pound Ohio southpaw slinger threw for 2,700 yards on 191-of-330 passing (57.9%) with 30 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. In his varsity starting debut, all he did was throw for 372 yards and four touchdowns. The next week, he went for 350 yards and six more scores.
The Touchdown Club of Columbus named Belton one of their prestigious Buckeye Bluechips, honoring the top 18 senior football players and nine most outstanding underclass performers. Considering the depth of talent in the state this year, that is a heady honor
Belton's recruitment is already reflecting his junior year production. He is being recruited throughout the Big 10, and this month has added a few early offers. His father, Craig, contacted us yesterday with an update.
The younger Belton has tremendous size at 6'6" and can easily survey the field. A lifelong basketball athlete and standout, he also possesses good mobility both in the pocket and scrambling up the field - particularly at his size. He throws a big ball and has blossomed in the pass-oriented Thunderbolts' offense. Both of his parents are Ohio State alums, and he attended a wealth of games in Columbus this past fall. He could be the Buckeyes' to lose, but Belton is still in the early stages of his recruitment. A busy basketball season has kept him from making the traditional round of Junior Days this winter, but he is in contact with a number of schools. According to Craig Belton, the Northmont junior has favorites from both near home and afar.
The Cardinal look a little different from some of the other schools on that list, but Belton is a strong student-athlete with a reported 3.75 GPA. Though Stanford hauled in just one signee from the Midwest in the 2006 class, that area of the country looks as bountiful as any for Cardinal prospects in 2007. Ohio in particular holds several enticing juniors with football ability and promising academic profiles. For the first time in three years, Stanford has the same assistant coach recruiting Big 10 country, and that allowed for a strong fall and winter of junior prospect hunting.
"Back during the 2005 Thunderbolt season, a Stanford recruiting coach came and looked at Clay," Craig Belton reports.
Clay Belton will next weekend attend the first Scout.com All-American Combine of the year, held March 4 in Pittsburgh (Pa.). Look for more on this 6'6" lefty slinger at that time, as we get a better look at his tools and start to learn more about his evolving recruiting story. In the meantime, you can catch a brief glimpse of Belton's abilities in this highlight film taken from an October 7, 2005 game he played against Miamisburg High School.
Clay Belton Scout Profile
Clay Belton 10/7 highlights vs. Miamisburg -
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