Why Rick Clausen left LSU for UT

If you're wondering why quarterback Rick Clausen decided to transfer from LSU to Tennessee, his mom credits a simple mathematical equation:

''There are seven quarterbacks at LSU and only one football,'' Cathy Clausen said by phone from the family home in Northridge, Calif. ''He got a little taste of playing last year, and he thinks his opportunity to play is greater at UT. He knows he has a long haul ahead of him and he has to work. But he'll be happy at UT.''

Rick, 20, spent two years at LSU -- redshirting in 2001 and seeing action in four games last fall. He had one career start, vs. Ole Miss. He completed 5 of 12 passes for 35 yards during his Death Valley days.

Rick will sit out the 2003 season as a transfer, watching as older brother Casey directs the Vol attack. Cathy Clausen says Rick, who will be eligible in 2004 and 2005, has no reservations about following in Casey's footsteps and the inevitable comparisons.

''No,'' she said. ''Rick's very excited. He just wants to have an opportunity to play. We were going to support him whatever he decided to go to but it (the decision) was all on him.''

Whereas LSU has seven scholarship QBs, there is no such logjam at Tennessee. Casey Clausen will be starting for the fourth year this fall but there is no proven depth behind him.

Sophomore James Banks is an electrifying runner whose passing has been inconsistent. Senior C.J. Leak has a rifle arm but has struggled with the speed of the game. The Vols failed to land a marquee prep QB last February, settling instead for sleeper Bo Hardegree of Jackson. Walk-on Brett Weyman (Fork Union Military Academy) also joins the mix in August.

Although the Clausens are brothers, they are significantly different in some areas. Whereas Casey is 6-4 and 220, Rick is 6-2 and 195. Casey is right-handed, Rick left-handed. Although Casey was a prep All-American, Rick actually posted most impressive stats in high school. Playing for Taft (Calif.) High, he completed 264 of 430 passes for 3,361 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior.

Reportedly, the best of the Clausen brothers is 15-year-old Jimmy Clausen, who will be a freshman at Oaks Christian High School this fall. Already 6-3, he is such a promising young passer that he recently was profiled in ESPN The Magazine. He has attended all of Casey's games and plans to play for Tennessee someday.

 The youngest of the Clausen QBs (Jimmy) says he is the best of the three brothers

''That's what he says,'' Cathy Clausen said with a laugh.


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