Clemons finds a home

The Washington Huskies were waiting for some good news to come. Sure, they were excited at the prospects of seeing their redshirt freshman quarterback - Jake Locker - get plenty of snaps. And true frosh Ronnie Fouch coming in would only help in his development, but Fouch was supposed to occupy a minor role in April. That's when things took a turn for the worse.

Senior-to-be Johnny DuRocher was diagnosed with a brain tumor after suffering a concussion and senior-to-be Carl Bonnell's rehabilitation on a surgically-repaired shoulder was extended through spring football when more damage was found than was initially thought.

So that seemingly left the Huskies with two quarterbacks - and no walk-ons - to take all the spring football snaps. Well, just when things look to be heading south, fate sometimes has a way of lending a helping hand.

Enter Chandler Clemons.

A 6-foot-1, 195-pound quarterback from Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif. - a suburb of Sacramento - Clemons was a highly thought-of junior prospect coming into his senior season in the fall of 2005. He had been offered by BYU early on, and part of that was due to being named the Sacramento Bee's area Offensive MVP, as well as their first-team quarterback as a junior. Overall in his career, he threw for 95 touchdowns, and ranked him as the 47th QB in the country - a three-star recruit - for the class of 2006.

But that BYU offer wasn't enough for Clemons. Signing Day came and went, and he passed on the offer, ultimately deciding to play baseball at Cuesta College, a junior college in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

But football was always on the back on Clemons' mind.

"I had to get back into football," Clemons told Sunday afternoon, shortly after announcing his intent to enroll, with the chance to walk on for spring football at the University of Washington. "I was missing it."

Now go back a year and a half to Eugene, Ore. - site of the 2005 Oregon Nike camp. Clemons was one of a few hundred juniors trying to make a name for himself. The quarterback coaches at the camp included Greg and Taylor Barton. When Clemons left Cuesta College, he remembered how much he enjoyed working that day in Eugene with the Bartons, and enlisted their help through their recruiting placement service - Next Step College Sports - to try and find a school that could use his help.

That was in the middle of December, 2006. Within four to five days of Clemons travelling to the Portland, Ore. area to produce a recruiting tape for Next Step, Clemons was talking to Washington about enrolling in school. And this past weekend he travelled to Seattle for the first time with his family, and a match was made.

"It's just such a great fit, I couldn't have asked for anything else," Clemons said of his decision to walk on. Because of playing baseball at Cuesta, Clemons will have four years to play four, starting in the fall of 2007. "I was going to walk on at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) because I was already down there, but after looking at the situation at Washington - just the amount of reps I could get is huge. I don't think I could have found a potentially better situation anywhere else in the country. And this is my first time to Seattle, and it's a great place."

Clemons is already searching for an apartment, and with a 3.4 GPA coming out of high school and a 3.4 GPA at Cuesta, he's hoping his acceptance into Washington is nothing more than filling out paperwork. After that, Clemons plans to enroll in time to make sure he can play in the spring.

"Washington is getting a very good quarterback," Greg Barton - head of Next Step College Sports - told on Sunday when asked for his opinion on Clemons. "Considering they moved in on him right before Christmas...within a few days they had him. I saw film of him in high school, and he throws the ball very well, and with touch. He can make things happen if he stays in the pocket, and has enough discipline to hurt you. He has a good understanding of the fundamentals, good feet and is accurate."

"I'm mobile," Clemons added. "I think I have more mobility than maybe anything else."

Click on the link to see Clemons' 4-minute Next Step recruiting film (courtesy: Next Step College Sports):

For more information on Next Step, here is their address: Top Stories